Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bennett brings home the Bremner!

Once again, this year's winner of the American Academy of the History of Dentistry's Bremner Award for best article on the history of dentistry is an OHSU School of Dentistry student! Gregory Bennett, third year dental student, has won for his paper, "The Root of Dental Anatomy: a case for naming Eustachius the 'Father of Dental Anatomy'".

Greg's paper briefly traces Eustachi's life and medical career before turning to a consideration of his Libellus de dentibus (or, "Little treatise on the teeth"), an "exhaustive compendium of dental anatomy." In the first of thirty chapters, Eustachi characterizes the material composition of the tooth, providing the first recorded description of the layers of dentin and enamel. Eustachi also gives the "first clear description of the periodontal membrane" and challenges the wisdom of Galen by proposing the existence of the dental pulp. For this groundbreaking work, Eustachi does seem a very good candidate for the title of "father of dental anatomy."

As a bonus (for us!), Greg was able to use the 1761 edition of Albinus' commentary on Eustachi's Tabulae anatomicae in the History of Medicine Collection in his research (title page shown here).

Greg will receive $500 plus travel money to the annual meeting of the Academy to receive his award. According to resident dental historian and emeritus professor Dr. J. Henry Clarke, DMD, students from OHSU SOD have won the award more often than students from any other school. The contest is open to all dental and pre-dental students in the U.S. and Canada.


Ian T. said...

Congratulations to Greg Bennett. Did he use resources in the OHSU History of Dentistry Collection as well? Dan Kneisner once told me it was unique in the Western half of the country. Does the AAHD know about it?

Sara Piasecki said...

No, since Eustachius has been deemed a "father of medicine" already, his works have been cataloged into the History of Medicine Collection; but this project is a great example of the interdisciplinary nature of so much of both history and the health sciences!

It's true that our History of Dentistry Collection is quite good, and contains many unique, scarce, and/or valuable items. We did fill out an AAHD survey on our collection for a national registry of history of dentistry collections, so they do indeed know about us!