Celebrating Augusta Dejerine Klumpke


Today we are here at the ICM, an important institute of neuroscience in Paris and we have come to celebrate 160 years since the birth of Augusta Dejerine Klumpke. We have been organizing this day for a year and it was composed of a conference that we held this morning with the major French historians and neuroanatomists, who recounted the work of Augusta and the history of Augusta and also the relevance of her work for neurology and neuroanatomy. In the afternoon there was an exhibition with original materials, medical records, histological preparations, which are kept closed in the Collection Dejerine, located in another university [Sorbonne]. It is not open to the public and contains many original materials from that era. They were used by clinicians but also by the students of these great neuroscientists, Augusta Dejerine Klumpke, Jules Dejerine and other leading neurologists from the French school, who later went to school to world neurology. And so in this exposition that was held this afternoon there were some selected cases from the Collection, so we could see just the handwritten descriptions from these great clinicians and some photographs of the time and some of the neuroanatomy manuals that remained reference manuals for neurologists and neuroscientistsfor many years. This event was born from a collaboration between us and the French professors of the Institute and the historians, who were impressed by the project and decided to organize in December a whole day dedicated to several women pioneers of neuroscience neuroscience to be held again at the ICM, in Paris. For this event we had the support of a European neuroscience society [FENS], which awarded the project in 2016 and continues to support us. Two words, perhaps about Augusta Dejerine Klumpke whose 160th anniversary we are celebrating, to put them into perspective with what the ICM represents to me. Two elements, the first is her career that you know and the fact that she came from abroad, she studied in several countries, that built her international dimension which seems to me quite illustrative of what science is, of what science was in the nineteenth century, the actractiveness of La Salpetriere at that time. Augusta Dejerine Klumpke prefigures what the Institute is. In the following, we sum up that her career is quite extraordinary and in terms of her will to move forward, to find her place in a very masculine landscape and that, to be the first ‘externe’ woman of the Paris hospitals, then ‘interne’ of the Paris hospitals illustrates the change that has taken place since that time. But I still want to point out that today, a century later, we have not yet achieved the goal at the end of this decade. In this sense, the ICM has also taken initiatives to promote women’s positions in science and technology. paying homage to Augusta Dejerine Klumpke today is a way to recognize her pioneering role in this regard. Who was Augusta? Augusta was a woman doctor, a scientist and above all she was a great woman who broke the walls of a closed male-dominated society, we are talking about the medical society. She managed to be the first female neurologist, the first female president of a neurology society, she received several awards for her career: the best doctoral thesis, two legions of honor and also the prize for the best scientific article. Augusta was very precise and above all had a farsighted look: every explanation of it was aimed at future generations. If we go and consult the medical records and even her writings, they are also written in a legible handwriting, because her aim was to pass on her knowledge to future students and allow the advancement of knowledge in neuroanatomy. Augusta, thinking of the future, after the death of her husband, collected all the documents, slides, and her husband’s collection, and also her writings, creating the Dejerine Foundation, precisely to allow future generations to be able to study through their works. The story of Augusta Dejerine Klumpke is written and you can read it together with the stories of other women pioneers of neuroscience on our website www. wineurope.eu A special thanks to Jean Todt Vice-President of the ICM

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