CLAUDE BERNARD (1813-1878) was born in the French village of St. Julien in 1813. As a youth he worked in a pharmacy, but it was his ambition to become a dramatist. A Parisian critic, however, discouraged him, advising him instead: "you have studied pharmacy, study medicine, you will thereby much more surely gain a livelihood."
Bernard did study medicine, and became assistant to the great physiologist, François Magendie. The pupil went on to eclipse the fame of his preceptor, and became, perhaps, the greatest of all physiologists. His discoveries are many. Some of them being only fully understood and applied today. His three outstanding contributions were the demonstration of the role played by the pancreatic juice in digestion, his discovery of the glycogenic function of the liver, and the demonstration of the vaso-motor mechanism.