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By Alfred P. Fishman, Dickinson W. Richards

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It penetrate the looser vessels of the lungs? Pinally, if we do not deny the outward passage offumes and ~f serous fluid, why may we not concede an inward passage of this nitrous foodstuff into the blood through the same or similar liltle pores? "On this account it is extremely probable that the blood takes in air in its course through the lungs, and owes its bright colour entirely to the admixture of air. Moreover, afler the air has in large measure lefi the blood again within the body and the parenchyma of the viscera, and has transpired through the pores of the body, it is equally consistent with reason that the venous blood, which has lost its air, should forthwith appear darker and blacker.

To be sure, it introduced the paradox of two-way trafhc in the pulmonary vein, and of the selective permeability of the mitral valve for sooty wastes but not spiritous blood, both of which led William Harvey to reconsider the Galenic system. But was not this paradox the flrst attempt to explain the two simultaneous functions served by the movement of blood through the lungs: the acquisition of a useful substance, and the elimination of a wasteful one? One wonders why Galen, a keen observer, should have assumed the existence of pores between the ventricles too small to be visible.

These associations undoubtedly helped Lower in his fundamental and inspiring work, which demonstrated the influence of the gas "Spiritus Aeris Nitrosus" on the color of the blood. Richard Lower (1631-91) was born of an affiuent family at Tremeer, near Bodmin, in Cornwall, and at the age of seventeen was elected to studentship at Christ Church in Oxford (45,93,1°9). Soon thereafter he became research assistant to Thomas Willis, a position he held for ten years, to his and his teacher's great benefit.

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