The Hormones in Human Reproduction

The Hormones in Human Reproduction

The Hormones in Human Reproduction

The Hormones in Human Reproduction

Excerpt

This book represents, with considerable additions, the substance of the Vanuxem Lectures, given at Princeton University in February 1942. The invitation to be Vanuxem Lecturer carried with it the expressed wish of the Committee that I should discuss the hormones of the reproductive system for the benefit of a general audience, assuming on the part of my hearers no familiarity with biology. This imposed no easy task, for it called upon me to describe some of the most intricate and elaborate mechanisms of the body, to listeners who perhaps had never seen the organs and tissues in which these activities take place. The of the living cells and the manner in which they are put together to form the organs are matters not merely so unfamiliar, but actually even so daunting to most people, as to create serious difficulties for the biologist and physician who tries to explain his work. For the first time in my life I could have wished I were an astronomer or physicist, for the heavenly spheres, their orbits and attractions, and even such matters as warps in space and corpuscles of light can be described to a certain extent in terms of the workshop and the household; but how can we explain the marvels of the human egg or the action of an estrogenic hormone without a background of cellular biology? My only recourse has been to begin at the very beginning, to devote as many as three chapters to general preparation for actual discussion of the hormones, and at every step to explain and illustrate the underlying anatomy and physiology as clearly as possible.

This is, to the best of my knowledge, the first time an American university has devoted one of the great endowed lectureships to the subject of human reproduction. A few years ago it might even have been impossible to break through the old conventions that hampered free public discussion of this subject. We have a tradition that sex and reproduction . . .

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