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April 13, 1970

Thomas Moffet (1553-1604) Physician and Author

JAMA. 1970;212(2):315. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170150069016

Thomas Moffet, sometimes spelled Moffett, Muffett, or Moufet, was born in London, the son of a haberdasher. After attending grammar school he matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1569 and later transferred to Caius College where he graduated BA.1 He studied medicine with Thomas Lorkin and John Caius and in 1576 received the MA from Trinity College. Moffet traveled through several European countries, gained the acquaintance of several distinguished physicians and chemists, attended the medical lectures of Felix Platter in Basel, and there received the MD degree in 1578. In the same year, he published two medical treatises. Proceeding to Italy and Spain, Moffet spent considerable time studying all forms of insect life, especially the culture of the silkworm described in a poem.2 While on the Continent he accepted the doctrines of Paracelsus documented in a well-written apology, published in 1584, in which he defended the use of