Out of the darkness of ignorance a feeble light flickered in 1614, when Sanctorius published his "Aphorisms," based on his picturesque measurements of insensible perspiration, but the flame did not penetrate far into the darkness until the modern era of the science of nutrition was opened by Lavoisier in 1780. From him through the great names of Laplace, Liebig, Voit, Rubner, Lusk and Benedict and their students, the knowledge of metabolism was brought down to the present.
The early investigations in human calorimetry were carried on entirely by physiologists. This work necessitated complicated apparatus and trained technical assistance. Naturally, the investigators who worked with animals also became interested in infants. Work on children began in 1877, with a few fragmentary observations by Forster,1 Speck,2 and Magnus-Levy and Falk.3 Richet in 1885 made a series of observations on the direct measurement of heat production, which, with the work
TALBOT FB. BASAL METABOLISM OF GIRLSPRESIDENT'S ADDRESS. Am J Dis Child. 1936;52(1):1–15. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1936.04140010010001