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To the Editor:—
As a physician born and bred in the Netherlands, I was thrilled to read the life story of Petrus Camper published in the Sept 14, 1964, issue of The Journal ( 189:852). Perhaps a few supplementary remarks would be appropriate to accentuate not only the scientific accomplishments but also the human side of this scientist.
Camper's originality is perhaps best illustrated by an article written in reaction to the complaint of one of his students that all interesting research problems had been solved. Camper retorted that to the expert the investigation of any simple object could be interesting. When the student dared him to write an article about an old shoe, which was lying around, Camper wrote an orthopedic classic about "the optimal shoe." Using special anatomic studies as a basis, he concluded that the right and left shoes must have different lasts, and he
Snapper I. Peter Camper (1722-1789). JAMA. 1965;191(9):768–769. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080090082038
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