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January 1990

On Becoming an Authority

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College of Medicine, and the Mayfield Neurological Institute, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Arch Neurol. 1990;47(1):91-93. doi:10.1001/archneur.1990.00530010117029

The time spent in contemplation during residency years being what it is, I venture the surmise that few of our residents have considered the framed bit from Chaucer's Parlement of Foules, gracing a shelf in the neurology library for lo these many years. This excerpt is a fit text for my slight homily this evening. It runs as follows:

For out of olde feldes, as men seith, Cometh all this newe corn from yere to yere; And out of olde bokes, in good feith, Cometh all this newe science that men lere.

Well over a half-century ago, in preparation for a regular Saturday morning Grand Round in Neurology at the Boston (Mass) City Hospital, the chief, Stanley Cobb, had drawn a dozen mannikins on the large blackboard at the front of the room. Cobb, who was something of an artist, drew visual aids using both hands simultaneously. In addition to