Scientific terms, especially those of Anatomy can be confusing; this discourages people from using a large part of the enormous pool of scientific information that is available today, and creates a gap that is in most cases addressed with activities of “science communicating with the public” or “popular science”.
But what is the origin of all these “sophisticated” scientific terms? How can one comprehend their meaning and use them constructively, or if necessary memorise them? And more significantly, how can people with no particular training, deal with the comprehension of these terms on their own?
In addressing these issues, it is noteworthy that many of the scientific terms that nowadays seem peculiar and difficult to memorise, were once everyday words, whose original meaning was lost to the centuries. Some of these words were first used in Ancient Greek whereas others in Latin, and together they became the basis of modern scientific terminology. Knowing the origin of these words, facilitates their comprehension, and most significantly demonstrates how close science really is to society. Approaching science through “etymology”, i.e. studying the origin of scientific terms, often leads to unexpected discoveries that can make this investigation fascinating, and at the same time constitutes a convincing argument in favor of looking more carefully under all those things we tend to take for granted!
The specific section of DrHippocrates.com is focused on the origin of scientific terms and anatomical names used in Veterinary Science, providing explanations often combined with pictures, and free-access material available on the internet. Obviously the outcome of this effort does not compare with the wonderful scientific dictionaries available by experts in the specific field, but hopefully it will encourage the general public, especially “young scientists”, to use them with more patience and confidence. To this purpose, the specific section of DrHippocrates.com will obviously provide answers but will hopefully raise more questions, since …
…when one is addressing intelligent people, it is by far more educational to raise a question than answer it!