Yet, he was not famous for his medical achievements as a doctor. Ironically, the name of the opponent of the death penalty Guillotin was given to a machine for beheading – the guillotine. A humane doctor and active participant in the Great French Revolution, a friend of Robespierre and Marat, suggested as a temporary measure, while the death penalty was still on the books, to use a mechanism that would not cause suffering to those being executed. He did not invent the machine itself: others took up the task. It was built by German mechanic and piano master Tobias Schmidt based on drawings by surgeon Antoine Louis. The machine was named “Louise” for some time in honor of Dr. Louis but soon assumed another name – the guillotine. Professor Guillotin was not please at all, and members of his family changed their surnames. Contrary to a common belief, Guillotin died in his bed rather than being executed on a guillotine. And the humane guillotine gave rise to a whole direction in science – the study of the human brain.
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