The Map of Medicine: A Comprehensive Animation Shows How the Fields of Modern Medicine Fit Together

The Hip­po­crat­ic Oath is pop­u­lar­ly imag­ined as begin­ning with, or at least involv­ing, the com­mand “First, do no harm.” In fact, noth­ing like it appears among the orig­i­nal Greek words attrib­uted to Hip­pocrates; the Latin phrase pri­mum non nocere seems to have been added in the sev­enth cen­tu­ry. But the prin­ci­ple makes a high­ly suit­able start­ing point for Dominic Wal­li­man’s video tour above of his new Com­pre­hen­sive Map of Med­i­cine. A physi­cist and sci­ence writer, Wal­li­man has pre­vi­ous­ly been fea­tured many times here on Open Cul­ture for his Youtube chan­nel Domain of Sci­ence and his maps of oth­er fields, from physics, chem­istry, and biol­o­gy to math­e­mat­ics, engi­neer­ing, and com­put­er sci­ence.

This new map marks a return after what, to Wal­li­man’s fans, felt like a long hia­tus indeed. The pro­longed absence speaks to the ambi­tion of the project, whose sub­ject demands the inte­gra­tion of a large num­ber of fields and sub-fields both the­o­ret­i­cal and prac­ti­cal.

For med­i­cine exist­ed long before sci­ence — sci­ence as we know it today, at least— and two and a half mil­len­nia after the time of Hip­pocrates, the con­nec­tions and inter­ac­tions between the realm of med­i­cine presided over by doc­tors and that presided over by sci­en­tists are com­plex and not eas­i­ly under­stood by the pub­lic. Hence the impor­tance of Wal­li­man’s clar­i­ty of visu­al expla­na­tion, as it has evolved through­out his sci­en­tif­ic map-mak­ing career, as well as his clar­i­ty of ver­bal expla­na­tion, on dis­play through all 50 min­utes of this video.

As Wal­li­man empha­sizes right at the out­set, he isn’t a med­ical doc­tor — but he is a “doc­tor” in the sense that he has a PhD, and intel­lec­tu­al­ly, he comes more than well-placed to under­stand how each part of med­i­cine relates to the oth­ers. This is espe­cial­ly true of a less­er-known area of study like med­ical physics, whose fruits include imag­ing tech­niques like X‑ray, MRI, CT, and ultra­sound, with which many of us have first-hand expe­ri­ence as patients. Few non-spe­cial­ists will ever be direct­ly involved in the prac­tice of, say, biol­o­gy or engi­neer­ing, but in the twen­ty-first cen­tu­ry, it’s the rare human being indeed who nev­er encoun­ters the real­i­ty of med­i­cine. The next time you find your­self in treat­ment, it cer­tain­ly could­n’t do any harm to ori­ent your­self on its map.

Relat­ed con­tent:

The Map of Biol­o­gy: Ani­ma­tion Shows How All the Dif­fer­ent Fields in Biol­o­gy Fit Togeth­er

Every­thing You Need To Know About Virus­es: A Quick Visu­al Expla­na­tion of Virus­es in 9 Images

The Map of Chem­istry: New Ani­ma­tion Sum­ma­rizes the Entire Field of Chem­istry in 12 Min­utes

Down­load 100,000+ Images From The His­to­ry of Med­i­cine, All Free Cour­tesy of The Well­come Library

Info­graph­ics Show How the Dif­fer­ent Fields of Biol­o­gy, Chem­istry, Math­e­mat­ics, Physics & Com­put­er Sci­ence Fit Togeth­er

The Archive of Heal­ing Is Now Online: UCLA’s Dig­i­tal Data­base Pro­vides Access to Thou­sands of Tra­di­tion­al & Alter­na­tive Heal­ing Meth­ods

Based in Seoul, Col­in Marshall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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