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 NI FEATURE: JOURNEY THROUGH THE EONS - COMMENTARY
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 65  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 468--470

1892 and the tribulations of Joseph Babinski


Department of Neuromedicine, RG Kar Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Correspondence Address:
Kalyan B Bhattacharyya
Amrapali Point, Flat C, 59F, Bosepukur Road, Kolkata - 700 042, West Bengal
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/neuroindia.NI_573_16

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In the early 1880s, Joseph Babinski was appointed as Chef de Clinique under Jean-Martin Charcot at Salpétrière, Paris, in France. He appeared for the post of Professeur Agrégé, the pinnacle of academic distinction in France in 1892. Charles Bouchard, the earliest pupil of Charcot, who described the Charcot-Bouchard aneurysm along with his master, was the Chief of the Board of Jury. Charcot and Bouchard did not see eye to eye in the later period, and when German Sée, an external examiner did not join the board of examiners following illness, Bouchard, instead of seeking the assistance of an alternate examiner, employed the special right of Vote of Absence. Babinski and all other pupils of Charcot were unsuccessful, while those of Bouchard, came out with flying colors. An embittered Babinski, along with some of the other unsuccessful candidates, appeared before the Ministry of Public Assistance after a protracted legal battle for nearly 2 years but lost the case. They were even ordered by the court to pay on behalf of the the successful candidates for the legal battle. Babinski never sat for the examination again and this is the story of one of the most ignominious episodes in an examination anywhere.






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