Zivot a dielo presovskeho lekarnika a lekara
Presov pharmacist, medical doctor and author of the first variolation in Europe.
Building of the Presov Collegium
Jan Adam Rayman was the only son of a Presov pharmacist Jan Rayman. When his father died in 1699, his mother married Jan Samuel Willich, also a pharmacist. Thus it was that the pharmacy figured large in J. A. Rayman's childhood, which determined the choice of his career. First, he successfully finished his apprenticeship and became a pharmacist, and at the age of 19 went to study medicine at the Jena University in Germany, transferring later to Leyden in Holland. He had a number of distinguished teachers, but the one who influenced him most was undoubtedly Herman Boerhaave. Rayman graduated in 1712 and in spite of attractive invitations from Poland he returned to his native town where he was soon appointed public health officer and at the same time he took over his family's pharmacy.
J. A. Rayman's Entries of Exams from University
Rayman's medicin Diploma
His return home was, particularly ill-timed: it was shortly after the final defeat of the Estates Revolts in which Presov played a significant role, after a catastrophic plague epidemic and a subsequent devastating fire. Presov was practically a ghost town, its economic and social life paralyzed. Rayman, however, inspired by the knowledge and experience he had gained, set out to his pioneering mission: his pharmacy soon gained excelent reputation thanks to his erudition as well as his kindheartedness, his scientific interests finding expression in the articles he began publishing in the Wroclaw journal Sammlung von Natur und Medicin... Geschichten in 1717. Later, he also contributed to other foreign journals. His attention was focused primarily on contagious diseases - variola, dysentery, rabies, measles, scarlet fever, inter alia. His most significant achievement was his pioneering work in vaccination against variola which he carried out in the autumn of 1720 or the beginning of 1721, when he vaccinated his own child. It is unlikely that we shall ever be able to determine the date more accurately because of the doubtful value of the relevant historical documents. The fact remains that Rayman was the first man in Europe to scientifically describe, evaluate and publish results of variolization experiments. Unfortunately, the results of his experiment were not fully appreciated in Hungary because there, compared with the rest of Europe, the development of society and medicine had not reached a sufficiently high level. In recognition of his scientific and professional work, Rayman was appointed member of the Academia Leopoldina in 1719 with the title of Aristophanes. In 1927 he repeated his vaccination experiment, thus confirming the results of the first one.
Diploma from Academia Leopoldina
Vaccination against variola
Rayman's sphere of interests also included meteorologic observations, exploration and analysis of mineral water springs, and thermometry. He used the thermometer not only in medicine but also when he carried out weather observations, which can also be considered a pioneering application. Also significant was his collaboration with Matej Bel in editing his Noticia and in the preparation of the establishment of the Leamed Society of Hungary.
Rayman's greatest contribution lies in the fact that he was one of the first people who devoted systematic attention to scientific work and published the results of their experiments. His uncompromising attitudes and unconventional approach to problems is living heritage for the present. He tested and creatively developed in specific applications all of his observations and, avoiding dogmatism, he approached all of his cases on an individual basis. He implemented in practice what several decades later one of his followers, Z. T. Husty, expressed in the following words: "Test everything and adopt only what has proved its usefulness.'' This sentence sums up Rayman's heritage for the present, making his work, life and fortunes significantly topical.