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Through two stories from the history of medical science, both related to the theory of bloodletting as a treatment for inflammatory diseases, the importance of direct observations and the use of a numerical scheme in all scientific work, including fatigue mechanism research, are illustrated. Brief remarks on two specific questions arising from two earlier sessions on direct observations are inserted. The two questions are: (1) What is the connection between direct observations and quantitative microscopy? (2) What could fatigue design and testing engineers learn from the direct observations of fatigue damage at microscopic levels? A cautionary note on the temptation to extrapolate from insufficient direct evidence of fatigue damage is also included.
Benjamin Rush, bloodletting, direct observations, fatigue, fatigue mechanism, Pierre Louis, quantitative medicine, quantitative microscopy, statistical aspects of fatigue
Physicist and project leader, Center for Applied Mathematics, National Engineering Laboratory, National Bureau of Standards, Washington, D.C.