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Commentary: Epidemiology still ascendant

Though published in 1981, the footnote on the first page of ‘The Rise and Fall of Epidemiology’1 indicates that it was a preprint of a talk ‘to be presented December 10, 2004, at the annual meeting of the John Graunt Literary Society, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston.’ Back in the 1970s, the facetiously named John Graunt Literary Society, or JGLS, met each Friday in the late afternoon at the Harvard epidemiology department to celebrate Graunt’s legacy with brewed beverages. Although the December date 23 years in the future at the time of publication was in fact a Friday, the ‘preprint’ implied that the JGLS was destined to evolve from a weekly beerfest into a yearly gathering of sober, serious speeches. In an essay that many readers took to be a cynical rant laden with gloomy predictions, this forecast for the JGLS was the gloomiest of all.


Rothman, K. (2007). Commentary: Epidemiology still ascendant. International Journal of Epidemiology, 36(4), 710-711. https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dym151