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Most people consider walking to be a natural and self-evident activity of everyday life. However, this familiarity turns out to be fragile in the face of the question "Do you know how you walk?" The mechanism of walking has puzzled scientists, doctors and writers for a long time. In my book Wissenschaft vom Gehen (Fischer, 2013), I have tried to provide a historical account of those forms of investigations of the human gait, some of the famous, others marginal and largely forgotten, that emerged at the intersection of a variety of disciplines (physiology, neurology, orthopedic surgery, anthropology, psychiatry) since the late 18th century. In my paper, I retrace – in five steps – the historical career of the sciences of walking throughout the 19th century.
This was a conference talk for the 2nd Winter Symposium of the Human Motion Project. It is part of the PeerJ “Human Motion Project” collection.