EE Academic Genealogy Project
Click entries for more info and use color triangles to navigate through the academic genealogy. (Entry Request Form)
Philipp Franz von Walther
Prof. of Medicine
U. of Bonn
Philipp Franz von Walther (3 January 1782 – 29 December 1849) was a German surgeon and ophthalmologist who was a native of Burrweiler.
He studied medicine in Vienna under Georg Joseph Beer (1763–1821), obtaining his medical doctorate in 1803 from the University of Landshut. He subsequently served as a professor at the Universities of Bamberg, Landshut, Bonn (1818–1830), and Munich. Among his better known students were Johannes Peter Müller (1801–1858) at Bonn, and Johann Lukas Schönlein (1793–1864) and Cajetan von Textor (1782–1860) at Landshut.
Walther is best known for his pioneer work in ophthalmology and ophthalmic surgery. In 1826 he described the first tarsorrhaphy for closure of a portion of the eyelids for partial ectropion. In the treatise Ueber die Hornhautflecken, he gave an early account of corneal opacity.
With Karl Ferdinand von Gräfe (1787–1840), he was co-editor of Journal der Chirurgie und Augenheilkunde, an influential journal of surgery and ophthalmology. Walther is credited with performing numerous experiments involving medical galvanism.
He died in Munich.
Johannes Peter Müller
Prof. of Anatomy and Physiology
U. of Berlin
|Post-Doctoral work, University of Berlin||Georg W. F. Hegel|
|Ph.D., University of Berlin||Karl A. Rudolphi|
|M.D., University of Bonn, 1923||Philipp Franz von Walther|
Johannes Peter Müller (14 July 1801 – 28 April 1858), was a German physiologist, comparative anatomist, ichthyologist, and herpetologist, known not only for his discoveries but also for his ability to synthesize knowledge.
Müller was born in Koblenz. He was the son of a poor shoemaker, and was about to be apprenticed to a saddler when his talents attracted the attention of his teacher, and he prepared himself for the Roman Catholic priesthood.
When he was 18 though, his love for natural science became dominant, and he turned to medicine, entering the University of Bonn in 1819. There he received his M.D.. He then studied at Berlin. There, under the influence of Hegel and Rudolphi, he was induced to reject all systems of physiology which were not founded upon a strict observation of nature.
He became Privatdozent of physiology and comparative anatomy at Bonn in 1824, extraordinary professor of physiology in 1826, and ordinary professor in 1830. In 1833 he went to the Humboldt University of Berlin, where he filled the chair of anatomy and physiology until his death.
Müller made contributions in numerous domains of physiology, in particular increasing understanding of the voice, speech and hearing, as well as the chemical and physical properties of lymph, chyle and blood. His first important works, Zur vergleichenden Physiologie des Gesichtsinns (“On the comparative physiology of sight,” Leipzig, 1826) and Über die phantastischen Gesichtserscheinungen (“On visual hallucination,” Coblenz, 1826), are of a subjective philosophical tendency. The first work concerns the most important facts as to human and animal sight, the second sounds depths of difficult psychological problems. He soon became the leader in the science of the morphological treatment of zoology as well as of experimental physiology. To his research (1830) is due the settlement of the theory of reflex action.
In the century preceding Müller’s work, many contributions to physiological science had been made. Müller gave order to these facts, developed general principles and showed physiologists how recent discoveries in physics and chemistry could be applied to their work. The appearance of his magnum opus, Handbuch der Physiologie des Menschen, between 1833 and 1840 (translated into English as “Elements of Physiology” by William Baly, and published in London 1837–1843) marked the beginning of a new period in the study of physiology. In it, for the first time, the results of human and comparative anatomy, as well as of chemistry and other departments of physical science, and tools like the microscope, were brought to bear on the investigation of physiological problems.
The most important portion of the work was that dealing with nervous action and the mechanism of the senses. Here he stated the principle, not before recognized, that the kind of sensation following stimulation of a sensory nerve does not depend on the mode of stimulation but upon the nature of the sense organ. Thus light, pressure, or mechanical stimulation acting on the retina and optic nerve invariably produces luminous impressions. This he termed the law of specific energies of the sense.
The book became the leading textbook in physiology for much of the nineteenth century. It manifests Müller’s interests in vitalism, philosophy and scientific rigor. He discusses the difference between inorganic and organic matter. He considers in detail various physiological systems of a wide variety of animals, but attributes the indivisible whole of an organism to the presence of a soul. He also proposes that living organisms possess a life-energy for which physical laws can never fully account.
Edward Forbes F.R.S. in his A History of British Starfishes, and Other Animals of the Class Echinodermata (1841) in his preface refers to Muller as the “one of the greatest living physiologists, Muller of Berlin”.
Müller mentored such distinguished scientists and physiologists as Hermann von Helmholtz, Emil du Bois-Reymond, Theodor Schwann, Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle, Carl Ludwig and Ernst Haeckel.
Müller died in Berlin in 1858. In 1899, a bronze statue was erected in his memory at Koblenz.