- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Ludwig Pick

Born 1868
Died 1944

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German pathologist, born August 31, 1868, Landsberg an der Warthe; died February 3, 1944, Theresienstadt Concentration Camp.

Biography of Ludwig Pick

Ludwig Pick was the son of a businessman. He was a successful scholar with a talent for natural science and mathematics. He also had musical gifts, playing the cello and leading the school orchestra. Pick attended the universities of Heidelberg, Leipzig, Berlin, and Königsberg, at the latter university concentrating particularly on pathology under Ernst Neumann (1834-1918) and C. Nauwerck. He obtained his doctorate at Leipzig in 1893 and that year organised the establishment of the pathological institute in Leopold Landau’s (1848-1920) private clinic for women, where he remained until 1906. He was habilitated for pathological anatomy in 1899, and in 1906 became director of the pathological-anatomical department of the city hospital Friedrichshain-Berlin. He was made titular professor in 1909, and in 1921 was appointed ordinary honorary professor.

Pick served with distinction in the German army during the First World War. Despite this background he was evicted from his home by the Nazis and imprisoned in the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp where he died on 3 February 1944 at the age of 76 years.

Pick was described as a very short and fat man, a workaholic starting work at six in the morning, finishing at 7 or 8 pm. He was a convinced bachelor, describing love in these words: "Love is a psychosis which may always be given a good prognosis".

Pick conducted many post-mortem examinations with great thoroughness. He was an innovator in histological techniques and made numerous contributions to academic pathology, especially in the fields of genito-urinary disease and melanotic pigmentation. He gained worldwide recognition for his expensive publications over a 40-year period.

It was Ludwig Pick who, in 1926, demonstrated histologically that Niemann-Pick is a separate entity from Gaucher's disease, and drew attention to Niemann’s original description. He reported a masculinising ovarian tumor in 1905.

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