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Alfred Wilhelm Volkmann

Born  1801
Died  1877

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German physiologist, born July 18, 1801, Zschortau, Sachsen; died July 21, 1877, Halle an der Saale.

Biography of Alfred Wilhelm Volkmann

Alfred Wilhelm Volkmann studied in Leipzig from 1821 and obtained his doctorate in 1826, subsequently making scientific journeys to London and Paris. He was habilitated as Privatdozent at the University of Leipzig in 1828, becoming professor extraordinary of zootomy there in 1834, and in 1837 accepted an invitation to Dorpat as professor of physiology, pathology, and semiotics. He left Dorpat already in 1843, moving to the chair of physiology at the Friedrichs-Universität in Halle, where he remained active as a teacher and researcher until his death in 1877. In 1854 he also assumed the teaching of anatomy, until 1872, when physiology was branched off and given to J. Bernstein. After his fiftieth doctoral jubilee in 1872 Volkmann retired completely from his university activities.

In 1842, Volkmann and Friedrich Heinrich Bidder (1810-1894) showed the sympathetic nervous system to consist largely of small, medullated fibres originating from the sympathetic and spinal ganglia.

Alfred Wilhelm Volkmann was considered one of the foremost physiologists of his time.

His son, Richard von Volkmann, became a distinguished surgeon.


  • Observatio biologica de magnetismo animali.
    Doctoral dissertation, Leipzig, 1826.
  • Anatomia animalum. 2 volumes; Leipzig, 1831-1833.
  • De colubri natricis generatione. Commentatio qua orationem ad suscipendum munus professoris extraordinarii medicinae die V. Julii MDCCCXXXIV.
    Lipsiae, typis Breitkopfio-Haertelianis. Alfredus Guilielmus Volkmann.
  • Neue Beiträge zur Physiologie des Gesichtssinnes.
    Leipzig, 1836.
  • Die Lehre von dem leiblichen Leben des Menschen.
    Leipzig, 1837.
  • Die Selbständigkeit des sympathischen Nervensystems durch anatomiache Untersuchungen nachgewiesen.
    With Friedrich Heinrich Bidder.
    Leipzig, Breitkopf & Härtel, 1842.
  • Die Hämodynamik nach Versuchen.
    Leipzig, Breitkopf & Härtel, 1850.
  • Physiologische Untersuchungen im Gebiet der Optik.
    2 booklets, Leipzig, 1863-1864.
  • Lars-Burkhardt Sturm:
    Die humananatomische Sammlung des Instituts für Anatomie und Zellbiologie zu Halle/Saale - ihre Geschichte und ihr Präparationsprofil unter den Direktoren Eduard d`Alton (1803-1854), Alfred Wilhelm Volkmann (1801-1877) und Hermann Welcker (1822-1897).
    Doctoral dissertation, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, 1998.
We thank Rudolf Kleinert, Bad Reichenhall, Germany, for information submitted.

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