- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Erwin von Esmarch

Born 1855
Died 1915

Related eponyms


German bacteriologist and hygienist, born March 12, 1855, Kiel; died February 4, 1915, Göttingen.

Biography of Erwin von Esmarch

Erwin von Esmarch was the son of the great surgeon Johannes Friedrich August von Esmarch (1823-1908). Erwin Esmarch was educated at Heidelberg, Kiel, and Strassburg, being conferred doctor of medicine in Strassburg in 1881. From 1882 to 1884 he was assistant at the Berlin eye clinic under Karl Ernst Theodor Schweigger (1830-1905). From 1885 to 1891 he worked with Robert Koch (1843-1910) and in 1890 was habilitated for hygiene in Berlin. He became extraordinarius in Königsberg in 1891 and in 1897 he was elevated to the chair. In 1899 he accepted a call to Göttingen, where he died in 1915.

Esmarch mastered the entire field of hygiene, distinguishing himself particularly in his work on disinfection. He concerned himself extensively with household hygiene and was concerned about the often poor hygienic conditions in German schools.

Of bacteriological works two things are named for him: his «Rollrörchen» as well as the method of quantitative demonstration of Bacterium coli in Water, the Göttingen procedure, developed by himself and his students. He also wrote a book an the influence of daylight on health.

In 1883 he married Else Ravene. They had one daughter, Louise Henriette Amelie von Esmarch, born 1887.

In 1887 Esmarch described Rhodospirillum rubrum.

What is an eponym?

An eponym is a word derived from the name of a person, whether real or fictional. A medical eponym is thus any word related to medicine, whose name is derived from a person.

What is Whonamedit?

Whonamedit.com is a biographical dictionary of medical eponyms. It is our ambition to present a complete survey of all medical phenomena named for a person, with a biography of that person.


Whonamedit? does not give medical advice.
This survey of medical eponyms and the persons behind them is meant as a general interest site only. No information found here must under any circumstances be used for medical purposes, diagnostically, therapeutically or otherwise. If you, or anybody close to you, is affected, or believe to be affected, by any condition mentioned here: see a doctor.