Charles Marie Benjamin Rouget

Born 1824
Died 1904

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French physiologist and histologist, born August 19, 1824, Gisors; died 1904, Paris.

Biography of Charles Marie Benjamin Rouget

Charles Marie Benjamin Rouget was the son of a surgeon in the armies of Napoleon. He attended the Collège Sainte-Barbe and received medical training at the teaching hospitals of Paris. Rouget's early researches dealt with the anatomy and physiology of the reproductive organs. He made his best contributions in correlating physiology with microscopic structure. Using special photographic techniques, he was able to examine the muscle fibres of vertebrates under high magnification. As a result of his microscopic research on the female gonads, especially during 1879, he confirmed the presence of primordial egg cells in the ovaries of newly born mammals.

He made noteworthy observations in three areas: contractile tissue, nerve endings, and the eye. For his study of capillary contractility he examined the capillaries of the hyaloid membrane of the eye of a frog. He presented his first findings in 1874, and five years later he made another report on the contractility of blood capillaries.

In 1860 he was appointed to the chair of physiology at the University of Montpellier, where, it is said, he was an efficient and inspiring teacher. In 1879 he was one of two candidates whose names were submitted by the Académie des Sciences for the vacant chair of physiology in the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle. Although unsuccessful on this occasion, he was appointed to the professorship when it fell vacant again shortly afterward, and held it until his retirement in 1893. His colleagues specially remembered him as a brilliant histologist.

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