Carl Wilhelm Hermann Nothnagel

Born 1841
Died 1905

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German internist, born September 28, 1841, Alt-Lietzegöricke, Brandenburg; died July 7, 1905, Vienna.

Biography of Carl Wilhelm Hermann Nothnagel

Carl Wilhelm Hermann Nothnagel was one of the leading clinicians in his time and a distinguished representative of the Vienna School. He was the son of a physician and studied under Ludwig Traube (1818-1876) and Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902) at the Friedrich Wilhelms-Institut in Berlin from 1858 to 1863, receiving his doctorate in 1863. Nothnagel subsequently served as a military physician, and in 1865 moved to Königsberg, where he worked as an assistant in Ernst Viktor von Leyden’s (1832-1910) clinic. He was habilitated in internal medicine in Königsberg in 1866. In 1868, after three years in Königsberg, his leave from the army came to an end, so he had to return to Berlin and the Charité.

From 1868 to 1870 Nothnagel was both lecturer – Dozent – and military physician in Berlin. In 1870 he was eventually posted in Breslau, where again he received the venia legendi. He participated in the Prussian-Franco war and two years later set a definite end to his military career, following a call to Freiburg. He was professor of pharmacy (Arzneimittellehre) and medical policlinics until 1874, when he was called to Jena to assume the chair of special pathology and therapy. In 1882 he eventually moved his activities to Vienna, succeeding Adalbert Duchek (1824-1882). From 1882 until his death in 1905 he was professor at the university clinic in Vienna. One of his students here was Constantin Economo, Freiherr von San Serff (1876-1931), with whom Nothnagel worked for one year. He was a very good speaker and a well-liked lecturer.

Nothnagel's work was a major contribution to the advance of internal medicine at the Vienna School. His efforts concerned a broad field of this speciality, with clinical observations as well as experiments. He made an effort to bring drug therapies in accordance with the foundations of theoretical pharmacology.

Nothnagel suffered from angina pectoris and set down his own symptoms in great detail just before his death.

    “All knowledge attains its ethical value and its human significance only by the humane sense in which it is employed. Only a good man can be a great physician.”

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