- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Oskar Langendorff

Born 1853
Died 1908

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German physiologist, born February 1, 1853, Breslau, Lower Silesia, Prussia (today Wrlocaw, Poland); died May 10, 1908, Rostock.

Biography of Oskar Langendorff

Oscar Langendorff studied at the Universities of Breslau, Berlin, Freiburg im Breisgau, and Königsberg in Prussia, obtaining his doctorate at the University of Königsberg in 1875. From 1875 to 1878 he was a scientific assistant at the physiological institute in Königsberg, first under Wilhelm von Wittich (1821-1884), then with Wittich's successor Ludimar Hermann (1838-1914).

Langendorff was habilitated for physiology in 1879, becoming professor extraordinary – associate professor – in 1884. From 1892 he was Full Professor – Ordinarius – of physiology and director of the physiological institute at Rostock in Mecklenburg, succeeding Hermann Aubert (1826-1892). He was rector of the University of Rostock 1896/1897 and 1900/1901, and Dean in the summer of 1908.

Langendorff possessed knowledge in all parts of physiology, but he concentrated his research on the location and function of the specific areas of respiration, the heart, and the function of ganglia in nerve transmission. He won world wide recognition for his studies on the isolated heart.

Langendorff was a member of the Leopoldinisch-Carolinische Akademie, corresponding member of the Accademia medico-chirurgica in Perugia and honorary member of the Verein für wissenschaftliche Heilkunde in Königsberg.

He was described by one of his fellow colleagues "to have been not a conqueror, who discovered new and unimaginable areas, but a brave comrade-in-arms who served physiology, our wonderful science, well with diligence and conscientiousness in teaching and research"

We thank Dr. Valdeci J. Pomblum, Santa Maria (RS), Brazil, and Professor Dr. Jochen D. Schipke, Düsseldorf, Germany, for information submitted.

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