See also:born at
See also:Neuss in Rhenish Prussia on the 7th of
See also:December 181o . His
See also:father was a man of
See also:talent; at first a goldsmith, he afterwards founded an important printing
See also:establishment .
See also:Schwann inherited his father's tastes, and the leisure of his boyhood was largely spent in constructing little
See also:machines of all kinds . He studied at the
See also:college in Cologne and afterwards at
See also:Bonn, where he met Johannes
See also:Muller, in whose physiological experiments he soon came to assist . He next went to
See also:Wurzburg to continue his medical studies, and thence to Berlin to graduate in 1834 . Here he again met Muller, who had been meanwhile translated to Berlin, and who finally persuaded him to enter on a scientific career and appointed him assistant at the anatomical museum . Schwann in 1838 was called to the
See also:chair of anatomy at the
See also:Roman Catholic university of
See also:Louvain, where he remained nine years . In 1847 he went as
See also:professor to Liege, where he remained till his
See also:death on the 1th of
See also:January 1882 . He was of a peculiarly gentle and amiable character, and remained a devout Catholic throughout his
See also:life . It was during the four years spent under the influence of Muller at Berlin that all Schwann's really valuable
See also:work was done . Muller was at this
See also:time preparing his great
See also:book on physiology, and Schwann assisted him in the experimental work required . His
See also:attention being thus directed to the
See also:nervous and
See also:muscular tissues, besides making such histological discoveries as that of the envelope of the nerve-
See also:fibres which now bears his name, he initiated those researches in muscular contractility since so elaborately worked out by Du Bois Reymond and others .
He was thus the first of
See also:Miller's pupils who broke with the traditional vitalism and worked towards a physico-chemical explanation of life . Muller also directed his attention to the
See also:process of digestion, which Schwann showed to depend essentially on the presence of a ferment called by him
See also:pepsin . Schwann also examined the question of spontaneous generation, which he greatly aided to disprove, and in the course of his experiments discovered the organic nature of yeast . In fact the whole germ theory of
See also:Pasteur, as well as its antiseptic applications by Lister, is traceable to his influence . Once when he was dining with Schleiden in 1837, the conversation turned on the nuclei of
See also:vegetable cells . Schwann remembered having seen similar structures in the cells of the notochord (as had been shown by Muller) and instantly realized the importance of connecting the two phenomena . The resemblance was confirmed without delay by both observers, and the results soon appeared in his famous Microscopic Investigations on the Accordance in the Structure and Growth of
See also:Plants and Animals (Berlin, 1839; trans . Sydenham Society, 1847) . The
See also:cell theory was thus definitely constituted . In the course of his verifications of the cell theory, in which he traversed the whole
See also:field of
See also:histology, he provedthe cellular origin and development of the most highly differentiated tissues, nails, feathers, enamels, &c . His generalization became the foundation of
See also:modern histology, and in the hands of Rudolf
See also:Virchow (whose cellular pathology was an inevitable deduction from Schwann) afforded the means of placing modern pathology on a truly scientific basis . An excellent account of Schwann's life and work is that by Leon Fr6dericq (Liege, 1884) .
SCHWALBACH, or LANGENSCHWALBACH
LUDWIG MICHAEL SCHWANTHALER (1802-1848)
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