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Krogh, (Schack) August

physiology behaviour mechanism copenhagen

[krawg] (1874–1949) Danish physiologist: studied physiology of respiration.

A shipbuilder’s son, young Krogh was always an enthusiast for experiment, and soon after beginning medicine at Copenhagen he moved to zoology and to medical physiology. He spent his life in Copenhagen as a zoophysiologist. As a student he worked in his room on the hydrostatic mechanism of Corethra larvae, devising methods for analysing gas in their air bladders and showing that they ‘function like the diving tanks of a submarine’. He went on to study gas exchange in the animal lung, and the whole problem of how an animal responds to a ‘call for oxygen’, both in vertebrates and in insects. In this, the behaviour of the capillaries is critical, and Krogh studied their movement and expansion in the frog’s tongue, and from this developed a general picture of the behaviour and response of the capillary system and its regulatory mechanism, which involves both nerves and hormones. He won the Nobel Prize in 1920.

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