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Ludwig, Karl Friedrich Wilhelm

physiology blood modern student

[lud veekh] (1816–95) German physiologist: pioneer of modern physiology.

Ludwig enrolled as a medical student in Marburg in 1834, but he had a stormy student career. He soon had a heavily scarred lip through duelling, and conflict with the university authorities sent him to study elsewhere; but he returned to Marburg in 1840 and was teaching there by 1846. Later he taught in Zürich, Vienna and Leipzig. His work helped to create modern physiology; he saw no place for ‘vital force’ and he sought explanations of living processes in terms of physics and chemistry. In this he was much influenced by his friend, the chemist . When Ludwig began, physiology had few experimental instruments. He developed the kymograph (1846) and used it to discover much about respiration and the circulation; he devised the mercurial blood pump (1859), the stream gauge (1867) and a method of maintaining circulation in an isolated organ, perfusion (1865). His blood pump allowed the study of blood gases and respiratory exchange. Later he worked on the action of the kidneys and the heart, on salivary secretion and on the lymphatic system. During 30 years he and his students did much to create modern physiology and when he died almost every leading physiologist had at some time studied with him.

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