NIELS RYBERG FINSEN (15 December 1860 – 24 September 1904) was a
Faroese -Danish physician and scientist of Icelandic descent. He was
Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology in 1903 "in
recognition of his contribution to the treatment of diseases,
especially lupus vulgaris , with concentrated light radiation ,
whereby he has opened a new avenue for medical science."
* 1 Biography
* 1.1 Studies in medicine
* 1.2 Personal life
* 2 Memorials
* 3 References
* 4 External links
Niels Finsen was born in
Faroe Islands , as the
second-oldest of four children. His parents were Hannes Finsen (da),
who belonged to an Icelandic family with traditions reaching back to
the 10th century, and Johanne Fröman, who was born and raised in
The family moved to
Iceland in 1858 when his father
was given the position of
Landfoged . When Niels was four years old
his mother died, and his father married her cousin Birgitte Kirstine
Formann, with whom he had six children. In 1871 his father was made
Amtmand of the
Faroe Islands .
Finsen got his early education in
Tórshavn , but in 1874 was sent to
the Danish boarding school Herlufsholm , where his older brother Olaf
was also a student. Unlike Olaf, Niels had a difficult stay at
Herlufsholm, culminating with a statement from the principal which
claimed Niels was "a boy of good heart but low skills and energy". As
a consequence of his low grades, he was enrolled in his father's old
school, Lærði skólinn , in
Reykjavík in 1876. While studying
there, his grades improved greatly.
STUDIES IN MEDICINE
In 1882, Finsen moved to
Copenhagen to study medicine at the
Copenhagen , from which he graduated in 1890. Following
graduation, he became a prosector of anatomy at the university. After
three years, he quit the post to devote himself fully to his
scientific studies. In 1898 Finsen was given a professorship and in
1899 he became a Knight of the Order of Dannebrog .
The Finsen Institute (da) was founded in 1896, with Finsen serving
as its first director. It was later merged into
Hospital and currently serves as a cancer research laboratory that
specializes in proteolysis .
Finsen suffered from
Niemann–Pick disease , which inspired him to
sunbathe and investigate the effects of light on living things. As a
result, Finsen is best known for his theory of phototherapy , in which
certain wavelengths of light can have beneficial medical effects..
His most notable writings were Finsen Om Lysets Indvirkninger paa
Huden ("On the effects of light on the skin"), published in 1893 and
Om Anvendelse i Medicinen af koncentrerede kemiske Lysstraaler ("The
use of concentrated chemical light rays in medicine"), published in
1896. The papers were rapidly translated and published in both German
and French. In his late work he researched the effects of sodium
chloride , observing the results of a low sodium diet, which he
published in 1904 as En Ophobning af Salt i Organismen ("An
accumulation of salt in the organism").
Finsen won the
Nobel Prize in Physiology in 1903 for his work on
phototherapy. He was the first Scandinavian to win the prize and is
the only Faroese Nobel Laureate to date.
Finsen married Ingeborg Balslev (1868–1963) on December 29, 1892.
Finsen's health began to fail in the mid-1880s. He had symptoms of
heart trouble and suffered from ascites and general weakness. The
sickness disabled his body but not his mind, and he continued to work
from his wheelchair. He died in
Copenhagen on September 24, 1904.
Accounts of his funeral can be found at the National Library of
Finsen Laboratory at
Copenhagen University Hospital is named in
Frederiksberg is also named in his honor and
so way the Finsen Power Station, which was located on its north side.
A large memorial to Finsen designed by
Rudolph Tegner was installed
Copenhagen in 1909. It shows a standing
naked man flanked by two kneeling naked women reaching up to the sky.
The sculpture is entitled Mod lyset (Towards the Light), and
symbolised Finsen's principal scientific theory that sunlight can have
healing properties. It is situated on the corner of
Nørre Allé .
Tórshavn there is also a memorial to Finsen and one of the city's
main streets, Niels Finsens gøta , bears his name.
* ^ "The
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1903".
Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB. 2014. Archived from the original on
* ^ A B C "
Niels Ryberg Finsen
Niels Ryberg Finsen - Biographical". Nobelprize.org.
Nobel Media AB. 2014. Retrieved 2016-11-04.
* ^ "Landfoged". Den Store Danske (in Danish). 2012. Retrieved
* ^ Nielsen, Louis (2002). "Niels Ryberg Finsen: Danmarks første
Nobelpristager" . Rostras Forlag (in Danish). Retrieved 2015-11-08.
* ^ Grzybowski, Andrzej; Pietrzak, Krzysztof (2012). "From patient
Niels Ryberg Finsen
Niels Ryberg Finsen (1860-1904)-the founder of
phototherapy in dermatology" (PDF). Clinics in Dermatology. 30 (4):
451–455. PMID 22855977 . doi :10.1016/j.clindermatol.2011.11.019 .
* ^ "Memoir of Funeral of Niels Ryberg Finsen, and Clippings 1904".
National Library of Medicine.
* ^ "Mod Lyset" .
Copenhagen Municipality (in Danish). Retrieved