Wilhelm His, Sr.
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__NOTOC__ Wilhelm His Sr. (9 July 1831 – 1 May 1904) was a Swiss
anatomist Anatomy () is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organisms and their parts. Anatomy is a branch of natural science that deals with the structural organization of living things. It is an old science, having its ...
and professor who invented the
microtome A microtome (from the Greek ''mikros'', meaning "small", and ''temnein'', meaning "to cut") is a cutting tool used to produce extremely thin slices of material known as ''sections''. Important in science, microtomes are used in microscopy, allow ...
. By treating animal flesh with acids and salts to harden it and then slicing it very thinly with the microtome, scientists were able to further research the organization and function of tissues and cells in a microscope.


Career

His came from a patrician family and studied medicine in
Basel Basel ( , ), also known as Basle ( ),french: Bâle ; it, Basilea ; rm, label=Sutsilvan, Basileia; other rm, Basilea . is a city in northwestern Switzerland on the river High Rhine, Rhine. Basel is Switzerland's List of cities in Switzerland, th ...
,
Berlin Berlin ( , ) is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3.7 million inhabitants make it the European Union's most populous city, according to population within city limits. One of Germany's sixteen constituen ...
(under
Johannes Peter Müller Johannes Peter Müller (14 July 1801 – 28 April 1858) was a German physiologist, comparative anatomy, comparative anatomist, ichthyology, ichthyologist, and herpetology, herpetologist, known not only for his discoveries but also for his ability ...
and Robert Remak),
Würzburg Würzburg (; Main-Franconian: ) is a List of cities and towns in Germany, city in the region of Franconia in the north of the Germany, German state of Bavaria. Würzburg is the administrative seat of the ''Regierungsbezirk'' Lower Franconia. It sp ...
(under
Rudolf Virchow Rudolf Ludwig Carl Virchow (; or ; 13 October 18215 September 1902) was a Germans, German physician, anthropologist, pathologist, prehistorian, biologist, writer, editor, and politician. He is known as "the father of modern pathology" and as th ...
and Albert von Kölliker),
Bern Bern () or Berne; in other Swiss languages, gsw, Bärn ; frp, Bèrna ; it, Berna ; rm, Berna is the ''de facto'' Capital city, capital of Switzerland, referred to as the "federal city" (in german: Bundesstadt, link=no, french: ville fédérale ...
,
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, capital, largest city, and one of States of Austria, nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's List of cities and towns in Austria, most populou ...
and
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,165,423 residents in 2019 in an area of more than 105 km² (41 sq mi), ma ...
. He received a doctorate in 1854, and in 1856 received the
habilitation Habilitation is the highest academic degree, university degree, or the procedure by which it is achieved, in many European countries. The candidate fulfills a university's set criteria of excellence in research, teaching and further education, us ...
(higher doctorate) in Basel. 1857, at the age of 26, he became professor of anatomy and physiology at the
University of Basel The University of Basel (Latin language, Latin: ''Universitas Basiliensis'', German language, German: ''Universität Basel'') is a university in Basel, Switzerland. Founded on 4 April 1460, it is Switzerland's oldest university and among the List ...
. In 1872 he took up a call from
University of Leipzig Leipzig University (german: Universität Leipzig), in Leipzig in Saxony, Germany, is one of the world's oldest University, universities and the List of universities in Germany#Universities by years of existence, second-oldest university (by conse ...
to become professor there. His introduced the word
endothelium The endothelium is a single layer of squamous endothelial cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels. The endothelium forms an interface between circulating blood or lymph in the lumen and the rest of the ve ...
, distinguishing these internal membranes, which had formerly been grouped with
epithelia Epithelium or epithelial tissue is one of the four basic types of animal Tissue (biology), tissue, along with connective tissue, muscle tissue and nervous tissue. It is a thin, continuous, protective layer of compactly packed Cell (biology), ...
, and developing an understanding of their relationship to the
germ layer A germ layer is a primary layer of cell (biology), cells that forms during embryonic development. The three germ layers in vertebrates are particularly pronounced; however, all eumetazoans (animals that are sister taxa to the sponges) produce t ...
s in development. His specifically rejected all forms of soft inheritance (Lamarckism). The passage runs riginal in German "Until it has been refuted, I stand by the statement that characters can not be inherited that were acquired during the lifetime of the individual". The passage comes from his 1874 work ''Unsere Körperform und das physiologische Problem ihrer Entstehung'' (The Form of Our Body and the Physiological Problem of Its Development; Leipzig: Vogel). The historical significance is that it was not until 1883 that
August Weismann August Friedrich Leopold Weismann FRS (For), HonFRSE, LLD (17 January 18345 November 1914) was a German evolutionary biologist Evolutionary biology is the subfield of biology that studies the evolution, evolutionary processes (natural s ...
made a similar declaration. His is also remembered for disputing the veracity of
Ernst Haeckel Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (; 16 February 1834 – 9 August 1919) was a German zoologist, natural history, naturalist, eugenics, eugenicist, philosopher, physician, professor, marine biologist and artist. He discovered, described and ...
's drawings of embryo, which had been used as justification for the development of
recapitulation theory The theory of recapitulation, also called the biogenetic law or embryological parallelism—often expressed using Ernst Haeckel's phrase "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny"—is a historical hypothesis that the embryogenesis, development of the e ...
and for his identification of a germinative zone within the developing vertebrate metencephalon that he later termed the rhombic lip. Between 1879 and 1886 he made groundbreaking studies of the development of the nervous system in a collection of 12 human embryos from 2 to 8.5 weeks development, for example observing the progressive outgrowth of nerves into the fingers. His was elected a member of the
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences ( sv, Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien) is one of the royal academies of Sweden. Founded on 2 June 1739, it is an independent, non-governmental scientific organization that takes special responsibility for prom ...
in 1892. By 1895, Wilhem His, Professor of Anatomy at the University of Leipzig, had published a three-dimensional reconstruction of Bach's face from the skull based on his precise measurements of facial tissue depths of cadaver heads. To begin with, His collected tissue depth data by using a thin needle bearing a small rubber piece that would ride upward on the needle as it was pushed into the tissue of cadavers. The needle was placed at right angles to the bone and pressed into the tissue until its point touched the bone. The displacement of the rubber was measured and recorded for 15 specific locations on 24 male and four female suicide victims along with nine men who died of wasting illnesses.Krogman, Wilton M., The Human Skeleton in Forensic Medicine, Springfield Illinois: Charles C. Thomas, 1962 (p358-359) Wilhelm His Sr. was the father of the physician and cardiologist Wilhelm His Jr.


See also

* Wilhelm His Jr. *
Embryology Embryology (from Ancient Greek, Greek ἔμβρυον, ''embryon'', "the unborn, embryo"; and -λογία, ''-logy, -logia'') is the branch of animal biology that studies the Prenatal development (biology), prenatal development of gametes (sex ...
*
Forensic facial reconstruction Forensic facial reconstruction (or forensic facial approximation) is the process of recreating the face of an individual (whose identity is often not known) from their skeletal remains through an amalgamation of artistry, anthropology, osteolog ...


Notes


References

* * * * *


External links

*
The Embryograph of Wilhelm His
Hartnack's Drawing Apparatus {{DEFAULTSORT:His, Wilhelm Sr. 1831 births 1904 deaths Critics of Lamarckism Members of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Swiss anatomists 19th-century Swiss inventors Swiss physiologists Members of the Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala