Rudolf virchow and the cell theory

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rudolf virchow and the cell theory

Rudolf Virchow Quotes (Author of Cellular Pathology)

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Rudolf Carl Virchow (1821-1902)

Skip navigation. Rudolf Carl Virchow lived in nineteenth century Prussia, now Germany, and proposed that omnis cellula e cellula , which translates to each cell comes from another cell, and which became a fundamental concept for cell theory. He helped found two fields, cellular pathology and comparative pathology, and he contributed to many others. Ultimately Virchow argued that disease is caused by changes in normal cells, also known as cellular pathology. Virchow was born in Schivelbein, a small town in rural Pomerania in Prussia on 13 October His academic prowess earned him a military scholarship to the Prussian Military Academy in to study medicine at the Friedrich-Wilhelms Institut in Berlin, Germany. He spoke at the Friedrich-Wilhelms Institut twice in , and in his speeches Virchow addressed his vision of medical progress: clinical observation, animal experimentation, and pathological anatomy.

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He pioneered the modern concept of pathological processes by his application of the cell theory to explain the effects of disease in the organs and tissues of the body. He emphasized that diseases arose, not in organs or tissues in general, but primarily in their individual cells.
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Virchow was born in Poland, and despite humble beginnings from a working class family, he excelled at school, becoming fluent in six languages. Virchow gave up his original plan of theology partly on account of his weak voice which he felt would prevent him being heard from the pulpit, and partly, it would seem, because he was agnostic. After graduating from Friedrich-Wilhelms University in Berlin in , his major work was in pathology, becoming its professor in Pathological Anatomy and Physiology in He developed an interest in microscopy. His first scientific paper was two years after graduating, on the pathological description of leukaemia, a term he invented. Not all of his work was correct, however. He also proposed that cancer spreads around the body by the spread of the irritation in liquid form.

He is known as "the father of modern pathology " and as the founder of social medicine , and to his colleagues, the "Pope of medicine". He was a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and was elected to the Prussian Academy of Sciences , but he declined to be ennobled as "von Virchow". From it, he coined a well known aphorism: "Medicine is a social science, and politics is nothing else but medicine on a large scale". He then published a newspaper Die medicinische Reform Medical Reform. He cofounded the political party Deutsche Fortschrittspartei , and was elected to the Prussian House of Representatives and won a seat in the Reichstag.


  1. Segundino C. says:

    Rudolf Ludwig Carl Virchow was a German physician, anthropologist, . His most widely known scientific contribution is his cell theory, which built on the work of Theodor Schwann. He was one of the first to accept.

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