Virchow, Rudolf (Carl)

Virchow, Rudolf (Carl)

biographical name

(born Oct. 13, 1821, Schivelbein, Pomerania, Prussia—died Sept. 5, 1902, Berlin) German pathologist, anthropologist, and statesman. In 1847 he cofounded the pathology journal now named for him (Virchows Archiv). He held the first chairs of pathological anatomy at the Universities of Würzburg (1849–56) and Berlin (1856–1902). In 1861 he was elected to the Prussian Diet and founded the Progressive Party. He coined the terms thrombosis and embolism while disproving the theory that phlebitis causes most diseases. His work supported emerging ideas on cell division and metabolism, pointing out that cell division accounted for the multiplication of cells to form tissues. His rejection of the theory that bacteria cause disease and of Ignaz Semmelweis's advocacy of antisepsis delayed the use of antiseptics. Virchow also founded two anthropological societies and accompanied Heinrich Schliemann to Troy (1879) and Egypt (1888).

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