- Johannes Peter Müller
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July 14, 1801
April 28, 1858
Johannes Peter Müller (
July 14, 1801– April 28, 1858), was a German physiologist, comparative anatomist, and ichthyologist not only known for his discoveries but also for his ability to synthesize knowledge.
Müller was born in
In 1819 he entered
Bonn University, where he became " Privatdozent" in 1824, extraordinary professor of physiology in 1826, and ordinary professor in 1830. In 1833 he went to the Humboldt University of Berlin, where he filled the chair of anatomy and physiology until his death. Müller made contributions in numerous domains of physiology, in particular increasing understanding of the voice, speech and hearing, as well as the chemical and physical properties of lymph, chyleand blood.
The appearance of his "Handbuch der Physiologie des Menschen" between 1833 and 1840 (translated into English by Dr
William Baly, and published in London in 1842) marked the beginning of a new period in the study of physiology. In it, for the first time, the results of human and comparative anatomy, as well as of chemistryand other departments of physical science, were brought to bear on the investigation of physiological problems.
The most important portion of the work was that dealing with nervous action and the mechanism of the senses. Here he stated the principle, not before recognized, that the kind of sensation following stimulation of a sensory nerve does not depend on the mode of stimulation but upon the nature of the sense-organ. Thus light, pressure, or mechanical stimulation acting on the retina and optic nerve invariably produces luminous impressions. This he termed the law of specific energies of the sense. In the later part of his life he chiefly devoted himself to comparative anatomy. Fishes and marine invertebrata were his favorite subjects. Müller mentored such distinguished scientists and physiologists as
Hermann von Helmholtz, Emil du Bois-Reymond, Theodor Schwann, Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle, Carl Ludwigand Ernst Haeckel.
Müller died in Berlin in 1858.
In addition to his "Handbuch der Physiologie", his publications include:
*"Zur vergleichenden Physiologie des Gesichtssinns" (1826)
*"Uber die phantastischen Gesichtserscheinungen" (1826)
*"Bildungsgeschichte der Genitalien" (1830), in which he traced the development of the
*"De glandularum secerneniium structura" (1830)
*"Vergleichende Anatomie der Myxinoiden" (1834-1843)
*"Systematische Beschreibung der Plagiostomen" (1841) with FGJ Henle
*"System der Asteriden" (1842) with F. H. Troschel
*"Horae ichthyologicae" (1845-1849) with the same.
After the death of
J. F. Meckel(1781-1833) he edited the "Archiv fur Anatomie und Physiologie".
* [http://vlp.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/people/data?id=per120 Short biography and bibliography] in the
Virtual Laboratoryof the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
* [http://vlp.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/concepts/browse?source=M%C3%BCller Müller's Handbuch der Physiologie des Menschen für Vorlesungen] (1837 - 1840) as fullscan from the original
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