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Alfred Wilhelm Volkmann

Alfred Wilhelm Volkmann

Alfred Wilhelm Volkmann (1 July 180121 April 1877) was a German physiologist, anatomist, and philosopher. He studied in Leipzig from 1821 and in 1826 he obtained his doctorate. In 1828 he was habilitated as Privatdozent at the University of Leipzig. It was there that he became professor extraordinary of zootomy in 1834. In 1837 he went to Dorpat as professor of physiology, pathology and semiotics. However, his residence in Dorpat was short: he left for Halle as early as 1843. In 1854 Volkmann assumed as well the teaching of anatomy, until 1872, when physiology was branched off and given to Julius Bernstein. In 1872, after his fiftieth doctoral jubilee he retired completely from his university activities.

Today, he is most remembered for his additions to the physiology of the nervous system and physiological optics. In 1842 he demonstrated that sympathetic nerves were largely made up of medullated fibres arising from sympathetic and spinal ganglia. However, he also delineated and identified numerous features of gross anatomy, including Volkmann's Channels. Additionally, Volkmann was an evangelical who opposed materialism and gave a number of speeches against the materialist assumption of identity between the body and mind.

Richard von Volkmann, his son, became a distinguished surgeon.

References

  • B.G. Firkin & J.A.Whitworth (1987). Dictionary of Medical Eponyms. Parthenon Publishing. ISBN 1-85070-333-7

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