A Young Physiologist, 1890

Rudolf Höber, page from microorganism notebook, c. 1890

Drawings of Hydra viridis and Podocoryne carnea by Rudolf Höber, age 17. [Click image to view full size.]

Rudolf Höber (1873-1953) was a prominent physiologist who conducted pioneering research into the electro-chemical properties of cell membranes. As an instructor at the University of Zurich, later a professor at the University of Kiel and head of the Physiological Institute there, and finally as a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, he introduced many young doctors to the science of physiology.

Rudolf already became interested in biological science as a child, and started the serious study of microorganisms as a teenager. His notebook contains 83 meticulously detailed drawings of amoebae, paramecia, hydrae and the like.  This notebook is a beautiful art object as well as a record of his studies. The image above is of one double page of that notebook, which Rudolf drew at the age of about seventeen.

Rudolf Höber's Notebook, "Die Niederen Tiere" (The Lower Animals), ca. 1890

Rudolf Höber, 1890, about the time he made his drawings of microorganisms

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One Comment on “A Young Physiologist, 1890”

  1. Patrick Hennessy says:

    This is a great example of he inter-relatedness of artistic endeavor and applied science. I was thinking of Lucretius’ De rerum natura (The Nature of Things), as it was a considerable influence on the Augustan poets (most notably Virgil and Horace), and later the postulations of atomism by Pierre Gassendi. The illustrations foster advances in other enterprise.
    More to the point, Rudolf produced beautiful illustrations in meticulous detail.

    Really nice.


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