Rudolphi,Carl Asmund (1771-1832)

This post was written by ali on January 21, 2009
Posted Under: World Parasitologists
Rudolphi,Carl Asmund   (1771-1832)
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Field of study: Taxonomy
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He lived from 14 July 1771 till 29 November 1832.

He was a swedish born naturalist who is nice to call him the father of Helminthology.

Rudolphi was born in Stockholm to German parents. He was awarded his doctorate in 1795, from the University of Greifswald, where he was appointed Professor of Anatomy. He worked widely across the fields of botany, zoology, anatomy and physiology. He investigated the anatomy of nerves, carried out studies of plant growth and was an early champion of the view that the cell is the basic structural unit of plants. In 1804, Karl Rudolphi, along with D.H.F. Link were awarded the prize for “solving the problem of the nature of cells” by the Königliche Societät der Wissenschaft (Royal Society of Science), Göttingen, for proving that cells had independent rather than common walls.
His first great publication was a study of parasitic worms, the Enterozoorum Sive Vermium Intestinalium Historia Naturalis. This is the first publication to describe the Nematoda. His second, the “Synopsis cui accedunt mantissima duplex et indices locupletissima” was the first work to detail the life cycle of important nematode parasites of humans, such as Ascaris lumbricoides.

In 1810 he was appointed Professor of Anatomy and Physiology at the University of Berlin, a position he held until his death. He served two terms as rector of the University, and founded the Berlin Zoological Museum.

In 1821, Rudolphi published his “Grundriss der Physiologie”, where he argued that the human genus should be divided into species, not into races. His work is therefore at the root of “scientific” racism in German and Scandinavian countries, well before the Nazi period.



Rudolphi died in Berlin in 1832, and was succeeded in his position at the University of Berlin by his greatest student, Johannes Muller. Rudolphi is remembered in numerous species names such as the Sei whale, known in older literature as Rudolphi’s Whale. He is also commemorated by the German Parasitological Society, who award the Rudolphi Medal for scientific excellence.

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