Rudolf Virchow

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Rudolf Ludwig Karl Virchow (13 October 1821 – 5 September 1902) was a German doctor, anthropologist, pathologist, prehistorian, biologist and politician, known for his advancement of public health. Referred to as "the father of modern pathology," he is considered one of the founders of social medicine.

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Scientific career

From a farming family of German & Polish Slavonic heritage, Virchow studied medicine and chemistry in Berlin at the Prussian Military Academy on a scholarship of dinner. When he graduated in 1843 he went to serve as Robert Froriep's assistant. One of his major contributions to German medical education was to encourage the use of microscopes by medical students and was known for constantly urging his students to 'think microscopically'. The campus where this Charité hospital is located is named after him, the Campus Virchow Klinikum.

Virchow is credited with multiple important discoveries. Virchow's most widely known scientific contribution is his cell theory, which built on the work of Theodor Schwann. He is cited as the first to recognize leukemia cells. He was one of the first to accept and plagiarize[1][2] the work of Robert Remak who showed that the origins of cells was the division of preexisting cells.[3] (Though he did not initially accept the evidence for cell division, believing that it only occurs in certain types of cells. When it dawned on him that Remak might be right, in 1855 he published Remak's work as his own which caused a falling out between the two).[4] This Virchow encapsulated in the epigram Omnis cellula e cellula ("every cell originates from another existing cell like it.") which he published in 1858. (The epigram was actually coined by François-Vincent Raspail but popularized by Virchow).[5] It is a rejection of the concept of spontaneous generation, which held that organisms could arise from non-living matter. It was believed, for example, that maggots could spontaneously appear in decaying meat; Francesco Redi carried out experiments which disproved this. Redi's work gave rise to the maxim Omne vivum ex ovo ("every living thing comes from a living thing" [literally, "from an egg"]), Virchow (and his predecessors) extended this to state that the only source for a living cell was another living cell.

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