Emil du Bois-Reymond

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Emil du Bois-Reymond

Emil Heinrich du Bois-Reymond (7 November 1818 – 26 December 1896) was a German physician and physiologist, known as a pioneer of experimental electrophysiology.


  • Where and under what form life first appeared, whether at the bottom of the deep sea, as bathybius protoplasm, or whether with the co-operation of the still excessive ultra-violet solar rays, with still higher pressure of carbonic acid in the atmosphere, who can tell?
  • Hardly anyone can now be found to advocate the doctrine of periods of creation by which the Almighty was supposed to have repeatedly destroyed his work to do it over again for better or worse, in the face of geological facts and the theory of descent. The believer in a final cause must admit that such a proceeding is little worthy of a creative Almighty. It is most highly becoming to him once by supernatural interference with the world's mechanism to call the simplest germ of life into being, and let further organic creation proceed from that. If this is conceded, it is permissible to ask if it is not still more worthy of the creative Almighty to avoid even that single intervention by means of established laws, and to endow matter from the beginning with the power of originating life under suitable conditions. There is no reason for denying this view, but with its acceptance the possibility of a mechanical origin of life is conceded, and we have only to consider whether the matter which can thus mechanically compose itself into a living condition always existed, or whether, as Leibnitz thought, it was created by God.

Quotes about Emil du Bois-Reymond[edit]

  • Matteucci demonstrated that an injury current, the "demarcation current," flowed between the cut and intact surface of a muscle or nerve, that this current momentarily disappeared when the muscle contracted, and that a cut nerve could be excited when an underlying muscle twitched (the "induced twitch phenomenon").
    Du Bois-Reymond recognized that Matteucci's findings could be explained by an action current, the "negative Schwankung," which was an oscillation of the demarcation current and which reflects the excitation of the nerve fibers. It was the first intimation of the nerve impulse and it was from this observation of du Bois-Reymond that the all subsquent work on the nerve impulse evolved. The understanding of the nerve impulse would become the most important task—a holy grail, as it were—for later neuroscientists.

External links[edit]

Encyclopedic article on Emil du Bois-Reymond on Wikipedia