Book ID: CBB001551513

Emil du Bois-Reymond: Neuroscience, Self, and Society in Nineteenth-Century Germany (2013)


Finkelstein, Gabriel Ward (Author)

The MIT Press

Publication Date: 2013
Physical Details: xviii + 362 pp.; ill.
Language: English

Emil du Bois-Reymond is the most important forgotten intellectual of the nineteenth century. In his own time (1818--1896) du Bois-Reymond grew famous in his native Germany and beyond for his groundbreaking research in neuroscience and his provocative addresses on politics and culture. This biography by Gabriel Finkelstein draws on personal papers, published writings, and contemporary responses to tell the story of a major scientific figure. Du Bois-Reymond's discovery of the electrical transmission of nerve signals, his innovations in laboratory instrumentation, and his reductionist methodology all helped lay the foundations of modern neuroscience. In addition to describing the pioneering experiments that earned du Bois-Reymond a seat in the Prussian Academy of Sciences and a professorship at the University of Berlin, Finkelstein recounts du Bois-Reymond's family origins, private life, public service, and lasting influence. Du Bois-Reymond's public lectures made him a celebrity. In talks that touched on science, philosophy, history, and literature, he introduced Darwin to German students (triggering two days of debate in the Prussian parliament); asked, on the eve of the Franco-Prussian War, whether France had forfeited its right to exist; and proclaimed the mystery of consciousness, heralding the age of doubt. The first modern biography of du Bois-Reymond in any language, this book recovers an important chapter in the history of science, the history of ideas, and the history of Germany.

Reviewed By

Review Echterhölter, Anna (2015) Review of "Emil du Bois-Reymond: Neuroscience, Self, and Society in Nineteenth-Century Germany". Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences (pp. 467-468). unapi

Review Guenther, Katja (2015) Review of "Emil du Bois-Reymond: Neuroscience, Self, and Society in Nineteenth-Century Germany". Journal of the History of the Neurosciences (pp. 205-207). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Finkelstein, Gabriel W.
Dierig, Sven
Paretti, Germana
De Palma, Armando
Wegener, Daan
Knobloch, Eberhard
Journal of the History of the Neurosciences
Technikgeschichte: Beiträge zur Geschichte der Technik und Industrie
British Journal for the History of Science
Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences
Wallstein Verlag
MIT Press
The MIT Press
University of California, Berkeley
Science and society
Science and technology, relationships
Science and politics
Du Bois-Reymond, Emil Heinrich
Helmholtz, Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von
Ludwig, Carl Friedrich Wilhelm
Adrian, Edgar Douglas
Zöllner, Johann Karl Friedrich
Dühring, Eugen
Berlin (Germany)
Leipzig (Germany)
Paris (France)
19th century
18th century
20th century
20th century, early
Prussian Academy of Sciences
Kingdom of Italy (1861-1946)

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