Johannes Müller, Physiologist (1801–1858): a Eulogy

delivered in the Hall of the University of Berlin by Professor Rudolph Virchow


Nearly three months have passed since that spring morning when the shattering news of Johannes Müller’s sudden death spread throughout Berlin. Since th new buds have burst forth, new life has unfolded, and fresh activity has pressed in us from every side — but on no single day have we been able to forget the memory of that dead man, whose body we have returned to the bosom of mother-earth.


Comparative Anatomy Memorial Address Comparative Physiology Catholic Priest Philosophical Method 
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    Goethe: “Campaign in France”. ‘Complete Works’, 1840. vol. 25, p. 146. Thiers: “French Revolution” vol. 1., chap. 6; vol. 2., chap. 1, 2. “It was at Trier, at Koblenz that the (French) émigrés had been received and organised; it was from there that their phalanxes were charged with humiliating, defaming and dismembering France. France, instead of being vanquished, was victorious. It profited from it, not by returning the evil which people had tried to inflict on her, but to indemnify itself for the war which had been declared on it by exacting a true border — the Rhine frontier”. — (vol. ix, chapter 6.)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Müller himself indicates this: — “The Germans can say proudly that Kielmeyer was the first who understood Comparative Anatomy from this, its innermost aspect. He who brought it into life also gave to it this intellectual aim. Cuvier afterwards traced the corporeal metamorphoses of the different organs throughout the whole animal kingdom.” — “On the Comparative Physiology of Vision”. Leipzig, 1826, p. 29.Google Scholar
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    J. Müller „On the imagination images“ / Phantastische Gesichtserscheinungen. Coblentz, 1826, p 45.Google Scholar
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    Ibid. p 20.Google Scholar
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    Joh. Müller, On the development of the ova in the ovary of the Phasmids, and a newly discovered connection of the dorsal vessel with the ovaries in insects. /Über die Entwicklung der Eier im Eierstock bei den Gespenstheuschrecken und eine neuentdeckte Verbindung des Rückengefässes mit den Eierstöcken bei den Insecten. Mit 6 Kupfertaf.With six engravings. Nov. Act. Acad. Car. Leop. Nat. Cur.Vol. xii., p. 2.Google Scholar
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    Müller “On the Comparative Physiology of Vision” / Zur vergleich. Physiologie des Gesichtssinnes, p 18.Google Scholar
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    Ibid. p 34.Google Scholar
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    “On Imagination Images”. Foreword / Phantastische Gesichtserscheinungen.Vorwort / p iii.Google Scholar
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    In the year 1828 Müller had an opportunity of conversing on this subject with Goethe who was himself very interested in it.The latter had the ability to summon up subjective images of an arbitrarily chosen theme with eyes closed, which Müller could not do.To this, he (Goethe) made the somewhat strangely stylized remark: “A difference between two natures, the one possessing the greater poetic power of formulation, the other being directed to the investigation of what is real and what is what is actually happening in nature. “Handbook of Physiology” 4th edn, vol 2 p 567.Google Scholar
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    “Handbook of Human Physiology”, 4th edn, Coblenz, 1844, vol I, p 561. His method of experimenting on frogs.Google Scholar
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    “On the compensation of strengths in the human vocal organ” / Ueber die Compensation der Kräfte am menschlichen Stimmorgan Berlin, 1839. “Handbook of Human physiology” II, p 149f Ueber die bisher unbekannten typischen Verschiedenheiten der Stimmorgane der Passerinen / On the hitherto unknown typical differences of the vocal organs of passerines. Abhand. d. Berlin Acad. 1845–46. [See also Physiology. Baly’s Trans., vol. ii, p. 1002. ]Google Scholar
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    Poggendorf’s Annalen. 1832, Aug. — Also Philos. Transact., 1833, p 1, and Abhand, der Berlin Academie, 1839.Google Scholar
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    Joh. Müller, “On the Innermost Structure of Filtering Neck-glands and their First Formation in Humana and Animals”, Leipzig 1830 / De Glandularum secernentium structura penitiori earumque prima formatione in homine atque animalibus. Leipzig, 1830.Google Scholar
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    Joh. Müller, History of the formation of the genitalia from anatomical investigations in human and animal embryos, together with an appendix on the surgical treatment of hypospadia / Bildungsgeschichte der Genitalien aus anatomischen Untersuchungen an Embryonen des Menschen und der Thiere, nebst einem Anhange über die Chirurgische Behandlung der Hypospadie. Düsseldorf, 1830.With four plates.Google Scholar
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    J. Müller, On the organic nerves of erectile male sex organs in humans and mammals / Ueber die organischen Nerven der erectilen männlichen Geschlechtsorgane des Menschen und der Säugethiere. Three plates. Berlin, 1836.Google Scholar
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    J. Müller, On two different types in the construction of erectile male sex organs in ostrich-type birds and on the developmental forms of these organs amongst vertebrate in general / Ueber zwei verschiedene Typen in dem Bau der erectilen männlichen Geschlechstorgane bei den straussenartigen Vögeln und über die Entwickelungsformen dieser Organe unter den Wirbelthieren überhaupt. Three plates. Berlin, 1838.Google Scholar
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    Müller’s Archiv. 1835.Google Scholar
  29. 36.
    Louis Blanc, “History of the Decade 1830–1840”.Translated by Buhl. Berlin 1844, vol III, p 160.Google Scholar
  30. 37.
    Memorial Address / Gedächtnissrede. p 18.Google Scholar
  31. 39.
    John Fr. Meckel (“System of Comparative Anatomy” Halle, 1821, vol I p 8, 14, 350) had explained very perceptively and wide-rangingly the laws of diversity and reduction. On the other hand he remained — in his essence — in accord with the opinions of the natural philosophers: — that there is a possibility of tracing back the diversities of form to certain invariable fundamental Types, whence it followed that each of the higher animals must have successively passed through the developmental forms of those lower in the scale of existence. This bold cosmogonistic thought had already been opposed by Müller in the fundamental point of his Inaugural Dissertation, “The ladder of animals does not exist” (Non datur Scala Animalium). Moreover, he later rejected in his remarks on Rudolphi: — “The idea that man passes through the other lower types of animals in the course of his development was objectionable to him (Rudolphi) and therein he was correct.” (Memorial Address, p 18). It was only by the experience of the alternation of generations that analogous thoughts were evoked in Müller. (cf p 36).Google Scholar
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    J Müller. Comparative Anatomy of the Myxinoids of Cyclostomas with perforated Palate / Vergleichende Anatomie der Myxinoiden, der Cyclostomen mit durchbohrtem Gaumen. — I. Osteologie und Myologie. (Abh. der Acad. von 1834). Berlin, 1835. — II. On the peculiar construction of the auditory organ in Cyclostomas, with remarks on the unequal formation of the organs of sense of Myxoides / Ueber den eigenthümlichen Bau des Gehörsorgans bei den Cyclostomen, mit Bemerkungen über die ungleiche Ausbildung der Sinnesorgane bei den Myxinoiden. (Abh. 1836) Berlin, 1838. — III. Comparative neurology of the Myxinoids / Vergleichende Neurologic der Myxinoiden. (Abh. of 1838), Berlin, 1840. — IV.Vascular System / Gefäss-System. (Abh. 1839 and 1841), Berlin, 1841.Google Scholar
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    J. Müller On the construction and life appearances of Branchiostoma lubricum Costa, Amphioxus lanceolatus Yarrel / Ueber den Bau und die Lebenserscheinungen von Branchiostoma lubricum Costa, Amphioxus lanceolatus Yarrel (Abh. of 1841) Berlin, 1844.Google Scholar
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    J. Müller On the smooth shark of Aristotle and on the differences among sharks and (sting)rays in the development of the egg / Ueber den glatten Hai des Aristoteles und über die Verschiedenheiten unter den Haifischen und Rochen in der Entwickelung des Eies. (Abh. of 1839–40). Berlin, 1842.Google Scholar
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  36. 49.
    J. Müller und J. Henle. Systematic description of Plagiostomas / Systematische Beschreibung der Plagiostomen. Berlin, 1838–41.Google Scholar
  37. 50.
    J. Müller On the structure and limits of Ganoids and on the natural classification of fishes / Ueber den Bau und die Grenzen der Ganoiden und über das natürliche Systeme der Fische. (Acad. Abhand 1844). Berlin, 1846.Google Scholar
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    Müller’s Archiv. 1836. p 176.Google Scholar
  39. 52.
    Joh. Müller Address for the ceremony of the Forty-Second Foundation Celebration of the Royal Medical-Surgical Friedrich Wilhelm Institute, Berlin / Rede zur Feier des 42. K. Med. Chir. Friedrich-Wilhelms-Institut. Berlin, 1836.Google Scholar
  40. 53.
    Joh. Müller On the detailed structure and forms of disease-causing tumours. First part. / Ueber den feineren Bau und die Formen der Krankhaften Geschwülste. Erste Lieferung. Berlin, 1838.Google Scholar
  41. 57.
    F. Miesher. On the inflammation of bones and their general anatomy. Added are observations on the canalicular corpuscles of the bones and on the manner, in which matrix matter is contained in them, by Johannes Müller, Berlin 1836.Google Scholar
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    J. Müller. On the Pentacrinus caput medusae / Ueber den Pentacrinus Caput Medusae. (Acad. Abh. 1840–41), Berlin 1843.Google Scholar
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    J. Müller und F.H. Troschel. System of the Asterides / System der Asteriden. Braunschweig, 1842.Google Scholar
  44. 61.
    J. Müller et L. Agassiz. Note on the vertebrate of living and fossil sharks / Note sur les vertèbres de squales vivans (sic) et fossiles. Neuchâtel, 1834. — Müller, On the foot bones of the fossil armadillo Glyptodon clavipes / Ueber die Fussknochen des fossilen Gürtelthieres, Glyptodon clavipes Owen / Akad Abh. 1847. — Fossilised fish collected during Middendorf’s Siberian Journey / Fossile Fische gesammelt auf Middendorf’s sibirischer Reise. Leipzig, 1848. — On the fossil remains of Zeuglodonts of North America with reference to the European remnants of this Family / Ueber die fossilen Reste der Zeuglodonten von Nord-America mit Rücksicht auf die europäischen Reste dieser Familie. Berlin, 1849. — On new Echinoderms of the Eifel chalk hills / Ueber neue Echinodermen des Eifeler Kalkes. Akad Abh. 1856. On some Echinoderms of the Rhenish grey stone and the Eifel chalk / Ueber einige Echinodermen der Rheinischen Grauwacke und des Eifeler Kalkes. Akad. Monatsbericht März, 1858.Google Scholar
  45. 63.
    Joh. Müller. On the larvae and the metamorphosis of the Ophiurs and Sea Cucumbers / Ueber die Larven und die Metamorphose der Ophiuren und Seeigel. (Akad Abh. 1846). Berlin, 1848. Zweite Abtheil. / Second part, Berlin, 1849. — On the general plan in the development of the Echinoderms / Ueber den allgemeinen Plan in der Entwickelung der Echinodermen. (Akad. Abh. 1852). Berlin, 1853. On the structure of the Echinoderms / Ueber den Bau der Echinodermen. (Akad. Abh. 1853). Berlin, 1854.Google Scholar
  46. 64.
    J. Müller. On the creation of snails in Holothurias / Ueber die Erzeugung von Schnecken in Holothurien. / Archiv. f. Anat. Phys. u.Wiss. Med. 1852.Google Scholar
  47. 65.
    Ibid. p 27Google Scholar

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