Physiologists

Physiologists study the functions of living organisms. Physiology is the science of understanding the mechanical, physical and biochemical functioning in a living system. The organs, organ systems, cells, and bio-chemical molecules that constitute the living organism are analyzed to understand the physical and chemical functions that take place within the organism. The field of physiology is closely related to anatomy and the two sciences are often studied in tandem. Physiologists conduct research on the organ system and cellular structure of animals and plants. They study processes like respiration, growth, movement, digestion, reproduction, excretion and other functions of living organisms under different conditions. They determine the effects of external environmental factors like presence of pollutants and carcinogens on their life processes and functions. Physiologists may work in hospitals and help in the development of new and improved treatment regimes for patients. One very popular job option is that of exercise physiologist. They study how the body responds to training and exercises and help athletes and sports people to follow a scientifically designed food and exercise schedule. Physiologists may specialize in human physiology, animal physiology, plant physiology, or the sub-branches under any of these fields. This section gives you information about the life and works of various famous physiologists from all over the world.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Jared Diamond

Jared Diamond
6
Famous As: Scientist & Author
Birthdate: September 10, 1937
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

 2 Wilhelm Wundt

Wilhelm Wundt
6
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: August 16, 1832
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mannheim, Germany
Died: August 31, 1920

Wilhelm Wundt was a German physiologist, professor, and philosopher. He is often counted among the founders of modern psychology and is widely considered the father of experimental psychology. He is also credited with founding the first laboratory for psychological research, which he founded at the University of Leipzig in 1879.

 3 Theodor Schwann

Theodor Schwann
6
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: December 7, 1810
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Neuss, Germany
Died: January 11, 1882

Theodor Schwann was a German physiologist and physician best remembered for his important contributions to biology. He is credited with discovering the Schwann cells, which is named after him. He is also credited with discovering pepsin and the organic nature of yeast. Theodor Schwann also invented the term metabolism.

 4 Otto Heinrich Warburg

Otto Heinrich Warburg
6
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: October 8, 1883
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
Died: August 1, 1970

Otto Heinrich Warburg was a German medical doctor and physiologist. In 1931, his discovery of the nature of the respiratory enzyme earned him the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He also played an important role during World War I where he served as an officer in the cavalry regiment; he was honored with the Iron Cross for bravery.

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 5 Jessica Meir

Jessica Meir
4
Famous As: NASA astronaut
Birthdate: July 15, 1977
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Caribou, Maine, United States

 6 Johann Friedrich Blumenbach

Johann Friedrich Blumenbach
6
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: May 11, 1752
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gotha, Germany
Died: January 22, 1840

A pioneer of physical anthropology, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach laid down one of the first racial classification systems for humans after studying human skulls, dividing mankind into five racial groups. Born into a family of academics, he was a prodigy. He was against scientific racism, though his theory promoted the degenerative hypothesis.

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 7 Albert Szent-Györgyi

Albert Szent-Györgyi
4
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: September 16, 1893
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Budapest, Austria-Hungary
Died: October 22, 1986

Born in Budapest, Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Albert Szent-Györgyi shot himself in the arm while serving in World War II, so that he could be sent back home, and then studied medicine. While he is remembered for first isolating vitamin C, unknown to many, he was also a skilled pianist.

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 8 Claude Bernard

Claude Bernard
6
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: July 12, 1813
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saint-Julien, France
Died: February 10, 1878

Claude Bernard was a French physiologist whose scientific experiments led to several important discoveries. He is credited with coining the phrase milieu intérieur, which refers to the extracellular fluid (ECF) environment. He also pioneered the use of a blinded experiment to eliminate various experimental biases.

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 9 Andrew Huxley

Andrew Huxley
4
Famous As: Biophysicist
Birthdate: November 22, 1917
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hampstead, London, England
Died: May 30, 2012

Nobel Prize-winning physiologist Andrew Huxley is remembered for his studies on nerves and fibers and the chemical processes related to the transmission of nerve impulses. The grandson of biologist T.H. Huxley and the son of the author Leonard Huxley, he was later also knighted for his achievements.

 10 Jan Baptista van Helmont

Jan Baptista van Helmont
4
Famous As: Belgian scientist
Birthdate: January 12, 1580
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium
Died: December 30, 1644
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 11 Emil Adolf von Behring

Emil Adolf von Behring
6
Famous As: German physiologist
Birthdate: March 15, 1854
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ławice
Died: March 31, 1917

Nobel Prize-winning German physiologist Emil Adolf von Behring is remembered as a pioneer of immunology for his research on serum therapy developed an antitoxin to cure diphtheria. One of the 13 children of his parents, he had studied medicine at a military academy due to lack of funds.

 12 Charles Scott Sherrington

Charles Scott Sherrington
3
Famous As: Neurophysiologist
Birthdate: November 27, 1857
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Islington, London, England
Died: March 4, 1952

Charles Scott Sherrington was an English histologist, neurophysiologist, pathologist, and bacteriologist. In 1932, Sherrington and Edgar Douglas Adrian were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries of the functions of neurons. Charles Scott Sherrington's exposition of synaptic communication between neurons helped understand the central nervous system. He was also the recipient of the prestigious Royal Medal.

 13 Jan Evangelista Purkinje

Jan Evangelista Purkinje
3
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: December 17, 1787
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Libochovice, Bohemia
Died: July 28, 1869

 14 Étienne-Jules Marey

Étienne-Jules Marey
3
Famous As: Former Physiologist, chronophotographer whose work was significant in the development of cardiology, physical instrumentation, aviation, cinematography and the science of laboratory photography
Birthdate: March 5, 1830
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Beaune, France
Died: May 15, 1904
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 15 Nicolae Paulescu

Nicolae Paulescu
3
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: October 30, 1869
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bucharest, Romania
Died: July 17, 1931

 16 David H. Hubel

David H. Hubel
3
Famous As: Neurophysiologist
Birthdate: February 27, 1926
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Windsor, Canada
Died: September 22, 2013
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 17 Sir John Eccles

Sir John Eccles
3
Famous As: Neurophysiologist
Birthdate: January 27, 1903
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia
Died: May 2, 1997

Sir John Eccles was a philosopher and neurophysiologist whose services to physiological research earned him the title of Knight Bachelor in 1958. His work on the synapse earned him the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shared with Alan Lloyd Hodgkin and Andrew Huxley in 1963. The same year, he also received the Australian of the Year Award.

 18 David Julius

David Julius
3
Famous As: Physiologist and and Nobel Prize laureate known for his work on molecular mechanisms of pain
Birthdate: November 4, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

 19 Johannes Peter Müller

Johannes Peter Müller
3
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: July 14, 1801
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Koblenz, Germany
Died: April 28, 1858

Johannes Peter Müller was a German physiologist, ichthyologist, herpetologist, and comparative anatomist. Known for his discoveries and his capability to synthesize knowledge, Müller made important contributions to the field of physiology. He also mentored physiologists and scientists like Hermann von Helmholtz, Theodor Schwann, Emil du Bois-Reymond, Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle, Ernst Haeckel, and Ernst Wilhelm Brücke.

 20 Walter Bradford Cannon

Walter Bradford Cannon
3
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: October 19, 1871
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, United States
Died: October 1, 1945

 21 Arthur Guyton

Arthur Guyton
3
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: September 8, 1919
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Oxford, Mississippi, United States
Died: April 3, 2003

 22 Brian Kobilka

Brian Kobilka
3
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: May 30, 1955
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Little Falls, Minnesota, United States
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 23 John Scott Haldane

John Scott Haldane
3
Famous As: Former Physician, Physiologist known for Black Veil Respirator, Haldane effect in haemoglobin
Birthdate: May 2, 1860
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Died: March 14, 1936

Copley Medal-winning Scottish physiologist John Scott Haldane is best remembered for his research on the physiology of respiration. He also contributed significantly to mine safety regulations and developed a method to help deep-sea divers. It is believed, he would often lock himself in sealed rooms, inhaling gases, to observe their effects on him.

 24 Henry Hallett Dale

Henry Hallett Dale
3
Famous As: Physiologist & Pharmacologist
Birthdate: June 9, 1875
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England
Died: July 23, 1968

 25 Archibald Hill

Archibald Hill
3
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: September 26, 1886
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bristol, England
Died: June 3, 1977

Nobel Prize-winning physiologist and biophysicist Archibald Hill is best remembered for his research on muscular heat production. The Cambridge alumnus also taught physiology at Manchester University and UCL, and was a research professor at the Royal Society. He was married to the sister of economist John Maynard Keynes.

 26 Charles Best

Charles Best
3
Famous As: Co-discoverer of Insulin
Birthdate: February 27, 1899
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: West Pembroke, Pembroke, Maine, United States
Died: March 31, 1978

Charles Best made history with his discovery of insulin, along with Sir Frederick Banting, thus paving the path for its use as a treatment for diabetes. He, however, failed to get the 1923 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, like Banting, as he didn’t receive his medical degree till 1925.

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 27 Charles Richet

Charles Richet
3
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: August 25, 1850
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 4, 1935

Charles Richet was a French physiologist remembered for his pioneering work in immunology. He is acclaimed for his work on anaphylaxis, which earned him the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1913. He was also interested in the study of the paranormal. A proponent of eugenics, Richet was in charge of the French Eugenics Society for six years.

 28 John James Rickard Macleod

John James Rickard Macleod
3
Famous As: Biochemist & Physiologist
Birthdate: September 6, 1876
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Clunie, Perthshire, Scotland
Died: March 16, 1935

John James Rickard Macleod was a Scottish biochemist and physiologist. Even though his research covered diverse topics in physiology and biochemistry, he is best remembered for his work in carbohydrate metabolism. He played a major role in the discovery and isolation of insulin, for which he shared the 1923 Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine with Frederick Banting.  

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 29 Jean Léonard Marie Poiseuille

Jean Léonard Marie Poiseuille
3
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: April 22, 1797
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 26, 1869

 30 Bernardo Houssay

Bernardo Houssay
3
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: April 10, 1887
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died: September 21, 1971

Bernardo Houssay was an Argentine physiologist best remembered for winning the 1947 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine and becoming the first Argentine Nobel Prize winner in the field of sciences. Bernardo Houssay won the award for discovering the role of the pituitary hormones in regulating the amount of glucose in animals. 

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 31 Ernest Starling

Ernest Starling
3
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: April 17, 1866
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 2, 1927

British physiologist Ernest Starling is best known for establishing the Starling’s hypothesis, which explained the fluid balance between tissues and vessels. A physiology professor at UCL, he later laid down the Law of the Heart and also worked on poisonous gases during World War I. He was, however, shunned by the Nobel Committee.

 32 E. Morton Jellinek

E. Morton Jellinek
3
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: August 15, 1890
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: October 22, 1963
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 33 Santorio Santorio

Santorio Santorio
3
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: March 29, 1561
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Koper, Slovenia
Died: February 22, 1636

 34 Albert von Kölliker

Albert von Kölliker
3
Famous As: Anatomist
Birthdate: July 6, 1817
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Zürich, Switzerland
Died: November 2, 1905
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 35 Charles-Édouard Brown-Séquard

Charles-Édouard Brown-Séquard
3
Famous As: Neurologist
Birthdate: April 8, 1817
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Port Louis, Mauritius
Died: April 2, 1894

 36 Nehemiah Grew

Nehemiah Grew
3
Famous As: Medico
Birthdate: September 26, 1641
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mancetter Parish, Warwickshire
Died: March 25, 1712

English botanist Nehemiah Grew is considered a pioneer of plant anatomy, along with Italian biologist and physician Marcello Malpighi. Initially a physician, he later penned iconic books on botany, such as The Anatomy of Plants. He also made pioneering studies in finger-print patterns. A genus of trees has been named after him.

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 37 Emil Heinrich Du Bois-Reymond

Emil Heinrich Du Bois-Reymond
2
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: November 7, 1818
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: December 26, 1896

 38 Robert Remak

Robert Remak
3
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: July 26, 1815
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Poznań, Poland
Died: August 29, 1865

German embryologist and neurologist Robert Remak is known for pathbreaking scientific feats such as the discovery of the Remak’s ganglia and the use of electrotherapy to treat nervous ailments. He also named the three layers of the embryo, the ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm. His Jewish origin deprived him from valid recognition.

 39 Roger Guillemin

Roger Guillemin
2
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: January 11, 1924
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dijon, France

 40 Wilhelm Ludvig Johannsen

Wilhelm Ludvig Johannsen
2
Famous As: Botanist
Birthdate: February 3, 1857
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: November 11, 1927

 41 Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg

Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg
4
Famous As: Naturalist
Birthdate: April 19, 1795
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Delitzsch, Germany
Died: June 27, 1876

 42 Albrecht von Haller

Albrecht von Haller
2
Famous As: Anatomist
Birthdate: October 16, 1708
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bern
Died: December 12, 1777

Swiss biologist Albrecht von Haller, who is hailed as the father of experimental physiology, grew up as a sickly child and thus often avoided sports and mastered Greek, Hebrew, and the Bible instead. Associated with the University of Göttingen, he later penned Physiological Elements of the Human Body, which revolutionized medical science.

 43 Carl Gustav Carus

Carl Gustav Carus
4
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: January 3, 1789
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Leipzig, Germany
Died: July 28, 1869

 44 Nathaniel Kleitman

Nathaniel Kleitman
4
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: April 26, 1895
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Moldova
Died: August 13, 1999

 45 Sir Patrick Manson

Sir Patrick Manson
2
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: October 3, 1844
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Died: April 9, 1922

Best remembered as the founder of the domain of tropical medicine, parasitologist Sir Patrick Manson also had a degree in law. He practiced medicine in places such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China and was the man behind the formation of the University of Hong Kong. He was later knighted, too.

 46 Franciscus Sylvius

Franciscus Sylvius
2
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: March 15, 1614
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hanau, Germany
Died: November 19, 1672

Franciscus Sylvius was a Dutch scientist and physician. He is credited with establishing the first academic chemical laboratory in 1669. He is also credited with founding the Iatrochemical School of Medicine. Many of Franciscus Sylvius' students like Reinier de Graaf, Jan Swammerdam, and Niels Stensen went on to become notable personalities in their respective fields.

 47 Ulf von Euler

Ulf von Euler
2
Famous As: Physiologist and Pharmacologist
Birthdate: February 7, 1905
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
Died: March 9, 1983

Noted Swedish physiologist and pharmacologist Ulf von Euler was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology (1970) for his work on discovery of neurotransmitters. A full Professor of Physiology at Karolinska Institute for over three decades, he also received the Gairdner prize, became a Foreign Member of the Royal Society and a founding member of the World Cultural Council.

 48 Charles Brenton Huggins

Charles Brenton Huggins
2
Famous As: Physician & Physiologist
Birthdate: September 22, 1901
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Halifax Regional Municipality, Canada
Died: January 12, 1997

Canadian-American surgeon and urologist Charles Brenton Huggins is remembered for his pathbreaking research on how some hormones are related to cancer, which eventually won him the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. His studies paved the way for the cure of cancer, specifically prostate cancer and breast cancer.

 49 Paul Bert

Paul Bert
2
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: October 19, 1833
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Auxerre, France
Died: November 11, 1886

 50 Richard Keynes

Richard Keynes
2
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: August 14, 1919
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: England
Died: June 12, 2010

Richard Keynes was a British physiologist best remembered for editing his great-grandfather Charles Darwin's accounts and illustrations of his popular voyage aboard HMS Beagle. Richard Keynes' work, which earned praises from The New York Times Book Review and The New York Review of Books, has proved to be influential.