Theodor Schwann Biography
Birthday: December 7, 1810 (Sagittarius)
Born In: Neuss, Germany
Theodor Schwann was a German physiologist who made major contributions to the development of cell theory and discovered the Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system. He is also credited to have coined the term metabolism. The son of a goldsmith, he studied at the Jesuits’ College at Cologne before attending the University of Bonn and then the University of Würzburg. After graduating with a medical degree from the University of Berlin, he began working under the prominent physiologist Johannes Peter Muller. The young man was greatly influenced by Muller who was at that time preparing his seminal book on physiology. Schwann helped his mentor in research work and made significant discoveries regarding the nervous and muscular tissues. Eventually Schwann embarked on an academic career and accepted an appointment as professor of anatomy at the Catholic University of Leuven where he continued his research. Over the course of his work he examined the question of spontaneous generation and became one of the first individuals to contribute to the germ theory of alcoholic fermentation. His contribution to the understanding and classification of adult animal tissues was also noteworthy. During his later years he became increasingly concerned with theological issues.