Robert Koch (birth name Heinrich Hermann Robert Koch) was born on December 11, 1843 in Clausthal, Germany and died on May 27, 1910. He was a great physician and he gained his fame after isolating Bacillus anthracis, the tuberculosis bacillus and the cholera vibrio.
Biography and Career :
His father was a mining official. He attended the University of Gottingen and his teacher was Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle. He graduated and went in the Franco-Prussian War. He was named district medical officer in Wollstein.
Being one of the founders of bacteriology he received the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 1905. He started studying anthrax after Casimir Davaine proved the direct transmission of the anthrax bacillus between cows and succeeded to come up with methods to pur
ify the bacillus from blood samples and grow pure cultures. The physician discovered that endospores, embedded in soil, were causing "spontaneous" outbreaks of anthrax and published his results in 1876. This is how he ended in 1880 to work for the Imperial Health Office in Berlin and one year later he wanted everyone to sterilize their surgical instruments using heat. In 1882 he discovered the bacterium caused tuberculosis and next year studied cholera with a team from Alexandria, Egypt.
He even has his own postulates which say:
"To establish that an organism is the cause of a disease, it must be:
- found in all cases of the disease examined
- prepared and maintained in a pure culture
- capable of producing the original infection, even after several generations in culture
- be retrievable from an inoculated animal and cultured again."
Becoming a professor for hygiene at the University of Berlin in 1885 and then director of the newly formed Institute of Infectious Diseases was his recognition. He was the king of men who didn't stop after he had discovered so many useful things. He continued his searches and even went to South Africa, India, and Java to study diseases there.
When he was 66 years old he died of a heart attack in Baden-Baden on May 27, 1910. He was a great man and physician and we thank him a lot for his researches. A crater on the Moon has his name and there were also founded the Robert Koch Medal and Prize which are given to the Microbiologists who make groundbreaking discoveries or to the one who contribute to global health.