August Carl Joseph Corda

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August Carl Joseph Corda
August Karl Joseph Corda.jpg
Born (1809-11-15)November 15, 1809
Died 1849 (aged 39-40)
Nationality Czech
Occupation Physician, mycologist

August Carl Joseph Corda (1809–1849) was a Czech physician and mycologist.

Early life and education[edit]

Corda was born in Reichenberg (now Liberec), Bohemia on November 15, 1809.[1] Corda's father was a textile seller. Both of Corda's parents died suddenly only a few weeks following his birth, and Corda was raised by his grandmother, attending the Normale School in Reichenberg.[1] Corda's grandmother died in 1819 and Corda was sent to live with an "unacquainted family" for two years during which time he did not receive schooling.[1] Two years later, Corda was transferred to the care of an uncle in Prague where he attended the "Lyceum of New Prague".[1] As a result of family difficulties, Corda left the Lyceum in 1824 to attend polytechnical school. There, he studied physics under a Prof. Hallaschka, chemistry under Prof. Stoinman, mineralogy under Prof. Zippe, and botany under Prof. Tausch. Corda remained at the Lyceum only 3 years, long enough to become proficient in chemistry.[1]

After leaving the Lyceum in 1827, Corda took a job in a chemical factory in Prague for a brief time before returning to study surgery at the University of Prague. Shortly thereafter during the outbreak of Asiatic cholera, Corda served as the Assistant Surgeon at the General Hospital in Prague. He continued to practice surgery in Rokitzan, Reichstadt, Niems, Zwickam, Kummersdorf and Briens. Late in 1832, dispirited by his seemingly endless struggle against cholera, Corda quit the practice of medicine.[1]

Career[edit]

For 6 weeks, Corda retreated to Berlin to enjoy the company of his close friend Kurt Sprengel and his many associates in the literati, Alexander von Humboldt, Kunth, Horkel and Martin Lichtenstein. Following his return to Reichenberg, Corda was inspired to the study of botany following the receipt of a letter from the Berlin Academy proposing a study of the growth of palms and related plants with a travel grant for a return trip to Berlin. Corda enthusiastically responded by writing De incremento stipitis plantarum with nearly 100 accompanying illustrations which he completed in 1834 along with a monograph on the "Anatomy of the Rhyzosperms". During his return to Prague, Corda collected at the Karlovy Vary Hot Springs where he studied aquatic zooplankton and visited Nees von Esenbeck.[1]

Once back in Prague, Corda was invited to take up a position of Curator of the Division of Zoology at the Czech National Museum by the museum's founder and president, the influential Kaspar Maria von Sternberg, whom Corda had met during his time at Karlovy Vary and also at a botanical congress in Vratislavia. Corda's primary interest quickly drifted to the mycological collections which became the primary focus of his work. Corda is best known for his monumental 6 volume Icones fungorum hucusque cognitorum, published from 1837–1842 and finally in 1854, and his Prachtflora europäischer Schimmelbildungen published in 1839.[2]:273 Corda was one of the first mycologists to document the sizes of spores of the fungi he described.[2]:61

In 1848, Corda was suspected of political agitation during the Prague Barricades and narrowly escaped assassination.[3] Corda remains well known to mycologists, having described many important fungal genera, including Stachybotrys.[4] He perished at sea in 1849 while returning home from a collecting trip in Texas.[2]:228,[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Corda, A. J. (undated). "Autobiographical sketch". In Hennebert, G. MUCL Archive (in German). 
  2. ^ a b c Ainsworth, G. C. (1976). Introduction to the history of mycology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-21013-5. 
  3. ^ a b Berkeley, M. J. (25 May 1850). "A. J. Corda–Obituary". Gardeners' Chronicle 21: 323–324. 
  4. ^ MycoBank. "Stachybotrys Corda". Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures, Utrecht: The Netherlands. Retrieved 15 September 2013.