Ernst Wilhelm von Brücke

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Ernst Wilhelm von Brücke
Ernst von Bruecke.jpg
Ernst von Brücke.
Born 6 July 1819
Died 7 January 1892 (1892-01-08) (aged 72)
Nationality Germany
Fields Physiology
Known for Psychodynamics
Influenced Sigmund Freud

Ernst Wilhelm Ritter von Brücke (6 July 1819 – 7 January 1892) was a German physician and physiologist. He is credited with contributions made in many facets of physiology.


He was born Ernst Wilhelm Brücke in Berlin. He graduated in medicine at the University of Berlin in 1842, and during the following year, he became a research assistant to Johannes Peter Müller. In 1845 he founded the Physikalische Gesellschaft (Physical Society) in Berlin, together with Emil Du Bois-Reymond, Hermann von Helmholtz and others, in the house of physicist Heinrich Gustav Magnus. Later on, this became known as the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (German Society of Physics). In 1848 he was appointed as professor of physiology at the University of Königsberg, replacing Karl Friedrich Burdach (1776–1847). In 1849 he acquired similar duties at the University of Vienna.

He is noted for his influence on Sigmund Freud, one of his medical students, an influence that led to the development of the science of psychodynamics. Ernst Fleischl von Marxow (1846–1891), and Joseph Paneth (1857–1890), two colleagues of Freud, were also assistants to Brücke in Vienna.

Brücke is remembered for his research on the nature of cells, work dealing with the physiology of language, investigations on the effect of electricity on muscles and studies of albumin. His work in the science of optics was instrumental towards Helmholtz's invention of the ophthalmoscope. He also made significant contributions in the fields of physics, plant physiology, microscopic anatomy and experimental physiology.

Selected works[edit]


Regarding personal names: Ritter is a title, translated approximately as Sir (denoting a Knight), not a first or middle name. There is no equivalent female form.

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