Peter Ludvig Panum

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Peter Ludvig Panum

Peter Ludvig Panum (19 December 1820 – 2 May 1885) was a Danish physiologist and pathologist born on the island of Bornholm in Rønne. The Panum Institute in Copenhagen is named in his honor.

During 1846 he was chosen by the government to undertake research of a measles epidemic in the Faroe Islands. As a result of his investigations he published a classic treatise titled "Observations Made During the Epidemic of Measles on the Faroe Islands in the Year 1846". Later he studied with Rudolf Virchow at the University of Würzburg (1851), and with Claude Bernard in Paris (1852–53).

From 1855 he was a professor at the University of Kiel, where he established a laboratory for physiology. Troubled by anti-Danish sentiment at Kiel, he relocated to the University of Copenhagen during 1862, where he spent the remainder of his career.[1] Among his students at Copenhagen were physiologist Christian Bohr (1855-1911) and zymologist Emil Christian Hansen (1842-1909).

Panum is acknowledged as being the first person to perform systematic and scientific studies of endotoxin, a substance once referred to as "putrid poison"[2] that was thought to be responsible for symptoms and signs observed in individuals with sepsis.

From his studies of binocular vision, the eponymous "Panum's fusional area" is obtained. The term is defined as the region of binocular single vision. Outside of Panum’s fusional area, physiological diplopia occurs.[3]

The Panum Building is named after him.

Bird embryo drawn by Panum


  • Experimentelle Untersuchungen zur Physiologie und Pathologie der Embolie, Transfusion und Blutmenge, 1864 - Experimental studies on the physiology and pathology of embolism, transfusion and blood volume.
    • Works by Panum that have been translated into English:
  • Observations Made During the Epidemic of Measles on the Faroe Islands in the Year 1846.
  • XI: Observations on the Measles Contagion.
  • Physiological Investigations Concerning Vision with Two Eyes.[4]
    • Publications about Panum:
  • Bibliographical biography of Peter Ludvig Panum (1820-1885), epidemiologist and physiologist by W M Gafafer.[5]


  1. ^ Public health by Dona Schneider, David E. Lilienfeld (biographical information)
  2. ^ Endotoxin in health and disease by Helmut Brade
  3. ^ Webvision The Organization of the Retina and Visual System, Perception of Depth
  4. ^ Google Search (publications)
  5. ^ World Cat Titles Bibliographical biography of Peter Ludvig Panum

External links[edit]