Rudolf Virchow, a German physiologist, born at Schivelbein, Pomerania, Oct. 13, 1821. He studied at the Pépiniére in Berlin, received his medical degree in 1843, and became assistant physician and subsequently prosector at the Charité hospital, lecturing at the same time on anatomy in the university. In 1848 the Prussian government sent him to Silesia to investigate the nature of a typhoid epidemic raging there, and in 1849 he accepted a chair of pathological anatomy at the university of Wurzburg, having been deposed in Berlin on account of his liberal politics. The Berlin university recalled him in 1856 to the same chair, and the government made him director of the pathological institute of the Charité. The Bavarian government had invited him in 1852 to investigate the causes of a famine in the Spessart, and in 1859 the king of Sweden requested him to explore the western provinces of Norway in regard to the leprous diseases prevalent there. On his return to Berlin he was elected to the city council, and in 1862 he became a member for the district of Saarbriick of the house of representatives, in which he took an active and prominent part on the opposition side. Since 1867 he has represented the city of Berlin in the same assembly.
During the wars of I866 and 1870-'71 he was a director of hospital service. His fame rests mainly on his labors in cellular pathology, of which science he may be considered the founder; but more recently he has turned his attention to anthropological and archaeological studies, and distinguished himself as an investigator of the lacustrine habitations and other prehistoric settlements in Germany, and by his researches on the anatomy of the brain. In 1871 he engaged in an interesting contest with the French ethnologist Quatrefages, who maintained in his work on La race prussienne that the Prussians proper are of Finnic descent. Virchow founded in conjunction with Bernhardt the Archiv far pathologische Anatomie und Physiologic und far Minische Medicin, and he has been sole or joint editor of various scientific publications. His principal works are: Handbuch der speciellen Pathologie und Therapie (3 vols., 1854-'62); Untersuchungen über die Entwickelung des Schddelgrundes (1857); Die Cellularpathologie in Hirer Begründung auf physiologische und pathologische Gewebelehre (1858; 4th ed., 1871); Ueber die Natur der constitutionell - syphilitischen Affectionen (1859); Goethe ah Naturforscher (1861); Vorlesungen über Pathologie (4 vols., 1862-7); Darstellung von der Lehre der Trichinen (1865); Der erste Sanitdtszug des Berliner Hülfsvereins (1870); Ueber Lazarethe und Baracken (1871); Die Aufgabe der Naturwissenschaften im nationalen Leben Deutschlands (1871); and Die altnordischen Schddel zu Kopenhagen (1871).