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Joseph Erlanger

Joseph ErlangerBorn: 5-Jan-1874
Birthplace: San Francisco, CA
Died: 5-Dec-1965
Location of death: St. Louis, MO
Cause of death: Heart Failure

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist, Doctor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Nerve conduction

For improving the understanding of nerve impulse transmission, Joseph Erlanger and Herbert S. Gasser were awarded the 1944 Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology. Erlanger also designed and built a better sphygmomanometer -- the device that measures blood pressure.

While teaching at the University of Wisconsin, Gasser was one of Erlanger's students, and when Wisconsin's lack of funding to equip his lab forced Erlanger to move to Washington University in St. Louis, Gasser followed him there. With a specially-modified oscilloscope, they researched the electrophysiology of the nervous system, and established that different nerve fibers conduct different sizes of wavelengths or impulses.

Father: Herman Erlanger (gold prospector)
Mother: Sarah Erlanger
Wife: Aimée Hirstel Erlanger (m. 1906, d. 1959)
Daughter: Margaret Erlanger (Professor of Dance, b. 1908, d. 1974)
Daughter: Ruth Josephine Erlanger (b. 1910)
Son: Herman Erlanger (b. 1912, d. 1959)

    High School: San Francisco Boys High School, San Francisco, CA (1891)
    University: BS Chemistry, UC Berkeley (1895)
    Medical School: MD, Johns Hopkins University (1899)
    Teacher: Physiology, Johns Hopkins University (1900-06)
    Scholar: University of Strasbourg (1902)
    Professor: Physiology, University of Wisconsin (1906-10)
    Professor: Physiology, Washington University in St. Louis (1911-46)
    Administrator: Washington University in St. Louis (-1946)

    Nobel Prize for Medicine 1944, with Herbert S. Gasser
    American Physiological Society 1901 (Treasurer, 1913-23, President, 1926-29)
    National Academy of Sciences
    American Philosophical Society
    German Ancestry

Author of books:
Electrical Signs of Nervous Activity (1937, with Herbert S. Gasser)


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