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Hans Berger

Born: 21-May-1873
Birthplace: Neuses, Germany
Died: 1-Jun-1941
Location of death: Bad Blankenburg, Germany
Cause of death: Suicide
Remains: Buried

Gender: Male
Religion: Lutheran
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist, Scientist, Inventor

Nationality: Germany
Executive summary: Electroencephalogram

Military service: German Army (1891-93 and 1916-18, medical services)

German neuropsychiatrist Hans Berger proved the existence of electric voltage fluctuations in the human brain, and used an amplifying machine (an electroencephalograph) to record the first human electroencephalogram (EEG), measuring tiny changes in electrical flow between a pair of electrodes placed on a patient's skull. EEGs are now used to diagnose serious head injuries, brain tumors, epilepsy, and degenerative diseases of the nervous system. Prior to his EEG work, Berger had spent several years unsuccessfully seeking to correlate such factors as blood circulation and temperature with brain function. He later showed EEG variations between normal and brain-injured patients, and between patients with their eyes open and eyes closed. Berger conducted his early brain research in complete secrecy, and did not publish his until 1929, five years after his first EEG on 6 July 1924. Though not Jewish, he made no secret of his disdain for the growing Nazi movement in Germany, and for this he was stripped of his academic post in 1938. He hung himself three years later. His maternal grandfather was the poet Friedrich Rückert (1788-1866).

Father: Paul Friedrich Berger (physician)
Mother: Anna Rückert Berger
Wife: Baroness Ursula von Bulow (b. 20-Nov-1886, m. 1911, d. 10-May-1970)
Daughter: Ilse Berger
Son: Klaus Berger (physician, b. 20-Mar-1912, d. 26-Nov-1941)
Daughter: Rosemarie Berger
Daughter: Ruth Berger

    High School: Coberg Gymnasium, Coberg, Germany
    Medical School: MD, University of Jena (1897)
    Teacher: Psychiatry, University of Jena (1897-1919)
    Professor: Psychiatry, University of Jena (1906-38)
    Administrator: Director of Psychiatric Clinic, University of Jena (1919-38)

    German Ancestry
    Suicide Attempt 1-Jun-1941 (successful)

Author of books:
Hans Berger on the Electroencephalogram of Man (1969, collected papers, posthumous)

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