Theodor Schwann

Theodor Schwann

Theodor Schwann was a German physiologist, histologist, and cytologist. While assisting Johannes Muller in preparing a book on physiology, he initiated research into muscular contraction and the nervous system that not only led to the discovery of the myelin-producing cells that now bear his name, but also contributed to our current understanding of life as based on physical and chemical properties (as opposed to vitalism, the prevailing theory of the day).

Schwann and botanist Matthias Schleiden established the cell theory in 1839, after an 1837 dinner conversation comparing vegetable and notochord nuclei.

Theodor Schwann is also credited with the discovery and study of pepsin, the discovery of the organic nature of yeast and the invention of the term metabolism.

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