Alexander von Humboldt--Patron Extraordinaire of Histology and Histopathology
Among Humboldt’s protegés were some of the most important pioneers of histology and histopathology, including Johannes Müller, Jacob Henle, Karl Bogislaus Reichert, Jan Evangelista Purkinje, and Robert Remak. It was the time of the first discoveries in histology, of the cell, the nucleus, and the mechanism of the propagation of cells; the time in which words such as nucleolus, protoplasm, and connective tissue were being coined; the time in which cell theory and cellular pathology were developed. It was not by chance that the major steps in that development were taken in Prussia. Here there was Humboldt, without whom the history of histology and histopathology would be very different. The tale of Humboldt and his protegés in histology and histopathology is a tale of the history of these scientific disciplines, but, also, and more important, it is a tale of a model human being.