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Semmelweis University Gallery


Thanhoffer, Lajos


(B. 23rd November, 1843, Nyírbátor – D. 22nd March, 1909, Budapest

Dean: 1902/03 - 1903/04

Born into an old noble family, Thanhoffer completed his secondary school studies in Nagykároly and Pest, and attended the Medical University in Pest. He received his medical and surgical doctor’s diplomas on 8th February, 1868 and 9th June, 1869, respectively. As early as during his university studies, Thanhoffer performed microscopic and comparative anatomical studies which won him three prizes. When he was a student of the fifth year, he became a surgical pupil with pay to János Balassa. After the death of his tutor in 1868, he joined József Kovács. He became assistant lecturer to Jenő Jendrassik at the Department of Physiology from the academic year 1868/69. He was appointed professor ordinarius of physiology and histology, as well as physics at the Veterinary Institute in 1869 where German language lectures were abolished on his initiative. It was Thanhoffer who first taught microscopic observation methods in the histological laboratory equipped by him. The Pest Faculty of Medicine granted him his habilitation as privatdocent of histology in 1872. Of his research studies, those of fat absorption, cornea, spinal ganglions and muscle ends were of exceptional significance. He was appointed professor extraordinarius at the Budapest Faculty of Medicine in 1881. After the death of József Lenhossék, the Budapest Faculty of Medicine invited him to the 2nd Department of Anatomy which he led until his death. He received his appointment on 21st May, 1890. He served as a dean for two academic years (1902-1904). Most of his articles were published in German, too. He was elected a corresponding, then a regular member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1880 and 1891, respectively. In addition to being a scientist, he was well-known as an excellent draughtsman, too. He illustrated the otology textbook by Gyula Bőke with 37 woodcuts (B.Gy.: The textbook of otology. 1868.) He was a jury member at the world exhibition in Vienna, and then a lecturer and a section chairman at the exhibition in Budapest. He authored anatomical entries for the big lexicon of Pallas. He was awarded the title of royal counsellor in 1888, then the 3rd class of the Iron Crown Order in 1896.

(Major works: On fat absorption. Bp., 1873.; The microscope and its application. Guidelines of general histological techniques. For medical and university students. Bp., 1880.; The structure and nerve ends of the transverse muscles. /Inaugural study. /Bp., 1881.; Foundations of comparative physiology and histology. Bp., 1883. Stuttgart, 1885.; History of veterinary medicine and our veterinary institute. The 100-year anniversary of veterinary training in Hungary. 6th February, 1887. Bp., 1888; The structure of the central nervous system. Bp., 1892.; Recent studies on the structure of muscles. Bp. 1892.; Structure of tissues and organs and their examination methods. Bp. 1900.; Anatomy and fashion. Bp., 1902.)