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Semmelweis University Gallery


Tangl, Ferenc


(B. 6th January, 1866, Pest – D. 19th December, 1917, Budapest)

Dean: 1910/11 – 1911/12

Tangl who was born into a family of artisans was the elder brother of Károly Tangl, assistant lecturer to Loránd Eötvös. He received his diploma at the Faculty of Medicine of the university in Budapest on 1st December, 1888. As a student he had already worked as an intern at the Institute of General Pathology and Pharmacology for a year and then spent six months in Kiel in 1887 where he did research on histology. After his graduation, he became second assistant at the Institute of Pathology. He was invited to the Department of Histology and Embryology in Graz where he worked as an assistant from 1st April, 1889. With the Schordann travel grant which he received in Budapest he travelled to Tübingen in November 1889 where he did research mostly on bacteriology in the Pathological Institute of Paul Clemens von Baumgarten. Later, from 1903 they edited the journal Jahresbericht über Fortschritte in der Lehre von den pathogenen Mikroorganismen together. In the meantime, he visited Berlin where he did research with Robert Koch and worked as a pathologist in the Krankenhaus am Urban, Berlin. He was invited to Tübingen by Walter Fleming, professor in Kiel, who offered him the post of privatdozent. However, Tangl, who felt homesick, returned to Hungary in 1891, and became first assistant lecturer at the Institute of Pathology led by Gusztáv Scheuthaler where he worked together with Ferenc Hutÿra and Hugó Preisz.

Tangl was working at the department when he was invited to become head of the Department of Physiology and Histology at the Veterinary Academy. Before assuming the post, he spent six months in Berlin working with Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig, the great physiologist. Tangl studied veterinary physiology in the institute of Ellenberger in Dresden. He began working at the Veterinary Academy in September 1892, first as an assistant lecturer, then he became professor ordinarius in July 1903. The Experimental Department of the Hungarian Royal Veterinary Physiology and Animal Feed Science, which was under his leadership until his death, was founded on his initiative in 1896.

The ministry of agriculture had new premises built for the institute in Buda in 1901 which was equipped according to Tangl’s ideas. As an appreciation of his work, he was given the title of the king’s counsellor. The Hungarian Academy of Sciences elected him corresponding member on 9th May, 1902, then a regular one on 28th April, 1910.

He took his habilitation in the physiology of general metabolism and became privatdozent at the Faculty of Medicine in Budapest in the academic year 1902/03. The faculty invited him to the Department of Physiology and Pathochemistry in September 1903 to follow Pál Plósz.

When he left the Veterinary School, he made endowment of 200 crowns in favour of the hospital association of the students. He took over the Department of Pathology and the Department of Physiology at the Faculty of Medicine in 1906 and 1914, respectively. He did significant research on the development of the individual, that of the bird embryo, the energetics of insect metamorphosis and metabolism, and the tools which he invented to help research were also remarkable. It was Tangl who defined the law of entropy. He was vice-president of the physiology section of the Hungarian Society of Natural Sciences (1901-1903), then president twice (1907-1912 and 1914-1916).

Both the Department of Physiology and Biochemistry and the Department of Anatomy and Histology at the Veterinary School consider Tangl as founder of their disciplines. He was a teacher personality who set new standards. His students included Géza Farkas, Gyula Gróh, Pál Hári, Frigyes Verzár, István Weiser and Oszkár Wellman who became scientists in later years. He was dean of the Faculty of Medicine for two academic years (1910-1912). He was originally buried in Kerepesi cemetery, however, he was exhumed in 1954 when his remains were moved to Farkasréti cemetery (II/79 columbarium).

(Major works: The etiology of diphtheria. Bp., 1891; Guidelines for bacteriology. Bp., 1894.; Studies on the nutrient and energy need of the pig. Bp., 1899.; Studies on the metabolism of horses on lime deficient feed. Bp., 1901.; On the energetics of embryo development. Bp., 1902.; The nutritional value of sedgy and horsetaily hay after warm fermentation. Bp., 1902.; Untersuchungen über die Hydrogenionen Konzentration im Inhalte des nüchternen menschlichen Magens. Tübingen, 1906.; Beiträge zur Futtermittellehre und Stoffwechselphysiologie der landwirtschaftlichen Nutztiere. Berlin, 1908.; Respiratory apparatus for medium sized animals. Bp., 1912.; Calorimetry of kidney function. Bp., 1913.; On the physical chemistry of leucocytes and pus. Bp., 1917.).