Interesting Biographical Information

Santiago Ramon Y Cajal
Cajal expresses how much of a trouble maker he was as a child in his autobiography (Cajal, 1996).  Even around the age of four he was causing trouble.  Cajal expresses that one day he was beating a horse, and in effect, the horse kicked him in the forehead.  The injury was very serious, and some thought he was instantly dead.

Cajal highly respected the drive and motivation of his father.  His father was unable to complete his medical studies due to lack of funds.  However, his father truged on, and once he gathered the resources he earned the prestigious title of “physician and surgeon” (p. 3).

It is quite obvious that Cajal was aware of Francis Galton’s theories on the inheritance of abilities from one’s parents:

“I related these events of my father’s life because, besides being so highly honourable to him, they are also the necessary antecedents of my own history.  There is no doubt that, aside from hereditary influence, the ideas and example of a father are factors of decisive importance in the education of his children, and therefore are essential determinants of their tastes and inclinations.” (p. 6)

Cajal reflected on how flawess in both apparance and virtue his mother was. Comically, Cajal comments that it was unfortunate that neither him nor any of his siblings inherited these good qualities from their mother:

“Of the beauty of my mother and of her excellent qualities, not a single trace was transmitted to any of the four brothers and sisters who were, both physically and morally, almost exact reproduction of our father; a circumstance that has condemned us in our family life to a sentimental and ideological atmosphere both monotonous and annoying” (p. 4).

Otto Loewi

Loewi was jewish.  When the Nazis invaded Austria on March 12, 1938, at 3 a.m. they broke into Loewi’s house and put him in jail (This was after he had won the Nobel prize). Two of his sons were out of the country, but his two other sons soon joined him in jail. Loewi got released two months later, 100 pounds lighter.  His sons were released three weeks after him, and Loewi got permission for all of them to leave the country under the conditions that he give all of his possessions over to the Nazis, including the money he received from the nobel prize.  He left for England, and while there got an offer to teach in the United States at New York University.  He moved to the U.S and lived there until his death (Finger, 2000).

References

Cajal, S. R. (1996). Recollections of My Life [DX Reader version].  Retrieved           from http://books.google.com/books?id=fzVQZekeA4kC&printsec=frontcover&dq=recollections+of+my+life+cajal&hl=en&ei=yxPzTLfNBcP38Ab6uoyDDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

Finger, S. (2000).  Minds Behind the Brain: A History of the Pioneers and Their           Discoveries. New York, NY: Oxford.

This page was created by Neil Thorne

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