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June 19, 1967


JAMA. 1967;200(12):1124-1125. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120250158024

Bernhard Rudolf Conrad Langenbeck, recognized forerunner of central European surgical progress in the mid-19th century, was born in the village of Padingbüttel, where the Weser empties into the North Sea.1 His father, a clergyman and teacher, provided his early education, intended to lead ultimately to the ministry. However, an early interest in biology and dissection turned him toward medicine and he entered the University of Göttingen in 1830, under the watchful eye of his uncle, Conrad J. M. Langenbeck, professor of surgery and anatomy. Langenbeck received his doctorate with honors in 1834, upon presentation of an inaugural dissertation on the structure of the retina. A Blummbach honorarium provided him a two-year period of postdoctoral study in clinics of his choice. He went to Belgium and to Paris but was particularly fortunate in London; there he audited the sessions of the Medico-Chirurgical Society and became friendly with prominent surgeons, including