August 14, 1967


JAMA. 1967;201(7):551-552. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130070071026

Casimir Funk, discoverer of thiamine, the first ' vitamin to be isolated, was born in Warsaw, Poland, but spent the greater portion of his professional days in England, France, and the United States.1 As a child he was introduced to the fundamentals of biology and medicine by his parents; his father was a dermatologist, whereas his mother before marriage had cherished a desire to enter medicine. Thus, when Casimir left for higher education in the University of Geneva, his course was set on botany, zoology, and comparative anatomy. His studies were continued the following years in Berne, where he stayed for more than three years, attending lectures in chemistry, physics, zoology, and botany, and where he obtained the PhD in 1904. Funk was handicapped by a congenital dislocation of the hip. While his affluent parents sought professional counsel for its correction in several countries, he was exposed to various foreign