THIS year marks the centennial anniversary of Paul Langerhans' discovery of the "islands of Langerhans," insulin-producing cell masses in the pancreas. Aside from the biographical details gathered here, little is known of the scientist who first described these important islands.
Born in Berlin on July 25, 1847, Paul Wilhelm Heinrich Langerhans began life in an environment designed to nurture his interest in medical science. His father, the senior Paul Langerhans, was a well-known physician active in Berlin's political affairs. His mother, Anna Keibel Langerhans, came from a family of distinguished medical men, including the eminent histologist Franz Keibel. His two younger half-brothers, Robert and Richard, both became physicians.
Young Paul completed high school at the Gymnasium Grauen Kloster in Berlin at the age of 16. He then left for Jena, where he studied for a year at the University of Jena under the famous German scientist, his "adored teacher," Ernst
Giacometti L, Barss M. Paul Langerhans: A Tribute. Arch Dermatol. 1969;100(6):770-772. doi:10.1001/archderm.1969.01610300120022