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August 5, 1968


JAMA. 1968;205(6):460-461. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140320154019

Franz Nissl, was born in Bavarian Frankenthal, the son of a gymnasium teacher. He devoted his professional days to the histology of the cerebral cortex and of other higher centers, with the persistent intent to identify microstructure with function in health and disease.1 His intellectual endowment was apparent even in medical school, where he won a first prize at the University of Munich for his inaugural thesis, Pathological Changes of the Nerve Cells of the Cerebral Cortex. Not only a remarkable treatise, it also proved to be prophetic of his many subsequent contributions on the preparation and microscopic inspection of nervous tissue. The preferred combination for processing nervous tissue, prior to Nissl's investigations, was Müller's solution of dichromate and sulfate for hardening and carmine for staining. In their place Nissl used alcohol and aniline dye and later gained maximum delineation of cellular structure with the use of methylene or