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June 15, 1963


JAMA. 1963;184(11):890-891. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700240082018

Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen (Hansen's bacillus) of Bergen, Norway, devoted his professional life to the several aspects of leprosy, which included its epidemiology, etiology, prevention, and institutional management.1 He was born into a large family of meager resources, taught in a girl's school, and, as an overt agnostic, expressed grave concern over the religious teaching to which he was exposed. These doubts are expressed in his autobiography prepared in the late years of his life, which has been translated into halting English.2

Hansen was a brilliant student and inherently industrious. He was accustomed to rise at 5:30 am to begin the most productive hours of the day, from 6 to 8 am. When he joined the staff of the hospital for leprosy (Lungegard Hospital), Danielssen, the physician in charge who later became his father-in-law, and who was co-author with Boeck of a monograph on leprosy, held that the