Carl August Bergen, (1704-1759)
Methodus cranii ossa dissuendi, et machinae hunc in finem constructae per figuras ligno incisas delineation (1741)
Karl August von Bergen was a German physician, anatomist and botanist. Born in Frankfurt (Oder) to the son of the anatomy professor Johann Georg von Bergen, the younger Bergen received a strong science education from his father. He grew up in Frankfurt am Oder and attended the local medical school, Viadrina University, where he was taught by both his father and a well-known anatomist, Andreas Ottomar Goelicke. He then continued his studies at the University of Leyden, where he studied under “the father of physiology” Herman Boerhaave and notable anatomist Bernhard Siegfried Albinus, followed by further studies in Paris and Strasbourg. He returned to Viadrina University to receive his medical doctorate, and ultimately served as a professor at the university.
In 1741, Bergen published a short study, the book in our collection, Methodus cranii ossa dissuendi, (translated from Latin as “The method to open (expose) the cranial bones”), in which he describes the human anatomy of the skull in great detail. In addition to this work, Bergen was already well-known for his discovery in 1732 on the general distribution of cellular membranes in animals, which form the basis for organs.
During his time working as a botanist, Bergen corresponded with his Swedish contemporary and notable taxonomist, Carl Linnaeus. Their letters are preserved and display the flow of information and desire to collaborate.
Based on research done by Malka Katz, class of 2021 as part of their assignment in Elective in History of Medicine and Dentistry, 2017-2018. Edited by Andrew I Spielman.