Comptes Rendus Biologies 329 (5-6):340-347 (2006)

Gabriel Finkelstein
University of Colorado at Denver
This essay recounts a controversy between a pioneer electrophysiologist, Emil du Bois-Reymond (1818–1896), and his student, Ludimar Hermann (1838–1914). Du Bois-Reymond proposed a molecular explanation for the slight electrical currents that he detected in frog muscles and nerves. Hermann argued that du Bois-Reymond's ‘resting currents’ were an artifact of injury to living tissue. He contested du Bois-Reymond's molecular model, explaining his teacher's observations as electricity produced by chemical decomposition. History has painted Hermann as the wronged party in this dispute. I seek to set the record straight.
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