August Weismann (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: Weismann is most noted for his development and refinement of the theory of the continuity of the germ plasm, for his devout support of Darwinism and the principle of natural selection, and for his discrediting the idea of the inheritance of acquired characteristics.
August Friedrich Leopold Weismann was born in Frankfurt am Main on January 17, 1834, to Johann Konrad August Weismann, a classics teacher at the Gymnasium in Frankfurt, and Elise Eleanore Lübbren Weismann, a musician and painter. He was the eldest of four children, and his home life was simple and happy. As a young boy, Weismann showed an active interest in nature. He collected butterflies, caterpillars, beetles, and plants, and he assembled a herbarium. He was a lover of art, literature, and music (especially that of Ludwig van Beethoven). These interests continued throughout his life. He became an accomplished pianist. He attended and did well at the Gymnasium where his father was a teacher.
Weismann was interested in chemistry and physics as a young adult and wanted to pursue studies in that direction. His father and friends of the family, however, suggested that he pursue medicine, since a career in medicine would be more lucrative. To this end, he entered the University of Göttingen in 1852, where he studied with Friedrich Henle and Friedrich Wöhler in an atmosphere that emphasized research...
(The entire section is 1838 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!