(1733-1794) German surgeon and physiologist who is regarded as the founder of embryology. He introduced the idea that initially unspecialized cells later differentiate to produce the separate organs and systems of the plant or animal body.
Wolff was born in Berlin and studied at Halle and the Berlin Medical School. In 1766 he accepted an invitation from Catherine II of Russia to take the post of Academician for anatomy and physiology in St Petersburg. He remained there until his death.
Wolff produced his revolutionary work Theoria generationis in 1759. Until that time it was generally believed that each living organism develops from an exact miniature of the adult within the seed or sperm—the so-called preformation or homunculus theory. In fact, Wolff’s view that plants and animals are composed of cells was still a subject of controversy, and his findings were largely ignored for more than 50 years.
His name is also associated with, among other parts of the anatomy, the Wolffian body, a structure in an animal embryo that eventually develops into the kidney.
(Siegfried) (1928-) German-born British biomedical engineer who works on high-technology instruments and the application of technology to medicine.
Born in Berlin, Wolff left Germany for the UK as a boy. He studied physiology at London and then worked at the Medical Research Council (MRC)'s National Institute for Medical Research, where he specialized in the development of instrumentation. Formerly director of the Biomedical Division of the MRC's Clinical Research Centre, he is currently director of the Institute for Bioengineering at Brunel University in the UK.
Wolff's interests range from the invention of new high-technology instruments to the widespread and sensible application of technology to the problems of the elderly and the disabled. He believes that small, specialized pieces of equipment that can be worked by doctors and nurses may be preferable to large centralized units to which patients have to go for tests or treatment. Machines should be simple to use, should show when they are not working properly, and should be designed so that they can be repaired on the spot by the operator.
Christian 1679-1754 Freiherr von Wolff German philosopher and mathematician.
(1679-1754) German philosopher, mathematician, and scientist who invented the terms “cosmology” and “teleology”. He was science adviser to Peter the Great of Russia 1716–25.
Wolff worked in many fields, including theology, psychology, botany, and physics. His philosophy was influenced by Gottfried Leibniz and scholasticism. His numerous works include Vernunftige Gedanken von Gott, der Welt und der Seele der Menschen/Rational Ideas on God, the World and the Soul of Man 1720.
He was professor of mathematics at Halle 1707–23 and professor of mathematics and philosophy at Marburg 1723–40.