Born in Schivelbein, Pomerania (Germany), Rudolf Virchow was the only child of a small merchant. He was educated at the Gymnasium of Coslin and Friedrich Wilhelm Institute in Berlin. A gifted student, Virchow was able to work long hours without tiring and his interests were many. In 1843, a few months after graduation from Wilhelm Institute, Virchow became assistant surgeon at Charite Hospital at the age of 21 and prorector three years later. In spite of a heavy schedule, Virchow continued his research and started the leading medical publications of Europe of his day.
In 1847 Virchow was sent by his government to Silesia, Poland, to take measures in the control of an outbreak of typhus fever among the Silesians suffering from famine.
Angered by the conditions he found, Virchow actively joined the German revolution of 1848 and when the monarchy was restored he was asked to resign his post at Charite. He accepted an invitation to become Professor of Pathological Anatomy at Wursburg, where he served for several years, and published Cellular Pathology and Thrombosis and Embolism.
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