Albrecht von Haller
Haller, Albrecht von (älˈbrĕcht fən häˈlər) [key], 1708–77, Swiss scientist and writer. He had already won distinction as botanist and poet when he was appointed (1736) professor of anatomy, medicine, and botany at the Univ. of Göttingen. There he carried on the research in experimental physiology for which he is especially famed and on which he based his theory of the irritability (known today as contractility) of muscle tissue, set forth in A Dissertation on the Sensible and Irritable Parts of Animals (1732, tr. 1936). He returned (1753) to his native Bern, where he continued his research and took part in public affairs. Among his voluminous writings are Elementa physiologiae corporis humani (8 vol., 1757–66); noted bibliographies in anatomy, surgery, botany, and medicine; and a volume of poems, Versuch schweizerischer Gedichte (1732).