On a hot and steamy summer day in Berlin — August 4, 1890, to be precise — the 10th International Medical Congress opened with a flair and fanfare that few conference-weary doctors of the 21st century would recognize. At the invitation of Kaiser Wilhelm II, almost 6000 physicians from around the globe flocked to the city that represented the modernity and optimism of medical progress. Perhaps even more enticing was the jam-packed program of lectures delivered by a veritable who’s who of medical greats, including Joseph Lister, Rudolf Virchow, and James Paget.


Joseph Lister
, 1827-1912, The Right Honourable , 1st Baron Lister, OM , FRS, was a famous British surgeon who promoted the idea of sterile surgery while working at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. He came from a prosperous Quaker home in Upton, Essex, the son of the pioneer of the compound microscope, Joseph Jackson Lister and Isabella Harris.

Rudolf Ludwig Karl Virchow, ranks among the greatest minds in medicine in the 19th century. As a result of his hard work and determination, great strides were made in the fields of pathological and physiological medicine. Virchow was born in Schivelbein, Pomeranian, Prussia on October 13, 1821. He attended Friederich Wilheim Institute where he studied to become a physician with a passion for pathological histology.

James Paget,
1809-1892. The first surgeon to correlate patient’s symptoms with the clinical examination and as such to develop many of the ideas of clinical surgery. His name is eponymously assocaited with several conditions. In 1874, he reported a series of 15 cases of chronic ulceration of the nipple in association with breast cancer. In 1876, he described five cases of ‘osteitis deformans’ which be believed to be an inflammatory disease process. It is now believed to result from an abnormality of bone remodeling due to an increase in osteoclastic activity, possibly as result of a viral infection.

Source:New England Journal of Medicine

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