Oskar Minkowski life and biography

Oskar Minkowski picture, image, poster

Oskar Minkowski biography

Date of birth : 1858-01-13
Date of death : 1931-07-18
Birthplace : Kaunas, Lithuania
Nationality : German
Category : Science and Technology
Last modified : 2011-12-19
Credited as : Doctor, research on diabetes, the Minkowski Prize

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Oskar Minkowski is most famous for his research on diabetes. He is the brother of the mathematician Hermann Minkowski and father of astrophysicist Rudolph Minkowski.

Minkowski determined that diabetes is caused by suppression of pancreatic substances, which were subsequently found and identified as the hormone insulin. For this, the first major breakthrough against the disease, he is the namesake of the Oskar Minkowski Award, presented annually by the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. Nazis came to power in Germany shortly after Minkowski's death, but his daughter was able to secret his wife out of Germany, to live with her in Argentina.

Minkowski worked with Josef von Mering on the study of diabetes at the University of Strasbourg. Their landmark study in 1889 in dogs induced diabetes by removing their pancreas. It was Minkowski who performed the operation and made the crucial link to recognize that the symptoms of the treated dogs were due to diabetes.

Thus they were able to indicate that the pancreas contained regulators to control blood sugar; they also provided model for the study of diabetes. Their work led other doctors and scientists to pursue further research on the relation of the pancreas to diabetes, and ultimately resulted in the discovery of insulin as a treatment for the disease.

In recognition of the discovery by Minkowski the European Association for the Study of Diabetes annually awards the Minkowski Prize for outstanding original work of a younger investigator in diabetes research.

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