Who is Willem Einthoven?

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Who is Willem Einthoven? Information on Willem Einthoven biography, life story, works and contributions to science.

Willem EinthovenWillem Einthoven; (1860-1927), Dutch physiologist who was awarded the 1924 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine “for his discovery of the mechanism of the electrocardiogram.

In 1903, Einthoven developed the first string galvanometer. It consisted of a delicate conducting thread stretched across a magnetic field. An electric current flowing through the thread caused it to deviate at right angles to the direction of the magnetic lines of force, with the extent of the deviation proportional to the strength of the current. The delicacy with which the string galvanometer responded to small amounts of current made it possible for Einthoven to construct an electrocardiograph that could detect and record the tiny and varying electric current to which heart action gives rise. Continually improving his device, Einthoven worked out the significance of the various peaks and troughs of the recordings, and by 1906 he was correlating the recordings with various types of heart disease.

Einthoven was born in Semarang, Java, on May 22, 1860. He received his M. D. from the University of Utrecht in 1885. He was appointed immediately to a professorship of physiology at the University of Leiden, Netherlands, where he remained until his death on Sept. 29, 1927.

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