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Helmut Ruska

Helmut Ruska

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Helmut Ruska was a German physician and biologist
A biologist is a scientist devoted to and producing results in biology through the study of life. Typically biologists study organisms and their relationship to their environment. Biologists involved in basic research attempt to discover underlying mechanisms that govern how organisms work...

 from Heidelberg
-Early history:Between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, "Heidelberg Man" died at nearby Mauer. His jaw bone was discovered in 1907; with scientific dating, his remains were determined to be the earliest evidence of human life in Europe. In the 5th century BC, a Celtic fortress of refuge and place of...

. After earning his medical degree, he spent several years working as a physician at hospitals in Heidelberg and Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

. During this time, he also worked closely with his brother Ernst Ruska
Ernst Ruska
Ernst August Friedrich Ruska was a German physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986 for his work in electron optics, including the design of the first electron microscope.Ruska was born in Heidelberg...

 (1906-1988) and brother-in-law Bodo von Borries (1905-56), who were both research scientists at Siemens-Reiniger-Werke. Ernst Ruska was the inventor of the electron microscope
Electron microscope
An electron microscope is a type of microscope that uses a beam of electrons to illuminate the specimen and produce a magnified image. Electron microscopes have a greater resolving power than a light-powered optical microscope, because electrons have wavelengths about 100,000 times shorter than...

, and later winner of a Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

. From 1948-1951, Helmut Ruska was a professor at the University of Berlin, in 1952 he moved to the United States where he was a micromorphologist
Morphology (biology)
In biology, morphology is a branch of bioscience dealing with the study of the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features....

 for the New York State Department of Health in Albany
Albany, New York
Albany is the capital city of the U.S. state of New York, the seat of Albany County, and the central city of New York's Capital District. Roughly north of New York City, Albany sits on the west bank of the Hudson River, about south of its confluence with the Mohawk River...

. He returned to Germany in 1958 as director of biophysics
Biophysics is an interdisciplinary science that uses the methods of physical science to study biological systems. Studies included under the branches of biophysics span all levels of biological organization, from the molecular scale to whole organisms and ecosystems...

 at the University of Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.Düsseldorf is an important international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located centrally within the European Megalopolis, the...


Through close association with his brother, Helmut Ruska is remembered for developing the electron microscope for biological and medical applications. He was the first scientist to study "sub-microscopic" structures of parasites, bacteriophages and various virus
A virus is a small infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of organisms. Viruses infect all types of organisms, from animals and plants to bacteria and archaea...

es with an electron microscope. In the 1940s, he published numerous articles regarding his research, including Die Bedeutung der Übermikroskopie für die Virusforschung (The Significance of Electron Microscopy for Virus Research).

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