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Peyer, Johann Conrad

1. Dates
Born: Schaffhausen, Switzerland, 26 Dec 1653
Died: Schaffhausen, 29 Feb 1712
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 59
2. Father
Occupation: Aristocrat
He was born into a patrician family.
No solid information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: Schaffhausen, Switzerland
Career: Schaffhausen, Switzerland
Death: Schaffhausen, Switzerland
4. Education
Schooling: Paris; Montpelier; Basel, M.D.
Studied medicine in Basel.
Studied medicine in Paris under J. Guichard de Verney.
Studied medicine in Montpellier under Vieussens.
1681, recieved his M.D. from Basel.
I assume the equivalent of a B.A.
5. Religion
Affiliation: assume Calvinist
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Physiology
Subordinate: Anatomy, Zoology, Medicine
With J.J. Wepfer and J.C. Brunner, he formed the "Schaffhause trio," which provided the explanation of symptoms by connecting them with the lesions in the body and performed experiments on animals to study either the functioning of organs or the effects of medicines. In 1682 he described the lymphatic nodules and masses located in the walls of the ileum that now bear his name. He achieved an artificial cardiac activity lasting several hours. He also discovered hermaphroditism of the pulmononate snail and the epizootic disease that may have been foot-mouth disease. He published several works.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Medicine, Schoolmastering
It seems that he supported himself throughout his career as a physician, though he later also held a position in the local gymnasium.
Through the 1680s, he collaborated with his teacher Jakob Wepfer and the latter's son-in-law, Johann Conrad Brunner in research, but they eventually had a falling out. He then spent the rest of his life as a professor of logic, rhetoric and medicine at the local gymnasium.
8. Patronage
Type: None
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Medical Practice
He did practice medicine.
10. Scientific Societies
Membership: Academia Leopoldina
He was a member of the Academia Naturae Curiosorum Sacra under the name "Pythagoras."
  1. A. Hirsch, Biographisches Lexikon der hervorragenden Aerzte aller Zeiten und Voelker (3rd ed., Munich, 1962), 4, 579-80.
  2. A. Hirsch, Allgemeine deutsche Biographie, 25, 568.
  3. E. Ackerknecht, Grands médecins suise de 1500 à 1900, conférence du Palais de la Découverte D109, (Paris, 1966).
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. Bernhard Peyer-Amsler, "Johann Conrad Peyer 1653-1712," in Reinhard Frauenfelder, ed., Geschichte der Familie Peyer mit dem Wecken 1410-1932 (ZÜrich, 1932), 299-346. The library which has this won't lend it.
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.

©1995 Al Van Helden
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