Samuel Thomas von Sömmerring

Samuel Thomas von Soemmerring

1755 (Thorn, Prussia, now Toruń, Poland) – 1830 (Frankfurt am Main)

Blumenbach (a real friend) and Lichtenberg taught Sömmerring; Heyne was another long-term Göttingen connection. His work on cranial nerves as a 23-year-old remains valid, two centuries later. Sömmerring met Forster (becoming close friends) and Hunter in London, and Camper in Friesland. Forster, now in Kassel, arranged a professorship in anatomy for him there (they later fell out as neighbours in Mainz). Sömmerring got to know his lifelong correspondent Goethe through a shared interest in comparative anatomy, and famously sent him an elephant’s skull. Kant, ignoring its philosophical discrepancies, wrote an afterword for his essay on the soul.