German folk doctor Robert Koch led a very productive and symbolic life. During his life, he greatly contributed to the field of Bacteriology. Among his many accomplishments was the discovery of the source of tuberculosis, a very lethal and puzzling disease. Due to his hard work within and outside of the laboratory, many people live a much longer and healthier life.
Koch's life began on December 11, 1843 in a small, German mining town within the Harz Mountains of Clausthal- Zellerfeld, Hanover. While growing up, his hopes and ambitions were to be an explorer. In 1862, he enrolled at the University of Göttingen in botany, physics, and mathematics and began his lifelong medical career. Shortly after his graduation, he interned at the Hamburg general hospital. During his stay in Hamburg he met and married Emmy Fratz and also became a country doctor.
At this point in his life, Koch began his studies on matter. A rather important moment in his life was when he received a microscope from his wife for his 28th birthday. This greatly assisted him in his studies. Shortly afterward, he began an in depth experiment involving the effects of anthrax on living animals. Through his experimentation, he discovered the bacillus responsible for anthrax in 1876. He then displayed his finding at the University of Breslau in Poland; thus becoming the first to demonstrate that a particular microbe causes a particular disease. These particular microbes would later be called bacteria.
In 1880 Koch was appointed government adviser with the Imperial Department of Health in Berlin. During this time period, Koch developed his Postulates. These are four criteria that assist in distinguishing microbes from one another. The following are Koch's four postulates according to "Koch's Postulates" by Robert Berman: "1. The organism is regularly found in the lesions of the disease; 2. It can be isolated in pure culture on artificial media; 3. Inoculation of this culture produces a similar disease in experimental animals; 4. The organisms can be recovered from the lesions in these animals." These postulates were used by Koch to identify: tubercle bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis; cholera vibrio Vibrio cholerae; typhoid bacillus Salmonella typhi; pneumococcus Streptococcus pneumoniae; staphylococcus Staphylococcus aureus; streptococcus Streptococcus pyogenes; meningococcus Neiserria meningiditis; gonococcus Neiserria gonorrhoeae; and tetanus bacillus Clostridium tetani. These postulates are still in use today.
Koch's discoveries were very contributional to the newly founded field of bacteriology. They gave many other scientists the tools to singling out and destroying countless diseases. Koch's contributions were so significant that he was able to become director of Berlin's Institute for Infectious Disorders in1891. He worked here until his retirement in 1904. Today, the Institute's name has been changed to the Robert Koch Institute. In 1905, Koch received the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine. The final chapter of Koch's life concluded at the German Health Resort Baden- Baden; on May 27, 1910, he died of a heart attack.