Knut Schmidt-Nielsen, who helped create the modern field of comparative animal physiology, died of natural causes January 25 at his home in Durham, North Carolina. He was 91. "He was driven by an intense curiosity about how animals work," said his former graduate student Barbara Block, now a professor of marine sciences at Stanford University. "He was the father of the field of animal physiology."
Schmidt-Nielsen was born in Norway and studied biology under Nobel laureate August Krogh in Copenhagen. He moved to the United States in 1946, and joined Duke University eight years later. In the first part of the 20th century, most physiology research revolved around dogs -- but Schmidt-Nielsen changed all that, Duke University biologist Steven Vogel told The Scientist. Schmidt-Nielsen championed a comparative approach to physiology, Vogel said, which helped to integrate the field with evolutionary biology and ecology. For instance, Schmidt-Nielsen and...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?