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Gall, Franz Joseph (1758-1828)


Franz Joseph Gall, a German anatomist, physiologist, and physician, was born in Tiefenbronn and educated in medicine at the universities of Strasbourg and Vienna where he received an extensive scientific background. He started practice in Vienna in 1785. He believed there existed a relationship between the size and shape of the skull and mental faculties and character, and that the examination of the skull would reveal exact information about the brain's function. . He transformed his belief into the study of phrenology. Although it was anatomically unsound, it gained wide acceptance. Gall began lecturing on phrenology in 1796, but by 1802 the government with the persuasion of the Roman Catholic Church ordered him to discontinue his lectures. Five years later he settled in Paris continuing to practice medicine and working on phrenology despite an unfavorable report on his work by the Institute of France. A.G.H.


Sources: 1, 10: 454; 2, 105-106.