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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index K > Robert Koch Quotes

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Robert Koch
(11 Dec 1843 - 27 May 1910)

German physician and bacteriologist.


Science Quotes by Robert Koch (9 quotes)

From my numerous observations, I conclude that these tubercle bacilli occur in all tuberculous disorders, and that they are distinguishable from all other microorganisms.
— Robert Koch
'The Etiology of Tuberculosis' (1882), Essays of Robert Koch (1987), trans. K. Codell Carter, 87.
Science quotes on:  |  Bacillus (8)  |  Disease (257)  |  Microorganism (20)  |  Observation (418)  |  Tuberculosis (8)

However, on many occasions, I examined normal blood and normal tissues and there was no possibility of overlooking bacteria or confusing them with granular masses of equal size. I never found organisms. Thus, I conclude that bacteria do not occur in healthy human or animal tissues.
— Robert Koch
'Investigations of the Etiology of Wound Infections' (1878), Essays of Robert Koch (1987), trans. K. Codell Carter, 27.
Science quotes on:  |  Bacteria (32)  |  Blood (95)  |  Health (136)  |  Organism (126)  |  Tissue (24)

If my efforts have led to greater success than usual, this is due, I believe, to the fact that during my wanderings in the field of medicine, I have strayed onto paths where the gold was still lying by the wayside. It takes a little luck to be able to distinguish gold from dross, but that is all.
— Robert Koch
'Robert Koch', Journal of Outdoor Life (1908), 5, 164-9.
Science quotes on:  |  Luck (25)  |  Medicine (322)  |  Success (202)

In the first papers concerning the aetiology of tuberculosis I have already indicated the dangers arising from the spread of the bacilli-containing excretions of consumptives, and have urged moreover that prophylactic measures should be taken against the contagious disease. But my words have been unheeded. It was still too early, and because of this they still could not meet with full understanding. It shared the fate of so many similar cases in medicine, where a long time has also been necessary before old prejudices were overcome and the new facts were acknowledged to be correct by the physicians.
— Robert Koch
'The current state of the struggle against tuberculosis', Nobel Lecture (12 Dec 1905). In Nobel Lectures: Physiology or Medicine 1901-1921 (1967), 169.
Science quotes on:  |  Acknowledge (13)  |  Agreement (29)  |  Bacillus (8)  |  Contagious (4)  |  Disease (257)  |  Fact (609)  |  Medicine (322)  |  Patient (116)  |  Prejudice (58)  |  Tuberculosis (8)

It is safe to say that the little pamphlet which was left to find its way through the slow mails to the English scientist outweighed in importance and interest for the human race all the press dispatches which have been flashed under the channel since the delivery of the address—March 24. The rapid growth of the Continental capitals, the movements of princely noodles and fat, vulgar Duchesses, the debates in the Servian Skupschina, and the progress or receding of sundry royal gouts are given to the wings of lightning; a lumbering mail-coach is swift enough for the news of one of the great scientific discoveries of the age. Similarly, the gifted gentlemen who daily sift out for the American public the pith and kernel of the Old World's news; leave Dr. KOCH and his bacilli to chance it in the ocean mails, while they challenge the admiration of every gambler and jockey in this Republic by the fullness and accuracy of their cable reports of horse-races.
— Robert Koch
New York Times (3 May 1882). Quoted in Thomas D. Brock, Robert Koch (1988), 131.
Science quotes on:  |  Bacillus (8)  |  Gout (5)  |  Mail (2)  |  News (12)  |  Telegraph (31)

Our studies have shown that all cases of typhoid of this type have arisen by contact, that is, carried directly from one person to another. There was no trace of a connection to drinking water.
— Robert Koch
'Die Bekδmpfing des Typhus', Verφffentlichungen aus dem Gebiete des Militδr-Sanitδtswesens (1903), 21. Quoted in English in Thomas D. Brock, Robert Koch: A Life in Medicine and Bacteriology (1988), 256.
Science quotes on:  |  Carrier (5)  |  Typhoid (6)  |  Water (244)

The facts obtained in this study may possibly be sufficient proof of the causal relationship, that only the most sceptical can raise the objection that the discovered microorganism is not the cause but only an accompaniment of the disease... It is necessary to obtain a perfect proof to satisfy oneself that the parasite and the disease are ... actually causally related, and that the parasite is the... direct cause of the disease. This can only be done by completely separating the parasite from the diseased organism [and] introducing the isolated parasite into healthy organisms and induce the disease anew with all its characteristic symptoms and properties.
— Robert Koch
Berliner Klinische Wochenschrift (1882), 393. Quoted in Edward J. Huth and T. Jock Murray (eds.), Medicine in Quotations: Views of Health and Disease Through the Ages (2000), 52.
Science quotes on:  |  Cause (231)  |  Disease (257)  |  Fact (609)  |  Microorganism (20)  |  Objection (16)  |  Parasite (28)  |  Proof (192)  |  Sceptic (5)

The pure culture is the foundation for all research on infectious disease.
— Robert Koch
'Zur Untersuchungen von Pathologen Organismen', Mittheilungen aus dem Kaiserlichen Gesundheitsamte (1881), 1, 1-48. Quoted in English in Thomas D. Brock, Robert Koch: A Life in Medicine and Bacteriology (1988), 94.
Science quotes on:  |  Culture (85)  |  Disease (257)  |  Infection (18)  |  Pure (62)  |  Research (517)

To prove that tuberculosis is caused by the invasion of bacilli, and that it is a parasitic disease primarily caused by the growth and multiplication of bacilli, it is necessary to isolate the bacilli from the body, to grow them in pure culture until they are freed from every disease product of the animal organism, and, by introducing isolated bacilli into animals, to reproduce the same morbid condition that is known to follow from inoculation with spontaneously developed tuberculous material.
— Robert Koch
'The Etiology of Tuberculosis' (1882), Essays of Robert Koch (1987), trans. K. Codell Carter, 87.
Science quotes on:  |  Bacillus (8)  |  Disease (257)  |  Parasite (28)  |  Tuberculosis (8)


See also:
  • 11 Dec - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Koch's birth.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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