Robert Franz Schmidt

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Robert Franz Schmidt (born September 16, 1932 in Ludwigshafen am Rhein ; † September 13, 2017 ) was a German physiologist and university professor. In Kiel and Würzburg he was director of the physiological university institutes.


After graduating from high school at the modern language Karolinen-Gymnasium (Frankenthal) , Schmidt studied medicine at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg from 1953 . 1956–1959 he was a doctoral candidate at the Physiological Institute of Heidelberg University. On April 22, 1959, he was promoted to Dr. med. PhD . He was a medical assistant from May 1, 1959 to October 31, 1960 at the Heidelberg University Hospital and the Heidelberg Hospital Bethanien. 1960–1962 he was with John Carew Eccles at the Australian National University in Canberra. There he graduated on March 21, 1963 with a Ph.D. On August 8, 1963, the Home Office granted him Baden-Wuerttemberg , the approbation with effect on 14 May 1961. He then worked until 1966 research assistant at the Institute of Physiology at the University of Heidelberg. On June 4, 1964 , he qualified as a professor for physiology in Heidelberg . In 1966 he was appointed Scientific Councilor at the II Physiological Institute at Heidelberg University and a civil servant for life. On January 28, 1970 he was appointed associate professor . After he was visiting professor at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York in 1970/71 , he followed the call of the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel to its chair of physiology in 1971 . As director of the Physiological Institute he received a visit from John Carew Eccles that same year. In 1979 he was chairman of the German Physiological Society . In 1982 he switched to the chair at the Julius Maximilians University of Würzburg . There he was on 1 October 2000. emeritus . The Medical Faculty of the Eberhard Karls University Tübingen appointed him honorary professor in 2001.


From 1956 to 1960 Schmidt dealt with the electrophysiology and pharmacology of the heart, from 1960 to 1970 with mechanisms and functions of presynaptic inhibition in the spinal cord and since 1965 with somatosympathetic interactions. Further topics were from 1970 to 1973 the physiology of the cerebellum, from 1972 to 1981 receptive properties and central interconnection of fine muscle afferents, and in 2012 the neurophysiology of nociception and pain, especially joint pain. He researched the properties of pain receptors and the processing of the signals they send out in the spinal cord. In this way he discovered “sleeping pain receptors” that only start to work when tissue is inflamed. He also clarified the course of time and the reasons for the increase in the sensitivity of pain receptors in inflamed tissue, for example in sunburn. Schmidt is the editor and author of textbooks. His human physiology is considered to be the standard work of physiology. Since 2007 Robert F. Schmidt has played a leading role in the development of an information and communication system for patients that is easy to understand.



  • Academy scholarship from the Volkswagen Foundation (1985/86)
  • Full member of the Academy of Sciences and Literature (1987)
  • Max Planck Research Award, with Akio Sato, Tokyo (1991)
  • German Pain Award - German Award for Pain Research and Pain Therapy (1994)
  • Elected Honorary Member of the Columbian Society for the Study of Pain, Bogota (1994)
  • Doctor of Science honoris causa, University of New South Wales , Sydney (1996)
  • Honorary member of the Academia Nacional de Medicina, Mexico (1996)
  • Honorary Member of the Japanese Physiological Society (1996)
  • Investigador Asociado, Instituto de Neurosciencias, Universidad Miguel Hernándes, San Juan de Alicante, Spain (1997-2008)
  • Alexander von Humboldt-JC Mutis Prize, awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Culture (1999)
  • Honorary member of the German Society for the Study of Pain Section of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), Hamburg (2000)
  • Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany , Federal Cross of Merit 1st Class (2000)
  • Honorary Member of the German Physiological Society (March 3, 2002)
  • Honorary member of the German Society for Pain Therapy eV, Oberursel (2003)
  • Honorary member of the International Association for the Study of Pain (2008)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Obituary notice Robert F. Schmidt , FAZ from September 16, 2017
  2. Medical dissertation: About the acetylcholine sensitivity of different heart sections .
  3. Habilitation thesis: The physiology and pharmacology of afferent and efferent nerve endings of the spinal cord .
  4. enpenet: about us , accessed on September 14, 2012
  5. ( page no longer available , search in web archives: member entry by Robert Franz Schmidt ) at the Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz , accessed on November 6, 2017@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /
  6. ^ Deaths: Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz. Retrieved May 8, 2020 .
  7. , accessed on September 14, 2012
  8. ^ Japanese Physiological Society , accessed September 14, 2012.
  9. , accessed on September 14, 2012
  10. Honorary Members of IASP ( Memento from April 15, 2013 in the web archive ), accessed on September 14, 2012