Wolfgang U. Eckart

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Wolfgang Uwe Eckart (born February 7, 1952 in Schwelm ; † August 16, 2021 in Heidelberg ) was a German medical historian and director of the Institute for the History and Ethics of Medicine at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg .


Wolfgang Eckart studied medicine, history and philosophy at the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster . During his studies he was politically active in the Socialist University Association (SHB) and in the MSB-Spartakus . In 1973/74 he was cultural advisor in the general student committee of the WWU for the SHB . In 1977 he received his license to practice medicine, his doctorate as Dr. med. followed a year later with a dissertation on the Wittenberg doctor Daniel Sennert (1572–1637). From 1976 to 1988 Eckart worked as an assistant and from 1986 as a private lecturer at the Münster Institute for Theory and History of Medicine. HabilitationIn 1986 he worked on the history of medicine with a study on German doctors in Japan and China, which was completed as a medical officer at the Military History Research Office of the Federal Armed Forces in Freiburg. His academic teachers were Richard Toellner , Karl Eduard Rothschuh , Johanna Bleker and Manfred Messerschmidt .

From 1988 to 1992 he was professor for the history of medicine, director of the history of medicine department and first professor for the history of medicine at the Hannover Medical School . In 1992 Eckart was appointed professor for the history of medicine and director of the Institute for the History of Medicine (today Institute for the History and Ethics of Medicine) at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg , where he worked until September 2017.

From 1994 to 1997 he was a member of the "Geomedicine" commission of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences . From 1996 to 1998 Eckart was President of the Society for the History of Science . In 2002 he was elected to the Leibniz Society of Sciences in Berlin and in 2009 to the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina . In 2016 he was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany .

His main research interests included Byzantine medicine , the emergence of modern medicine in the 16th and 17th centuries, medicine in fine literature, medicine in European colonial imperialism, medical missions, medicine and war, as well as medicine and politics in Germany from 1871 to 1945 (especially foreign Cultural Policy in the Weimar Republic and National Socialism).

Eckart was retired from October 1, 2017 and from then on concentrated his work on the Leopoldina. He died in August 2021 after a long, serious illness at the age of 69.


Publications (selection)

  • with Klaus Peter Pohl: The study of medicine and the subjects “Theory of Medicine” and “History of Medicine” in the judgment of the medical students. Results of a survey among the students of the Medical Faculty of the University of Munster in the winter semester 1975/76 (= Munster contributions to the history and theory of medicine. No. 12). Edited by Richard Toellner . Institute for Theory and History of Medicine at the University of Münster, 1976.
  • On the function of the image as a medium of science communication in the medical literature of the 17th century. In: Reports on the history of science. Volume 3, 1980, pp. 35-52.
  • History of medicine. Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg / New York 1990; 3rd, revised edition, 1998; 8th, revised edition: History, theory and ethics of medicine. Springer, Berlin 2017, ISBN 978-3-662-54659-8 .
  • Fighting leprosy and caring for lepers in the African “protected areas” of the Second German Empire, 1884–1914. Heggendruck, Leverkusen undated (1991?).
  • Medicine and Colonial Imperialism. Germany 1884–1945. Schöningh, Paderborn 1997, ISBN 3-506-72181-X .
  • with Robert Jütte : History of Medicine. An introduction (= UTB . 2903) Böhlau, Cologne 2007, ISBN 978-3-8252-2903-0 ; 2nd edition 2014, ISBN 978-3-8252-3927-5 .
  • Illustrated history of medicine. From the French Revolution to the present day. Springer, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-642-12609-3 .
  • Medicine in the Nazi dictatorship. Ideologies, practice, consequences. Böhlau, Vienna 2012, ISBN 978-3-412-20847-9 .
  • The wounds heal very nicely. Field postcards from the hospital 1914–1918. Steiner, Stuttgart 2013, ISBN 978-3-515-10459-3 .
  • Medicine and war. Germany 1914-1924. Schöningh, Paderborn 2014, ISBN 978-3-506-75677-0 .
  • Ferdinand Sauerbruch - master surgeon in the political storm. A compact biography for doctors and patients. Springer, Wiesbaden 2016, ISBN 978-3-658-12546-2 (print), ISBN 978-3-658-12547-9 (online).
  • Of commissioners and camels. Heinrich Zeiss - doctor and scout in the Soviet Union 1921–1931. Schöningh, Paderborn 2016, ISBN 978-3-506-78584-8 .
  • Byzantium. Guardian of knowledge. In: Medicine in the Middle Ages. Between empirical knowledge, magic and religion (= spectrum of sciences. Special: Archeology, History, Culture. Volume 2.19), 2019, pp. 20–27.


  • with Johanna Geyer-Cordesch: Health professions and sick people in the 17th and 18th centuries. The source and research situation. Burgverlag, Tecklenburg 1982, ISBN 3-922506-03-8 .
  • with Udo Benzenhöfer : Medicine in the feature film of National Socialism. Burgverlag, Tecklenburg 1990.
  • with Robert Jütte : The European Health System - Similarities and Differences from a Historical Perspective. Steiner, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-515-06485-0 .
  • with Christoph Gradmann : Doctors Lexicon. From antiquity to the present. Beck, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-406-37485-9 ; 3rd edition in 2006.
  • with Christoph Gradmann: Medicine and the First World War. Centaurus, Pfaffenweiler 1996, ISBN 978-3-8255-0066-5 (review by Achim Thom , 1999); 2nd edition 2003, ISBN 978-3-8255-0066-5 .
  • with Klaus Volkert: Hermann von Helmholtz - Lectures at a Heidelberg Symposium on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of his death. Centaurus, Pfaffenweiler 1996, ISBN 3-8255-0023-3 .
  • 100 Years of Organized Cancer Research. 100 years of organized cancer research. Thieme, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 978-3-13-105661-0 .
  • with Günter H. Seidler : Injured souls. Psychosozial-Verlag, Giessen 2005.
  • Men, Medicine and the State. The human body as an object of government sponsored medical research in the 20th century. Steiner, Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 3-515-08794-X .
  • with Volker Sellin , Eike Wolgast : The University of Heidelberg under National Socialism. Springer, Heidelberg 2006, ISBN 3-540-21442-9 .
  • with Alexander Neumann: Medicine in World War II. Schöningh, Paderborn 2006, ISBN 3-506-75652-4 .
  • with Anne Cottebrune: The Heidelberg Institute for Human Genetics. Prehistory and expansion (1962–2012). Festschrift for the 50th anniversary. Bartram, Heidelberg 2012, ISBN 978-3-00-039002-9 .
  • with Michael Anderheiden : Handbook of Dying and Human Dignity. 3 volumes. De Gruyter, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-11-024644-5 .
  • Jenner. Studies on the causes and effects of cowpox. Springer, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-642-41678-1 .
  • Rudolf Virchow and Gustav Adolph Spiess. Cellular pathology versus humoral and solidarity pathology. Springer, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-642-41680-4 .
  • with Rainer Godel: "War of the Learned" and the world of the academies 1914–1924 (= Acta Historica Leopoldina. Volume 68). Scientific publishing company, Stuttgart 2016, ISBN 978-3-8047-3612-2 .
  • with Robert Fox: Blockades of the Mind - Science, Academies, and the Aftermath of the Great War (= Acta historica Leopoldin. Volume 78). Scientific publishing company, Stuttgart 2021, ISBN 978-3-8047-4113-3 .
  • Series of publications on the modern history of medicine and science. Sources and Studies. Centaurus , various places of publication 1995 ff., ISSN  0949-2739 .


  • Cover text by: Wolfgang U. Eckart: History of Medicine. Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg / New York 1990; 3rd, revised edition, ibid 1998, ISBN 3-540-63756-7 , p. 430.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Dissertation: Fundamentals of medical-scientific knowledge with Daniel Sennert (1572–1637), examined on his work “De chymicorum ... liber”. Wittenberg 1629.
  2. ^ Habilitation thesis: German Doctors in China 1897–1914. Medicine as a cultural mission in the Second German Empire. Fischer, Stuttgart / New York 1989, ISBN 3-437-11227-9 .
  3. Member entry of Wolfgang U. Eckart (with picture and CV) at the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina , accessed on July 4, 2016.
  4. Wolfgang U. Eckart Prometheus, Monster, Puppet: The Idea of ​​Artificial Humans , SWR2 SWR2 Knowledge : Aula, swr.de , July 20, 2018