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Histochem Cell Biol. 1998 May-Jun;109(5-6):425-30.

Camillo Golgi and the discovery of the Golgi apparatus.

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Institut für die Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, Mathematik und Technik, Universität Hamburg, Germany.


Camillo Golgi (1843-1926) was born at Corteno, near Brescia, in northern Italy. After graduating in Medicine at the ancient University of Pavia, the former seat of great scientists and naturalists, Golgi continued a long-standing Italian tradition by studying the histology of the nervous system. While working as a modest physician at Abbiategrasso, a small town near Pavia, he developed a silver-osmium technique, the "reazione nera" (black reaction), for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1906. In the late 1890's, 25 years after the publication of his black reaction and while Professor of General Pathology in Pavia, Golgi noticed a fine internal network in only partially silver-osmium-blackened Purkinje cells. Following confirmation by his assistant Emilio Veratti, Golgi published the discovery, called the "apparato reticolare interno", in the Bollettino della Società medico-chirurgica di Pavia in 1898, which is now considered the birthday of the "Golgi apparatus". The discovery of the Golgi apparatus can be added to the long list of accidental discoveries. The man after whom it is named was not a cytologist engaged in studying the inner structure of the cell, but a pathologist searching to prove a neuroanatomical theory.

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