The Man Who Made The World Unique

Czech Scientist Jan Evangelista Purkyne

When we think Purkyneof the world of criminology and crime scene Investigations, we instantly think of Sherlock Holmes or any of the modern great crime shows we all know and love. We’re sure you’ve heard of Bones, any of the C.S.I. series, or even N.C.I.S.. But, did you know none of them would exist without of the famous work of Czech scientist Jan Evangelista Purkyne? He was one of the best known scientists of his day, with his most pioneering works in anatomy and physiology. Known for not only discovering “Purkinje cells” in the cerebellium/Brain in 1837, only two years later he discovered the ”Purkinje Fibres” of the heart. He also found time to coin the term “Protoplasm” during 1839.

If we were to list all of Jan Evangelista Purkyne’s modestly named contributions, we’d be here all day. If you do want to know more about the man himself. His wikipedia page linked above is a great place to start. Or for Czech speakers, here’s a short video.


While lecturing as Professor of anatomy in the University of Breslau in 1823, Perkyne wrote a paper discussing the 9 patterns of Fingerprints. Although his thesis doesn’t mention the potential use of using prints to identify people, it is ultimately what it lead to. It was 20 years later that Scotland Yard first used the technique while investigating the murder of Lord William Russell. Then in 1886, a scottish surgeon refined the technique and introduced it to the metropolitan police in London.Next week our Czech scientist will be Jan Janský – any guesses what he’s famous for?

And if you missed last week’s post on Semtex and sugar cubes, here’s what you missed 🙂


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