Carl von Rokitansky

Today in Mailbox: reception reports and QSL cards, Radio Prague’s anniversary, answers to listeners’ monthly quiz. Listeners/readers quoted: Andrew Kuznetsov, Alfred Spremo, Richard Lemke, John Sivertsen, Li Ming, Shahzad Shabbir, Eyamin Hossain, Hans Verner Lollike, Syed Khizar Hayat Shah, Mary Lou Krenek.

Příbram - Mining Museum,  photo: CzechTourism
Hello and welcome to Mailbox, Radio Prague’s monthly listeners’ feedback programme. Thank you very much for your questions, views and comments, as well as your reception reports – we are always interested to know how you listen to our broadcasts. For example Andrew Kuznetsov in Latvia, Alfred Spremo in New York and Richard Lemke in Canada all listen to us on shortwave on the WRMI transmitted from Okeechobbee, Florida. They have recently sent us their reception reports and Radio Prague’s QSL cards featuring technical monuments of the Czech Republic are on their way to their respective homes.

John Sivertsen from Alaska sent us this lovely note:

“I am getting ready to celebrate the anniversary of your radio from 31 August 1936. My grandmother's family live in Bohemia. Two years ago I vacationed in the Czech Republic. I look forward to playing some Czech music on the public radio show which I host on Monday 31 August. Best regards to your wonderful country, proud heritage, and great radio station.”

Thank you very much for your messages and Facebook comments and let’s now move on to our monthly quiz, traditionally featuring outstanding personalities of Czech origin. As usual we received many answers to last month’s question from around the world, all of them correct this time.

Li Ming from China wrote:

Carl von Rokitansky
“The person you are looking for this month is Carl von Rokitansky, who was a distinguished Viennese pathologist and described as a founder of modern pathological anatomy. He was one of the towering figures who made the New Vienna School into a world medical centre in the second half of the nineteenth century. His contributions were fundamental to the establishment of pathology as a recognised science, and he himself performed more than 30,000 autopsies. He was one of the few who stood by the side of Semmelweis in the controversy over aseptic methods.”

Shahzad Shabbir from Pakistan writes:

“He was the first person to show bacteria in lesions of bacterial endocarditis and to distinguish between lobar and bronchopneumonia. He gave an outstanding account of yellow atrophy of the liver, naming that disorder in 1843. He gave the first descriptions of spondylolithesis and the pelvic deformations which result there from in 1839, first described acute dilatation of the stomach in 1842, and differentiated Bright's disease from amyloid degeneration of the kidney. He wrote an outstanding monograph on the diseases of arteries and on congenital defects of the heart.”

Eyamin Hossain from India sent us this:

“The mystery person in this month is Baron Carl von Rokitansky. He was born on 19 February, 1804. He was a multi-talented personality. By profession, he was a physician, pathologist, humanist philosopher and liberal politician. Carl von Rokitansky was born in Hradec Králové, Bohemia. He studied at the Charles University in Prague in between 1821 and 1824 and attained a doctorate degree in medicine on 6 March 1828 at the University of Vienna. Soon afterwards he became assistant to Johann Wagner.”

This is Rokitansky’s short biography sent to us by Hans Verner Lollike from Denmark:

“He was born in 1804 in the East Bohemian city of Hradec Králové. He died in 1878 in Vienna .He studied medicine at the Charles University and got his final degree at the University of Vienna. He worked his whole life at the same university as a specialist in pathological anatomy, first as an assistant, then as an esteemed professor. He was the founder of the second school of medicine in Vienna – showing new scientific relations between the body and illnesses. He developed a method of autopsy which consisted mainly of in situ dissection. Rokitansky is said to have supervised 70,000 autopsies, and personally performed over 30,000, averaging two a day, seven days a week, for 45 years. The Emperor gave him a seat in the Upper House in Vienna. He had three famous sons: two professors and one artist.”

Carl von Rokitansky
Syed Khizar Hayat Shah from Pakistan also concentrated on Rokitansky’s offspring:

“Two of Rokitansky's sons became professors at Vienna, one of astronomy and another of medicine, while a third gained distinction on the lyric stage and another as a composer.”

Mary Lou Krenek from Texas writes:

“Rokitansky defended the ‘materialistc method’ in scientific research but rejected materialism as a philosophical world view. He led along with his colleagues the changed notion of medicine as a branch of natural philosophy to the modern notion of it being a science.

“By his leading positions in the most diverse academic and political institutions of the Austrian Empire, Rokitansky helped shape the era of Austrian high liberalism. He represented liberalism among the educated middle class and strove for freedom and progress for university reform and to the improvement of health sciences.”

Thank you very much for your answers and this time the Radio Prague prize goes to Mohamed Elsayed Abd Elraheim from Egypt. Congratulations! And a new question follows:

In September we are asking you to send us the name of the Czech figure skater born in 1931 in Prague who left communist Czechoslovakia during the 1950 World Championships in London. She passed away on the 30 of July this year in New York City, at the age of 84.

Please send us the name of this outstanding lady, who was in 2009 inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame, by September 30th to the usual address That is also the address for your questions, comments and reception reports. Mailbox will be back in four weeks’ time. Until then happy listening.