Austrian neurologist; born at Eisenstadt, Hungary, July 6, 1835. Upon his graduation from the University of Vienna, where he had prepared himself for his professional career under Hyrtl, Brücke, Skoda, Oppolzer, Arlt, and Rokitansky, he received, in 1859, the degree of doctor of medicine and surgery; and immediately enlisted in the Austrian army—the war then going on with France and Italy demanding the services of surgeon-volunteers. At the close of the campaign that was so disastrous to Austria, Benedikt was appointed privat-docent at the University of Vienna, first delivering lectures on electrotherapeutics and later adding a course on neuropathy.
In the mean time, in 1866, Austria became involved in another war, this time with Prussia and Italy, and Benedikt again volunteered his services to the army. At the conclusion of that short butbloody contest which resulted in the establishment of the dual state of Austria-Hungary, Benedikt, who took an active part in the reorganization of the Democratic party in Cisleithania (that is, Austria as distinct from Hungary), was, in 1868, offered a chair of neurology at the University of Vienna. He has remained in that position to the present time, serving also as chief of one of the departments of the policlinic of the Austrian metropolis.A Pioneer Criminologist.
The greater part of Benedikt's professional work appertains undoubtedly to the domains of neuropathy and electrotherapeutics, but while his investigations in this special field form an important addition to the progress of medicine, and would alone entitle him to a prominent position in the medical world, they in no way overshadow his researches in other lines, especially his important psychological and anthropological studies with regard to criminals. Indeed, it may be said that he is one of the pioneers of modern criminology, which seeks to base its theories directly on anthropological and psychological data.
Among his contributions to the study and treatment of nervous diseases the following deserve first mention: "Electrotherapie," Vienna, 1868; and "Nervenpathologie und Electrotherapie," Leipsic, 1874-75—two treatises embodying the lectures delivered by Benedikt at the University of Vienna. In the field of psychology, both normal and pathological, two works from his pen have met with marked success; namely, "Seelenkunde des Menschen" (also translated into Polish) and "Hypnotismus und Suggestion" (also in Italian).
Among his anthropological studies dealing for the greater part with craniometric and cranioscopic investigations, especially with regard to criminals, may be mentioned "Kraniometrie und Kephalometrie" (also in French). Another important contribution to modern criminology—namely, his "Anatomische Studien an Verbrechergehirnen," Vienna, 1876—has been translated into English under the title "Studies on the Brains of Criminals."Wide Range of Contributions.
Besides the above-named larger works, Benedikt has contributed a great number of important papers on anthropology; on normal, comparative, and pathological anatomy; on physiology and neurology; on normal, pathological, and criminal psychology; on ophthalmology and otiatrics. Among these contributions, scattered throughout various periodical publications, the following are noteworthy:Ophthalmology, Otiatrics, Physics.
"Experimentelle Studien über die Wirkung von Jod, etc., auf's Nervensystem," in "Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft der Aerzte," Vienna, 1861; "Beiträge zur Neuropathologischen Casuistik," in "Deutsches Archiv für Klinische Medicin," ix. and xiii.; "Zur Pathologischen Anatomie der Lyssa," in "Virchow's Archiv," lxiv., lxxii. (and in the "Wiener Medic. Presse," 1874); "Ueber die Innervation des Plex. Choroid. Inf.," ib., lix.; "Zur Lehre der Entzündlichen Kernwucherung," in "Centralbl. für Medic. Wissensch.," 1874; "Zur Lehre des Raubthiertypus am Menschlichen Gehirne," ib. 1876; "Der Hinterhauptstypus der Säugethiere," ib. 1877; "Zur Frage des Vierwindungstypus," ib. 1880; "Ueber Lymphorrhagie in Granulardesintegration," in "Mittheilungen des Aerztlichen Vereins," Vienna, 1874; "Ueber Katalepsie und Mesmerismus," im "Wiener Klinik," 1880; "Zur Lehre von der Localisation der Gehirnfunctionen," ib. 1883; "Die Elektricität in der Medicin," ib. 1884; Ueber Einige Grundformeln des Neuropathologischen Denkens," ib. 1886. A number of important papers, which have appeared in the pages of the "Wiener Medic. Presse," between the years 1869 and 1882, deal with neuropathic cases observed by Benedikt, and with electrotherapeutic methods, either demonstrated or invented by him. Among his contributions to ophthalmology and otiatrics should be mentioned: "Studien über Augenmuskellähmungen," in "Gräfe's Archiv," vol. x.; "Der Daltonismus bei Sehnervenatrophie," ib.; "Die Theorie der Neurotinotis," in "Pester Medic. Presse," 1867; "Hörnerven," in "Wiener Medic. Presse," 1870.
Benedikt has also labored in the field of pure physics, and among the many papers that have appeared over his name in the "Sitzungsberichte der Wiener K. K. Akademie der Wissenschaften" for 1857 are: "Ueber die Aenderung des Magnetismus Durch Reibungselectricität" and "Ueber die Abhängigkeit des Electrischen Leitungswiderstandes von der Grösse und Dauer des Stromes." In the second of these papers the author announces, for the first time, the fact discovered by him, that the resistance of a conductor is affected by the current itself.Politics, Ethics, Literature.
In the midst of his various professional duties and extensive scientific research, Benedikt found time to write on social and political questions of the day, and on moral philosophy and esthetics—his articles appearing in French, Italian, and English, as well as in German. At the beginning of his professional career Benedikt devoted himself to the study of modern literature, and his first published work was one on dramatic art in Austria, written while he was still a medical student at the university, entitled "Studien über Oesterreichische Dramatische Dichter," Vienna, 1854. Benedikt is a champion of woman's rights, and was the first male president of the Verein für Erweiterte Frauenbildung in Vienna. His valuable professional services have been recognized by different governments as well as by numerous scientific bodies. A recipient of the degree of LL.D. (honoris causa) from several prominent universities, he has also been decorated with various orders and crosses. He is corresponding member of the academies of medicine of Paris and of Rome, and member of a great many medical and scientific societies in Europe and the United States.
- Biographisches Lexikon der Hervorragenden Aerzte Aller Zeiten und Völker, edited by Wernich and Hirsch, Vienna and Leipsic, 1884-88;
- Ludwig Eisenberg, in Das Geistige Wien, Vienna, 1893;
- and private sources.