Wilhelm August Oscar Hertwig (1849-1922)
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Wilhelm August Oscar Hertwig contributed to embryology through his studies of cells in development and his discovery that only one spermatozoon is necessary to fertilize an egg. He was born 21 April 1849 to Elise Trapp and Carl Hertwig in Hessen, Germany. After his brother Richard was born the family moved to Muhlhausen in Thuringen where the boys were educated. The two brothers later attended the university in Jena from 1868 to 1888 and studied under Ernst Haeckel, who later convinced Hertwig to leave chemistry and pursue medicine. Hertwig became an assistant professor of anatomy at Jena in 1878 and full professor three years later. He was the first chair of both cytology and embryology in Berlin from 1888 to 1921 and director of the new Anatomical-Biological Institute there. Hertwig also became a member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin and the Leopoldina Academy in Jena.