Rudolph Bergh

Rudolph Bergh

Image of Rudolph Bergh by Peder Severin Krøyer in 1894
Born (1824-10-15)15 October 1824
Copenhagen, Denmark
Died 20 July 1909(1909-07-20) (aged 84)
Copenhagen, Denmark
Nationality Danish
Fields medicine and malacology
Bust of Rudolph Bergh made by Peder Severin Krøyer is in Copenhagen.

Rudolph Bergh (October 15, 1824 – July 20, 1909), full name Ludvig Sophus Rudolph Bergh, was a Danish physician and malacologist. He worked in Copenhagen.

As a doctor his speciality was sexually transmitted diseases. In Copenhagen a hospital and a street are named after him.

Bergh was also an active malacologist, i.e. a zoologist who studies molluscs, in particular the nudibranchs, shell-less marine gastropods. He had well over 90 publications in this field and took part in a scientific expedition to Indonesia. He named and described numerous species of nudibranchs.


Rudolph Bergh was born in Copenhagen. His father was the son of the chief physician in the army of Louis Anton Berg. His mother was Anne Sophie Kirstine (maiden name Pedersen). Bergh graduated from the Det von Westenske Institut in 1842, and received his medical degree in 1849.

Dr. Rudolph Bergh became an attending physician at what was then Almindeligt Hospital, the general hospital in Amaliegade, Copenhagen, in 1863. He worked in the department of skin diseases and venereal diseases. In 1886 he moved from there to Vestre Hospital, where he worked until 1903.

Bergh died in 1909. One year after his death, Vestre Hospital was renamed Rudolph Bergh Hospital in honor of his memory.[1] At that hospital, anyone who wished to could be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, and get advice on safe sex and birth control without any change and while retaining their anonymity. In 2000, some of these functions were transferred to Bispebjerg Hospital.

There is a bust of Bergh in Copenhagen, in front of the eponymous "Rudolph Bergh's Hospital", on Tietgensgade.[2] The bust was a gift from his colleagues and stood for years in his home. After his death Bergh's widow donated it to the hospital.

Bergh was awarded a knighthood of the Third Class Order (Ridder af Dannebrog) of Order of the Dannebrog and also the Dannebrogordenens Hæderstegn (Cross of Honour of the Order of the Dannebrog).[3]

In Copenhagen there is a street named in honor of him: Rudolph Berghs Gade (in English: Rudolph Bergh's Street) in Ydre Østerbro.

His son Rudolph Sophus Bergh (September 22, 1859 - December 7, 1924) was a zoologist and a composer.[3]

As a physician

His medical specialization was sexually transmitted diseases.[2] Among the many texts that Rudolph Bergh wrote was About Tattoos in the public woman, which was published in the Hospital Journal in 1891. The work is about connections between prostitution, crime and tattoos. The article seems antiquated today and should not be taken as the sole expression of Rudolph Bergh great efforts to improve public health and in particular reduce the harmful effects of sexually transmitted diseases.

Bergh was also one of the editors of the hospital magazine Hospitalstidende, where he published nearly all of his over 50 medical articles.[3]

As a zoologist

Bergh started to study molluscs when he was nearly 30, probably under the influence of Japetus Steenstrup, a Danish biologist who was 11 years older than he was and who was a professor of zoology at the University of Copenhagen.[3]

He wrote reports of the Challenger expedition (1884) and the Albatross expedition (1894).[3] He took part in the examination of species that were collected during the "Siboga Expedition".[4]

Bergh became the world's leading expert on nudibranchs. He wrote his main malacological works as well as over 90 malacological articles and papers.[3] Among other notable works are his work about the anatomy of the radula of the genus Conus (1896).[5] His malacological drawing are considered to be "excellent".[3] He was mainly anatomist and reached great progress in systematics based on anatomy of nervous system and of reproductive system of gastropods.[3] Bergh was very active in naming and describing species of nudibranchs and other sea slugs. The species he named include:

The nudibranch genus Berghia was named after him by Salvatore Trinchese in 1877.

His colleague and friend was German ethnologist and animal ecologist Carl Semper.[5]

See also



This article incorporates Creative Commons (CC-BY-SA) text from Danish Wikipedia from 5 January 2010.

  1. (Danish) Zachariae H. (2007). "Sophus Engelsted og Rudolph Bergh". Ugeskrift for Læger 169(35): 2864. PDF
  2. 1 2 Dr Rudolph Bergh (1824-1909), accessed 4 December 2008.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Schlesch H. (1946). "Rudolph Bergh". Journal of Conchology 22(9): 225-226. English translation
  4. Michael D. Miller. 1999. Nudi branch of the Week is Phyllodesmium longicirra. The Slug Site, accessed 4 December 2008.
  5. 1 2 Dall W. H. (October 1909). "Ludwig Rudolph Sophus Bergh". The Nautilus 23(5): 72.

Further reading

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