Richard Goldschmidt

Picture of Richard Goldschmidt

Date of Birth: 04/12/1878

Age: 80

Place of birth: Frankfurt

Citizenship: United States


Goldschmidt was born in Frankfurt to a Jewish family. Since 1899 he studied zoology, and medicine at the University of Heidelberg. In 1903 he received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. In 1909 he became a professor at Munich University, but left it in 1914 to head the section of genetics in the newly founded Institute of Biology of Kaiser Wilhelm.

Start of the First World War caught him in Japan, which did not allow him to return to Germany, and he was forced to go to the United States, where he was in the camp of "unreliable Germans." In 1919 Goldschmidt returned to Germany, but in 1935, under pressure of the Nazi regime was again forced to leave and continued to work at the University of Berkeley.

Evolutionary views

Pursuing gender genetics studies have gypsy moth Goldschmidt for two decades remained a staunch Darwinist. However, as a result of these studies, he concluded that intraspecific variation does not lead to the formation of new taxa, and natural selection is only able to remove unsuccessful mutants. According to Goldschmidt himself in his autobiography, around 1932, the ninth year it has come to a new understanding of the mechanisms of speciation. Now he saw such systemic mutations that called macromutation. In 1940 in New Haven published his widely known book "The material basis of evolution", mainly dedicated to genetic reasons, macroevolution, and all of its contents the book was directed against Darwinism.

Goldschmidt also described the nematode nervous system, a part of these studies later pushed Sydney Brenner to use species Caenorhabditis elegans as a model to study developmental biology, including neuronal development.