Inspiring People in Neurosciences Webinar - Prof. Cécile Vogt

2 Jul 2022 13:00 to 14:30


„Cécile Vogt was the first woman to achieve world fame in the field of brain research“. This sentence ends an obituary that appeared in a daily newspaper in May 1962.

The internationally renowned brain researcher, born in France in 1875, was a brilliant and courageous woman with an unconventional life. Together with her partner in life and research, Oskar Vogt, with whom she worked for more than 60 years, she succeeded to reach a globally recognized position in the conservative, male-dominated world of neuroscience.

Cécile Vogt was well connected in the international scientific community, cooperated with renowned experts from all over the world, and together with Oskar set up the world's largest and most modern brain research institute of its time in Berlin – sponsored inter alia by the Krupp family. She also supported female scientists to the best of her ability.

In the “Third Reich”, Cécile was expelled from the Berlin institute, her life’s work, together with Oskar, as a political opponent and had to start anew in a smoll private institute in the Black Forest. Again and again she got up after setbacks, and again and again she had to fight - also with West German administrative and scientific networks, which soon after 1945 were again dominated by the elites already active in the Nazi era. Cécile got caught up in the frontlines of the Cold War.

After her death in 1962, the famous researcher was largely forgotten, although she left behind a comprehensive scientific work. The exciting biography of this unusual woman not only reflects the main political events of her time, it also shows the major discourses and developments in neuroscience in the first half of the 20th century: from the importance of hypnosis to the debate on repression vs. dysamnesia, from the mind-body problem to eugenic concepts, from the mapping of the cerebral cortex to the role of the thalamus, from therapeutic nihilism to the idea of ​​targeted medical intervention in the brain.


Inspiring people in Neurosciences

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