1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hoffmann, Friedrich

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HOFFMANN, FRIEDRICH (1660-1742), German physician, a member of a family that had been connected with medicine for 200 years before him, was born at Halle on the 19th of February 1660. At the gymnasium of his native town he acquired that taste for and skill in mathematics to which he attributed much of his after success. At the age of eighteen he went to study medicine at Jena, whence in 1680 he passed to Erfurt, in order to attend Kasper Cramer's lectures on chemistry. Next year, returning to Jena, he received his doctor's diploma, and, after publishing a thesis, was permitted to teach. Constant study then began to tell on his health, and in 1682, leaving his already numerous pupils, he proceeded to Minden in Westphalia to recruit himself, at the request of a relative who held a high position in that town. After practising at Minden for two years, Hoffmann made a journey to Holland and England, where he formed the acquaintance of many illustrious chemists and physicians. Towards the end of 1684 he returned to Minden, and during the next three years he received many flattering appointments. In 1688 he removed to the more promising sphere of Halberstadt, with the title of physician to the principality of Halberstadt; and on the founding of Halle university in 1693, his reputation, which had been steadily increasing, procured for him the primarius chair of medicine, while at the same time he was charged with the responsible duty of framing the statutes for the new medical faculty. He filled also the chair of natural philosophy. With the exception of four years (1708-1712), which he passed at Berlin in the capacity of royal physician, Hoffmann spent the rest of his life at Halle in instruction, practice and study, interrupted now and again by visits to different courts of Germany, where his services procured him honours and rewards. His fame became European. He was enrolled a member of many learned societies in different foreign countries, while in his own he became privy councillor. He died at Halle on the 12th of November 1742.

Of his numerous writings a catalogue is to be found in Haller's Bibliotheca medicinae practicae. The chief is Medicina rationalis systematica, undertaken at the age of sixty, and published in 1730. It was translated into French in 1739, under the title of Médecine raisonnée d'Hoffmann. A complete edition of Hoffmann's works, with a life of the author, was published at Geneva in 1740, to which supplements were added in 1753 and 1760. Editions appeared also at Venice in 1745 and at Naples in 1753 and 1793. (See also Medicine.)