Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Armauer Hansen (1841–1912)


DR. GERHARD HENDRIK ARMAUER, HANSEN, the celebrated Norwegian leprologist, was born at Bergen on July 29, 1841. He received his medical education at Christiania and qualified in 1866. Two years later he was appointed assistant physician to the leprosy home at Bergen under the direction of Dr. D. C. Danielssen, the founder of the scientific study of leprosy. In 1874 he read a paper before the Medical Society of Christiania, which was published in a special number of the Norsk Magazin for Laegevid–enskaben on the etiology of leprosy in which he demolished the theory of heredity, brought forward evidence in favour of its being a specific infectious disease, and described rod–like bodies in the lesions, which he afterwards named B. leprce and regarded as the cause of the disease. His results were confirmed by Prof. Neisser of Breslau, who went to Bergen to examine Hansen's material. Hanson's contention that leprosy was an infectious, disease was generally accepted, and led to laws being passed enforcing isolation and disinfection as in the case of other infectious diseases, with the result that the number of lepers in Norway showed a considerable diminution. Hansen received many honours, including the doctorate of the University of Copenhagen and the erection of his statue in the gardens of the Bergen Museum eleven years before his death, which took place on February 13, 1912.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Armauer Hansen (1841–1912). Nature 148, 110–111 (1941).

Download citation


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing