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Prof. Angelo Mosso (1846–1910)


THE foremost Italian physiologist of his time and generation, Angelo Mosso, who was born in Chieri, Piedmont, on May 30 a hundred years ago, was a student of Moritz Schiff of Florence, Carl Ludwig of Leipzig and Claude Bernard of Paris. In 1878 he was appointed to the chair of physiology at Turin (where he had graduated M.D. eight years previously), which he held until his death from diabetes at the comparatively early age of sixty-four. An indefatigable and original investigator and a popular teacher, his school became a physiological Mecca, where he trained men such as Aducco, Fano, Patrizi, Treves and Herlitzka. Master of a facile pen, among his best-known books are “La paura” (1884), “La fatica” (1891), “La fisiologia dell'uomo sulle Alpi” (1897), and “Mens sana in corpore sano” (1903). Mosso's name is attached to the 'ergograph' which he invented in 1890 for recording voluntary contraction, and to the Istitute Angelo Mosso on the top of Monte Rosa, some 9,000 ft. above sea-level, the scene of some of his most original work. Here he studied the phenomena of respiration at altitudes above the snow-line. His acapnia theory (1897) that mountain-sickness is caused by the increased washing out of carbon dioxide from the blood in the lungs was later corrected by Haldane, Douglas and Bar-croft. Mosso's contributions to physiology were characterized by versatility and exceptional technical skill. An apostle of physical exercise, he founded football clubs on English lines.

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Prof. Angelo Mosso (1846–1910). Nature 157, 689–690 (1946).

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