Marie and August Krogh, 1904.
AK, as his loved ones and associates affectionately knew him, was born in Denmark in 1874. He was a brilliant child and by the time he completed his formal education he had taught himself English, French and German in order to read and publish scientific papers in those languages. His contemporaries and associates include Bohr, Haldane, Hasselbalch, Starling, Banting, McLeod and Best. His achievements in science are so numerous that they cannot all be listed here.
AK showed that the blood flow in the capillaries has to be regulated through a mechanism that opens and closes the capillaries according to the tissue’s need for oxygen. This idea and his scientific proof were at the time so new and revolutionary that he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1920. His fame in Denmark and all over the world continued to grow until his death in 1949.
His scientific discoveries extended from respiration, exercise physiology and capillary physiology into comparative osmoregulation, isotope studies, active transport of ions in plants and animals, and finally insect flight. After insulin’s discovery by Banting, Best and McLeod, AK introduced it’s production in Denmark in 1922. This saved numerous lives as well as the life of his own wife who had recently developed diabetes. He was the founder of Denmark’s Novo-Nordisk, the largest producer of insulin in the world today.
Krogh’s wife, Marie, became a physician and a renowned scientist in her own right. Throughout their harmonious marriage and partnership, Marie played an important role in her husband’s life both scientifically and personally. Here are a few of AK’s other accomplishments: 1904 – Was the first to predict global warming based on changes in CO2 in seawater and coal usage in industrialized nations. 1908 – Developed reliable methods and instrumentation for measuring gas tension, particularly O2 and CO2, in fluids. 1910 – Proved that gas exchange in the lungs occurred by diffusion. Until this time the scientific consensus was that gases exchanged primarily by excretion and secretion.
Perfusion Theory is an educational platform for the Oxygen Pressure Field Theory (OPFT). August Krogh’s theoretical concept of the oxygen pressure field is explained and then applied to clinical applications in perfusion practice.