August Forel (1848-1931): A look at his life and work

Stephen Osiro, Jerzy Gielecki, Petru Matusz, Mohammadali M. Shoja, R. Shane Tubbs, Marios Loukas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Dr. August Henri Forel was a world-renowned psychiatrist, neuroanatomist, myrmecologist, social reformer, and promoter of world peace. His collected works (1907) included a description of what is now known as the tegmental fields of Forel and the zona incerta. In 1887, he described the cellular functional units within the brain, setting the foundation for what would later become known as the neuron theory. He also studied the thalamus and hypothalamus and gave detailed descriptions of the trigeminal, vagus, and hypoglossal nerves. His work was honored with the naming of the ventral tegmental decussation after him. Forel battled alcoholism and dedicated his work to numerous social reforms as well as advocating for world peace. As a devoted pacifist, he attempted to bring the First World War to a close. A decade before he died, Forel became a member of the Baha'i Faith and was a founding influence for the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha'is of Switzerland. His image has appeared on Swiss postage stamps and 1,000 Franc bank notes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalChild's Nervous System
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • August Forel
  • Neuroanatomy research
  • Neuron theory
  • Social reforms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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