Gunther von Hagens
Gunther von Hagens
Inventor of plastination & creator of BODY WORLDS
Genius & Trailblazer
Dr. Gunther von Hagens is a physician, scientist, inventor and a forward thinker who has made the anatomy of the human body accessible to a wide audience in an unprecedented way.
“Gunther von Hagens is a trailblazer, and I would even call him a daredevil. He is an intellectual adventurer. He never stands still but instead tries little by little to push the boundaries further and further by taking one small step at a time. Boundary-pushers are essential for the development of society. If no one risks failure, nothing new is attempted and there would be no development, only stagnation and decay. Progress is possible only if the familiar is occasionally called into question. Sometimes taboos need to be broken to allow creativity to thrive.”
Franz Josef Wetz
Professor of Philosophy
“The anatomist is usually assigned a specific role ¬– he is forced in his daily work to reject the taboos and convictions that people have about death and the dead. I myself am not controversial, but my exhibitions are, because I am asking the visitors to transcend their fundamental beliefs and convictions about our common and inescapable fate.
I hope for the exhibitions to be places of enlightenment and contemplation, even of philosophical and religious self-recognition, and open to interpretation regardless of the background and philosophy of the beholder.”
Gunther von Hagens
The main stations at a glance
born in Alt-Skalden (today Skalmierzyce, Poland).
Studied medicine at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena in the GDR (East Germany).
Became a political prisoner in the GDR after a failed attempt to flee the republic in January 1969. Had freedom purchased by the Federal Republic of Germany in August 1970.
Continuation of medical studies and graduation from the University of Lübeck.
Doctorate from the Department of Anaesthesia and Emergency Medicine at the University of Heidelberg.
Lecturer and research assistant at the Anatomical Institute of the University of Heidelberg.
Invention of plastination as part of his research work at the Institute of Pathology and Anatomy at the University of Heidelberg.
Founding of BIODUR® Products, a company for specialty plastics and equipment for plastination.
Registration and granting of patents in various countries. In the early 1980’s Gunther von Hagens initiated the first body donation programme for plastination.
Creation of the first full body plastinate.
Foundation of the privately-run Institute for Plastination.
Creation of the first public BODY WORLDS exhibition together with curator Dr. Angelina Whalley.
Termination of work at the University of Heidelberg.
Visiting professorship at the Faculty of Dentistry of New York University.
Foundation of Gubener Plastinate GmbH with an attached PLASTINARIUM, the world’s largest centre of excellence for plastination.
The completion of elephant cow Samba, the largest plastinate in the world, leads to the creation of the ANIMAL INSIDE OUT exhibition.
Public notice of his Parkinson’s disease.
2010 & 2011
Awarded the Health Media Awardfor Best Science Communication.
Honoured by the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), an international association of 650 science museums, for his life’s work and his outstanding contribution to the teaching of science to a lay audience.
Opening of permanent BODY WORLDS exhibitions in Berlin, Amsterdam, Heidelberg and London, conceived and designed by Dr Angelina Whalley.
To this day, Gunther von Hagens is involved in many projects, in particular the further development and perfection of plastination, special plastics and process engineering.