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Knut Schmidt-Nielsen (September 24, 1915 – January 25, 2007) was a prominent figure in the field of comparative physiology and Professor of Physiology Emeritus at Duke University.



Born in Trondheim, Norway. He was educated in Oslo and Copenhagen. He became a student in the laboratory of August Krogh in Copenhagen in 1937. Schmidt-Nielsen moved to the United States, where he studied at Swarthmore College, Stanford University, and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. [1]


Schmidt-Nielsen published over 275 scientific papers, received the International Prize for Biology and wrote the authoritative text on animal physiology. Schmidt-Nielsen is widely recognized as having made significant contributions to ecophysiology, as well as considered "the father of comparative physiology and integrative biology".[2] He came to Duke University in 1952 and became a James B. Duke Professor in the Department of Biology. He became a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences. [3]

In 1980, Knut Schmidt-Nielsen was elected President of the International Union of Physiological Sciences. He was the founding editor of News in Physiological Sciences. He was a member of both the Royal Society of London and of the French Academy of Sciences. Next to the Biological Science building on Duke's campus is a statue of Schmidt-Nielson looking at a camel, honoring his discovery that a camel stores fat in its hump to serve as a water and energy supply.[4]


  • The Camel's Nose: Memoirs Of A Curious Scientist ISBN 978-1559635127
  • Animal Physiology: Adaptation and Environment ISBN 978-0521570985
  • How Animals Work ISBN 978-0521096928
  • Scaling: Why is Animal Size so Important? ISBN 0-521-31987-0


  1. ^ Knut Schmidt-Nielsen. September 24, 1915 - January 24, 2007 (Journal of Experimental Biology 210: 1299-1301, 2007) [1]
  2. ^ Science, 9 February 2007, p.745
  3. ^ In memoriam Knut Schmidt-Nielsen (The Journal of Expermential Biology)[2]
  4. ^ In Memoriam: Knut Schmidt-Nielsen (September 24, 1915-January 25, 2007) (Seed Media Group)[3]

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