Niels Ryberg Finsen

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Finsen, Niels Ryberg

(nēls rü`bĕr fĭn`sən), 1860–1904, Danish physician. He established in Copenhagen an institute of light therapy and wrote several books on his work. He received the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his method of treating disease, especially lupus vulgaris, with ultraviolet light.

Finsen, Niels Ryberg


Born Dec. 15, 1860, in Thorshavn, Faroe Islands; died Sept. 24, 1904, in Copenhagen. Danish physiotherapist; originator of scientific research on phototherapy.

Finsen graduated from the medical faculty of the University of Copenhagen in 1890. He was the founder and director (1896–1904) of the institute of phototherapy in Copenhagen. His works dealt with the physiological effect of light on organisms. The results of his research formed the basis for the therapeutic use of light. In 1903, Finsen was awarded a Nobel Prize for his contribution to the study of the biological effects of ultraviolet rays and their therapeutic use, particularly in tuberculosis of the skin.


La Photothérapie. Paris, 1899.
Meddelelser [nos.] 1–10. Copenhagen, 1899–1906.
Om bekaempelse af lupus vulgaris. Copenhagen, 1902.


Aggebo, A. Niels Finsen. Zürich, 1947.