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Gunther Von Hagens
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Doctor
    (January 10, 1945- )
    Born in Skalmierzyce, Poland
    Birth name was Gunther Liebchen
    German anatomist
    Developed plastination, a technique for preserving biological specimens by replacing water and fat with plastics (1977)
    Presented 'Body Worlds' an exhibition of whole and dissected plastinated bodies (1995)
    Co-hosted the British TV series 'Anatomy for Beginners' (2005), 'Autopsy: Life and Death' (2006), 'Autopsy: Emergency Room' (2007) and 'Crucifixion' (2012)
    After divorcing his first wife, he decided to adopt her noble-sounding last name as his own.
    He developed plastination in a secret lab, with an entrance hidden behind a movable staircase.
    In the early days of plastination, he used a deli meat slicer to cut organs into even sections.
    Some 'Body Works' displays have been criticized as being in poor taste, most notably one of two corpses engaged in sex.
    He has tried to sue other shows featuring preserved bodies, claiming copyright infringement.
    He returned seven bodies to China after the magazine 'Der Spiegel' accused him of using the corpses of executed Chinese prisoners (2004).
    He has been nicknamed 'Dr. Death' in the tabloids.
    Is he trying to educate the public on anatomy or assembling an army of the dead that he will one day re-animate and use to take over the world? (Probably the former, but still...)
    He develped an interest in medicine as a child when he was hospitalized for six months after an injury complicated by hemophilia.
    While living in East Germany, he took part in student protests against the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops.
    He spent two years in prison after unsuccessfully trying to cross the border to the West (1968-70).
    His plastination technique is useful for creating teaching tools for medical and dental schools.
    The various 'Body Works' exhibitions have received more than 25 million visitors over the years.
    An investigation by the California Science Center concluded that all the bodies on exhibit at 'Body Worlds' came from donors who gave informed consent (2004).
    'Discover' magazine said about Body Worlds, 'The total effect is engrossing, yet somehow never gross.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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