BáRány, Robert

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BÁRÁNY, ROBERT (1876–1936), Austrian otologist and Nobel Prize winner. Bárány qualified at the University of Vienna in 1900, and for the next five years did research in hospitals in Frankfurt, Heidelberg, and Freiburg, returning to Vienna in 1905. By 1914 his research encompassed all aspects of the physiology and pathology of the inner ear. His greatest innovation in the clinical study of ear diseases was the discovery of a method of examination of each of the two labyrinths separately, using cold and hot water. He was also the first to describe a practical operative procedure for otosclerosis ("hardening of the ear") cases. During World War i Bárány served as a surgeon in the Austrian Army. He was captured by the Russians in 1915. They released him after it became known that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1914. Bárány was not made a full professor at Vienna because he was a Jew. However, in 1917 he was appointed professor of otology at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. Bárány only began to display interest in Judaism and Jewish questions toward the end of his life, when the Nazis came to power. In his will he left his valuable library to the National Library in Jerusalem. His major works are Der primaere Wundnaht bei Schussverletzungen des Gehirns (in: Wiener klinische Wochenschrift, 21 (1916)); and Die Radikaloperation des Ohres ohne Gehoergangplastik bei chronischen Mittelohreiterungen (1923).


E. Wodak, Der Báránysche Zeigeversuch (1927); ndb, 1 (1953), 581.

[Yehiel G. Gumpertz]