Alexis Carrel

Alexis Carrel bigraphy, stories - French surgeon and biologist

Alexis Carrel : biography

June 28, 1873 – November 5, 1944

Alexis Carrel (June 28, 1873 – November 5, 1944) was a French surgeon and biologist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1912 for pioneering vascular suturing techniques. He invented the first perfusion pump with Charles A. Lindbergh opening the way to organ transplantation. Like many intellectuals before World War II he promoted eugenics. He was a regent for the French Foundation for the Study of Human Problems during the Nazi occupation of Vichy France which implemented the eugenics policies there; his association with the Foundation led to allegations of collaborating with the Nazis.Reggiani, Andrés Horacio. Berghahn Books, Oxford 2007.Schneider William H.. . Cambridge UP 1990, pp. 272-282.(see Andrés Horacio Reggiani, Alexis Carrel, the Unknown: Eugenics and Population Research under Vichy, as well as Caillois, p. 107)


  • Carrel, Alexis. Man, The Unknown. New York and London: Harper and Brothers. 1935.
  • Szasz, Thomas. The Theology of Medicine New York: Syracuse University Press, 1977.
  • Feuerwerker, Elie. Alexis Carrel et l’eugénisme. Le Monde, 1er Juillet 1986.
  • Schneider, William. Quality and Quantity: The Quest for Biological Regeneration in Twentieth-Century France, Cambridge UP 1990.
  • Bonnafé, Lucien and Tort, Patrick. L’Homme, cet inconnu? Alexis Carrel, Jean-Marie le Pen et les chambres a gaz Editions Syllepse, 1996. ISBN 2-907993-14-3
  • David Zane Mairowitz. "Fascism à la mode: in France, the far right presses for national purity", Harper’s Magazine; 10/1/1997
  • Reggiani, Andrés Horacio. Alexis Carrel, the Unknown: Eugenics and Population Research under Vichy French Historical Studies, Spring 2002; 25: pp. 331 – 356.
  • Wallace, Max. The American Axis: Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, and the Rise of the Third Reich St. Martin’s Press, New York, 2003.
  • Berman, Paul. Terror and Liberalism W. W. Norton, 2003.
  • Walther, Rudolph. Die seltsamen Lehren des Doktor Carrel, DIE ZEIT 31.07.2003 Nr.32
  • Terrenoire, Gwen, CNRS. Eugenics in France (1913-1941) : a review of research findings Joint Programmatic Commission UNESCO-ONG Science and Ethics, March 24, 2003
  • Reggiani, Andrés Horacio. Berghahn Books, Oxford 2007.
  • Friedman, David M. The Immortalists: Charles Lindbergh, Dr. Alexis Carrel, and Their Daring Quest to Live Forever. HarperCollins, NY 2007.


Born in Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon, Rhône, Carrel was raised in a devout Catholic family and was educated by Jesuits, though he had become an agnostic by the time he became a university student.Jaki He was a pioneer in transplantology and thoracic surgery. Alexis Carrel was also a member of learned societies in the U.S., Spain, Russia, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Vatican City, Germany, Italy and Greece and received honorary doctorates from Queen’s University of Belfast, Princeton University, California, New York, Brown University and Columbia University.

In 1902 he witnessed the miraculous cure of Marie Bailly at Lourdes, made famous in part because she named Carrel as a witness of her cure. After the fame surrounding the event, Carrel could not obtain a hospital appointment because of the pervasive anticlericalism in the French university system at the time. In 1903 he emigrated to Montreal, Canada, but soon relocated to Chicago, Illinois to work for Hull Laboratory. While there he collaborated with American physician Charles Claude Guthrie in work on vascular suture and the transplantation of blood vessels and organs as well as the head, and Carrel was awarded the 1912 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for these efforts.

In 1906 he joined the newly-formed Rockefeller Institute of Medical Research in New York where he spent the rest of his career.Reggiani In the 1930s, Carrel and Charles Lindbergh became close friends not only because of the years they worked together but also because they shared personal, political, and social views. Lindbergh initially sought out Carrel to see if his sister-in-law’s heart, damaged by rheumatic fever, could be repaired. When Lindburgh saw the crudeness of Carrel’s machinery, he offered to build new equipment for the scientist. Eventually they built the first perfusion pump, an invention instrumental to the development of organ transplantation and open heart surgery. Lindbergh considered Carrel his closest friend, and said he would preserve and promote Carrel’s ideals after his death.