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Nachtrag 2O12

Addendum to our homepage  2O12


A Curicullum Vitae of Prof. Dr. Hermann Levinson is added to the home page for the year 2O12.

Prof. Dr. Hermann Levinson

Hermann Levinson was born on 11th of January 1924 in Klingenthal (Vogtland, Germany) and died on 1st November 2013. He was a German biologist and physiologist, who lived with his wife Dr. Anna Levinson in Starnberg (Upper Bavaria). He was working at the Max-Planck-Institute for Behavioural Physiology since 1971 and the Max-Planck-Institute for Ornithology since 2OO4, in Seewiesen and Erling (Upper Bavaria, Germany).

                                                                                                           Hermann Levinson, September 2O1O


1. Life and work

1.1 Emigration from Germany

1.2 Studies and early research

1.3 Cooperation of Hermann and Anna Levinson at the Max-Planck-Institutes in Seewiesen and Erling

1.4 Achievements

2. Awards

3. Memberships

4. Editorships

5. Weblinks

6. Personal data

1. Life and work

1.1 Emigration from Germany

"Immer fand ich den Namen falsch, den man uns gab: Emigranten.
Das heisst doch Auswanderer, aber wir
wanderten doch nicht aus, nach freiem Entschluss,
wählend ein anderes Land. Wanderten wir doch auch nicht
ein in ein Land, um dort zu bleiben, womöglich für immer.
Sondern wir flohen, Vertriebene sind wir, Verbannte.
Und kein Heim, ein Exil soll das Land sein, das uns da aufnahm..."

Bertolt Brecht,
(Svendborger Gedichte VI, 1937)

Hermann Levinson is the only son of the High school teacher Leopold Levinson and his wife Charlotte Levinson (née Braun). When the National Socialists (NSDAP) established a totalitarian governement in Germany (1933), which persecuted i.a. the liberal and jewish citizens, the family had to leave their ancestral homeland. They first moved to Karlovy Vary and subsequently to Prague in Czechoslovakia. Shortly after passing his Abitur-examinations at an English Gymnasium in Prague, Hermann Levinson fled to Haifa, at that time a harbour town of the British Mandate of Palestine. Following a rather venturesome and risky voyage across the Mediterranean Sea, he reached the coast of Haifa and was met there by British officials, who transferred him to a French warship named Patria. This ship was eventually blown up by unknown offenders near the shores of Haifa on 25th of November 194O.

The survivors of shipwreck were rescued by British soldiers, attained the status of "Enemy alien" and were imprisoned in the detention camp of Atlit, approximately 2O km south of Haifa. Hermann Levinson was detained in this camp until autumn 1941. In meantime, his beloved parents and closer relatives were abducted to a concentration camp in Terezin, Czechoslovakia, and were subsequently annihilated by poisonous gas in the extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland.

1.2 Studies and early research

In October 1941, H. Levinson joined the Malaria Research Station of the Hebrew University (Director: Prof. Dr. Gideon Mer) in Rosh Pina, situated in Upper Galilee, Palestine, where he performed examinations of the mosquito species Anopheles saccharovi (syn. A. elutus), Anopheles sergentii and Anopheles superpictus for presence of the Malaria-inducing sporozoans of Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium ovale, inhabiting the haematophagous females of the above mentioned mosquito species. He also investigated the possibility of suppressing the larval populations of the above anopheline species in their aquatic breeding sites by either biological, physical or chemical control measures, including predatory fish species, Paris green, Pyrethrum powder, Rotenone, Petroleum destillates or alternatively by adequate dessication of the swampy breeding habitats of the anopheline larvae.

At the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, H. Levinson studied chemistry, microbiology and zoology. He also investigated the incurrence of resistance to DDT and other insecticides in cyclorrhaphous fly species (Diptera), wherefore he received the degree of M.Sc. (Master Scientiarum) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1954. Later he also performed advanced research on the nutritional requirements and metabolism of Musca domestica var.vicina (Cyclorrhapha,Diptera) under the supervision of Professors Dr. E. D. Bergmann and Dr. G. Fraenkel, wherefore he was awarded the degree of Ph.D.(Philosophiae Doctor) with the evaluation  "summa cum laude" from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1959.

From 1959 until 1961 he worked with Sir Vincent Brian Wigglesworth on the function of dietary sterols in holometabolic and hemimetabolic insect species, at the University of Cambridge in England. In 1964 he became senior Lecturer and in 1967 Professor of comparative Biochemistry and Physiology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Between 1962 and 197O, H. Levinson taught Invertebrate physiology and biochemistry, was Head of the Laboratory of Insect Physiology and supervised about a dozen of investigations of M.Sc. and Ph.D. students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Between 197O and 1971, he was visiting Professor at the Zoological Institute of the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt/Main in Germany.

1.3 Cooperation between Hermann and Anna Levinson at the Max-Planck-Institutes in Seewiesen and Erling

Since July 1971, Hermann Levinson and Anna Levinson were jointly investigating salient aspects of the sensory and nutritional physiology of harmful insect and mite species as well as the mode of action of kairomones and sex pheromones of various insect and mite species. Since 1985, they are attempting to elucidate the relationship between ancient cultures, religions and certain arthropod species in oriental and classical antiquity.

1.4 Achievements

H. Levinson discovered that the natural food of growing larvae of the housefly Musca domestica predominantly consists of Escherichia coli and some other enteric bacterial species, originating from the faeces of various mammals, mainly ruminants.

The optimal blend of nutrients adequately supporting larval growth of the housefly (Musca domestica), the flour mite (Acarus siro), the hide beetle (Dermestes maculatus) and the cotton leafmoth (Spodoptera littoralis) comprises an adequate milk protein (e.g. casein or lactalbumin), certain dispensable carbohydrates, linoleic and linolenic acid, cholesterol, all B-vitamins and the essential mineral salts. He also found that certain phytophagous and bacteriophagous insect species are capable of converting phytosterols (C 28-29 sterols) into cholesterol (C 27 sterol) by enzymatic reduction of the side chain, whereas strictly carnivorous insect species (e.g. Dermestes maculatus) are lacking this capability.

Hermann and Anna Levinson have also clarified the fine structure and function of the exocrine pheromone glands of storage beetle species, including Trogoderma granarium, Dermestes maculatus and Lasioderma serricorne as well as fruit fly species, including Ceratitis capitata. Moreover, they elucidated the molecular and chiral configuration of aggregation and sex pheromones of some coleopteran species, including female Trogoderma granarium, Lasioderma serricorne and male Tribolium confusum and Tribolium castaneum. They also investigated the structure and function of antennal sensilla responding to the above pheromones.

Since 1985, H. and A.Levinson also explored the cultural significance of selected arthropods in the ancient Orient and classical Antiquity.

H. Levinson published more than 13O scientific contributions and introduced the terms insectistasis and acaristasis into applied entomology. By definition, insectistasis and acaristasis (Greek, stasis = standstill) refer to states, wherein the population density of harmful insect and mite species is reduced to the extent of gaining intact harvested plants, stored fruits and seeds being without any significant damage or loss. Insectistasis or acaristasis depends on the employment of pheromones to trap, confuse or to inhibit mating, in order to keep the pest populations below a density level, in which they could cause significant economic damage.

2. Awards

196O Sir Simon Marks Award (London)

198O Medal of the Korean Institute of Science (Seoul)

1992 Sigillo d'Oro (Piacenza)

2OO6 Leading Scientist of the World (Cambridge)

2OO7 Karl Leopold Escherich-Medal (Innsbruck)

3. Memberships

Lifetime Fellow, Institute of Biology (UK)<

Fellow, Royal Entomological Society (London)

Member, New York Academy of Sciences (USA)

German Association of general and applied Entomology (DGaaE)

Münchner Entomologische Gesellschaft (MEG)

4. Editorships of scientific journals

Anzeiger für Schädlingskunde, Pflanzenschutz, Umweltschutz (Deutschland)

Journal of Stored Products Research (England)

Rivista di Parassitologia (Italy)

5. Weblinks

Catalogue of the German National Library: Hermann Levinson

Catalogue of the German National Library: Anna Levinson

Anna Levinson, German wikipedia

Hermann Levinson, List of Publications

Hermann Levinson, Escherich-Medaille

Max Planck Institute for Ornithology

Zoologische Staatssammlung Munich

Prof. Dr. Gerhard Haszprunner, President of the National zoological Collections, Munich, ZSM

Institute of Aegyptology, Munich

Privatdozentin Dr. Susanne Heim, Institute of Contemporary History, Berlin and Munich

Prof. Dr. Sylvia Schoske, Director of the Museum of Ancient Egyptian Art, Munich

Prof. Dr. Wittko Francke, Head of the Institute of Organic Chemistry, Univ. Hamburg

Prof. Dr. Hubert Markl, Professor of Biology, Univ. Konstanz/Bodensee

Prof. Dr. Kenji Mori, Professor of Organic Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Univ. Tokyo, Japan

6. Personal Data

NAME : Levinson, Hermann

SHORT DESCRIPTION : German biologist and physiologist

BIRTH : 11th January 1924

BIRTH PLACE : Klingenthal(Germany)

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Categories: Zoologist | physiologist | University Teacher (Jerusalem) | German | Born 1924 | Man | Person (Klingenthal)