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Robert Barany Edit Profile


otologist , Physician

Robert Barany was a Swedish physician, otologist and Nobel Prize winner.


Robert Barany was born in Vienna of Hungarian parents on April 22, 1876.


He studied medicine at the University of Vienna, from which he graduated with a degree in medicine in 1900.


During the next five years after graduation he engaged in medical research at hospitals in Frankfurt, Heidelberg, and Freiburg before returning to the University of Vienna as an assistant professor in otology. Here he researched the structure and function of the inner ear.

In 1906 he announced his “caloric test” for distinguishing the functions of either labyrinth by separate use of cold and hot water to irrigate the external ear.

In World War I he served as a surgeon in the Austrian army. He was captured in 1915 by the Russians, but was released in 1917 in view of his Nobel Prize.

Because of his Jewish origin, he was never appointed to a full professorship in Austria and in 1917 went to the University of Uppsala in Sweden as a full professor, heading the ear, nose, and throat clinic.


  • He was the first to describe the condition which became known as otosclerosis (hardening of the ear) and created a practical operative procedure to relieve sufferers.

    He also devised a “pointing test” for the cerebellum and its relation to equilibrium disturbances.


Barany only began to take an interest in Jewish matters with the rise of Nazism.


He was a member of many professional societies and contributed to medical journals.