Dr Curt Richter PhD
(1894-1988)

Died aged c. 94

Curt Paul Richter (February 20, 1894 – December 21, 1988) was a biologist, psychobiologist and geneticist who made important contributions in the field of circadian rhythms. Notably, Richter identified the hypothalamus as a "biological pacemaker" involved in sleeping and wakefulness. In particular, this region suspected by Richter was later identified as the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Richter was born on February 20 1894 in Denver, Colorado to German immigrants. His parents emigrated to the United States from Saxony, Germany. His father was an engineer who owned a steel and iron firm in Denver. In 1912, he studied engineering at the Technische Hochschule, but left after the outbreak of World War I in 1914, switching to Harvard University where he studied biology under William E. Castle. Due to his lack of experience with biology, Castle advised that he drop the course and he switched to psychology instead, studying under E. B. Holt and Robert Yerkes. He graduated from Harvard in 1917 and, after a brief tour in the United States Army, studied under John Watson at Johns Hopkins University. Richter induced need states in experimental animals by depriving them of substances essential to survival, or manipulating the hormone levels, and showed that these need states generate appetites, and behaviours precisely fitting the animal's need even if the animal had never before experienced the need; demonstrating genetic programming of behaviour. He also triggered other pre-programmed behaviours, such as nest building, by manipulating hormone levels.

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Commemorated on 1 plaque

Curt Richter, Ph.D 1894-1988. Discoverer of biorhythms/the biological clock. Head of John Hopkins psychobiology laboratory. Garry Moore 1915-1993 Host of 1950s and 1960s television variety shows.

221 West Lafayette Avenue, Bolton Hill, Baltimore, MD, United States where they lived