She was born Augustine Marie Cécile Mugnier and was born into a wealthy family who lived in Annecy in southern France. Like her mother, Cecile had an independent mindset and little patience for rote learning. After a private Catholic school proved untenable, they sent her to Paris to study neurology with Pierre Marie, and by age 25, she had completed her doctorate in neuroanatomy and earned her French medical license.
During her time in Paris, she gave birth to her first child, Claire, out of wedlock, and raised her infant daughter as a single mother while completing her medical degree. Shortly thereafter, she married a 29-year-old German hypnotist-turned-neurologist and moved to Germany with him.
There she joined his lab and remained a key collaborator in his work for six decades. The Vogt lab produced several pioneering studies that established correlations between specific brain regions and psychiatric symptoms. They collaborated so frequently that science historians have had a difficult time sorting out who took the lead on which project. However, the Vogts' impact on neurology was undeniable. They were fierce proponents of the anatomical model of psychiatric disease etiology.
The couple also had two daughters, Marthe and Marguerite, who went on to become well-respected scientists in their own right. Cecile Vogt continued to collaborate with her husband until his death in 1959. After that, she moved to Cambridge to be with her daughter Marthe in Cambridge, England. She died there in 1962.
Enderson, Daniel Ole. “Who Named It: Cecile Vogt”. Whonamedit.com. Web. 22 Oct 2014.
"Nomination Database - Physiology or Medicine". Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 11 Oct 2014.
Satzinger, Helga. Femininity and Science: The Brain Researcher Cécile Vogt (1875-1962). Translation of: Weiblichkeit und Wissenschaft. In: Bleker, Johanna (ed.): Der Eintritt der Frauen in die Gelehrtenrepublik. Husum, 1998, 75-93.
b. March 27, 1875 d. May 4, 1962
Total nominations in public data base: 13 (Always along with her husband and lab head Oskar Vogt)
Nominated by: Robert Bárány (1922), Gustaf Bergmark (1922), Emil Holmgren (1922), Karl Kleist (1923 & 1929), Wilhelm Weygandt (1926), E Forster (1928), A Policard (1930), Franz Volhard (1950), P Vogel (1951), H Weber (1953), Th. Naegeli (1953), and Antonio Egas Moniz (1953)
Cécile Vogt and her husband, Oskar, who rarely published independently of each other, were the world leaders in neural “cytoarchitecture” (literally, the architecture of cells). When they set out on their careers in neurobiology, Sigmund Freud was all the rage, but their focus on neurobiology and the arrangement of brain cells helped drive the shift away from psychoanalysis to neurobiology.
About the Author
Diana Crow is a freelance science journalist, living and working in the city of Boston, MA. She has written for print and web publications including Scientific American, Minority Postdoc, and Method Quarterly, among others. She is also a project manager and science reporter for The National Science Communication Institute‘snSCI Profile Series and co-editor-in-chief of the Scientista Foundation blogs.
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