Charles Nicolle Biography, Life, Interesting Facts


Charles Nicolle

Birthday :

September 21, 1866

Died On :

February 28, 1936

Also Known For :


Birth Place :

Rouen, Normandy, France

Zodiac Sign :


Childhood And Early Life

French bacteriologist Charles Nicolle was born on the 21 September 1866 in Rouen, France. His father Eugene Nicolle was a doctor who worked at the Rouen Hospital as well as being a medical lecturer. Nicolle was one of three sons. His elder brother later becomes a professor at the Pasteur Institute in Paris as well as a Director of the Bacteriological Institute of Constantinople.



Charles Nicolle attended the Lycee Pierre Corneille in Rouen before studying at the University of Paris, completing his medical degree at the Pasteur Institute in 1893.


Rise To Fame

Once Charles Nicolle had obtained his medical degree, Nicolle returned to Rouen and took up a position in the medical faculty at Rouen University.


Medical Career

In 1903 Charles Nicolle became the Director of the Pasteur Institute in Tunis, Algeria.

Helene Sparrow joined him in Tunis as his laboratory chief. Under his directorship, the Pasteur Institute in Tunis became a leading bacteriological research center working on and producing many vaccines and serums for infectious diseases.

It was during his time in Tunis that Charles Nicolle started his research into typhus and discovered that body louse transmitted the disease. He had noticed that the disease was highly contagious outside the hospital but once inside the hospital, it appeared to be contained. He assumed that it was due to being carried on the person or their clothing as once inside the hospital, patients were bathed, and their clothes confiscated the spread of the infection ceased.

Researching monkeys, Charles Nicolle proved in 1909 that body louse carried typhus. He also studied the organism Toxoplasma.

Nicolle wrote several books including Le Destin des Maladies infectieuses; La Nature, conception et morale biologics; Responsabilités de la Médecine, et La Destinée humaine.


Awards And Achievements

Charles Nicolle was an overseas associate of the French Academy of Medicine, winning the Prix Montyon in 1909, 1912 and 1914. In 1927 he was awarded the Osiris Prize, and his Silver Jubilee in Tunis in 1928 was commemorated with a special Gold Medal.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology in 1928 for his research into the cause of typhus. Nicolle became an elected Professor in the College of France in 1932.



As well as having a scientific mind, Charles Nicolle was also drawn to the arts. He wrote fiction and was inspired music, philosophy and the arts in general.

Personal Life

Charles Nicolle married his wife Alice Avice in 1895. They had two children, Marcelle, born 1896 and Pierre, born 1898.

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