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EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY DERMATOLOGISTS, EVENTS, AND DISCOVERIES

Nils Ryberg Finsen, Danish physician and sometime dermatologist, discovered that mechanical compression of the skin lesions of lupus vulgaris allowed carbon arc or solar generated ultraviolet rays to penetrate deeply enough to kill the tubercle bacilli that cause the disease. In practice many cases responded well. His treatment was regarded as one of the most exciting therapeutic breakthroughs of the time, and in 1903 he was awarded a Nobel prize for his work. Finsen did not enjoy his celebrity status for long. He succumbed the next year to constrictive pericarditis, at the age of 44.