Catalogue description Catalogue of the papers of TORKEL WEIS-FOGH (1922 - 1975) Zoologist

This record is held by Cambridge University Library: Department of Manuscripts and University Archives

Details of CSAC.65.3.79
Reference: CSAC.65.3.79
Title: Catalogue of the papers of TORKEL WEIS-FOGH (1922 - 1975) Zoologist

However, the collection still comprises a very full range of working papers, photographs and data and some unpublished material. Weis-Fogh kept some correspondence with the papers to which it related, and this has been left in place; general scientific correspondence is presented in alphabetical order in Section G and an index of correspondents will be found on pp. 108-120.


Titles and descriptions in inverted commas are those which appear on the documents. Danish titles are usually translated or summarised for the benefit of the English reader.


Compiled by: Jeannine Alton and Julia Latham-Jackson


The help of Mr. George Mewis and Mr. Barry Fuller in identifying photographs and documents, and of Dr. P.C.H.Wernberg-Moller in advising on some of the Danish material is gratefully acknowledged.






B.1 - B.49 Early research and work in August Krogh's laboratory


B.50 - B.66 Work on locust flight muscle


B.67 - B.143 Material relating to the 'Biology and Physics of Locust Flight'


C. RESEARCH IN COPENHAGEN, 1957-66 C.1 - C.103


C.1 - C.11 Early work on resilin


C.12 - C.30 Other research (mainly on insect physiology)


C.31 - C.103 Research on the properties of resilin and elastomers in insects


D. RESEARCH IN CAMBRIDGE, 1966-75 D.1 - D.62


D.1 - D.34 Research on resilin and elastin


D.35 Material relating to the Biological Microprobe Laboratory


D.36 - D.39 Research on 'Intracellular and extracellular matrix proteins'


D.40 - D.57 Research on animal flight


D.58 - D.62 Project for research on 'Fluid dynamics in biology'








List of publications


Index of correspondents

Held by: Cambridge University Library: Department of Manuscripts and University Archives, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Fogh, Torkel, Weis-, 1922-1975, scientist and biologist

Weis-Fogh, Torkel, 1922-1975, scientist and zoologist

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited in 1979

Custodial history:

Weis-Fogh's papers were received from the Department of Zoology, by courtesy of Dr. D.A. Parry, Head of the Department, in instalments during 1978 after the removal of departmental material or that related to continuing research projects. This meant that Weis-Fogh's ordering, especially of the later correspondence, had been broken and there are some omissions (see especially Section D).

Publication note:



This list is essentially the one produced by the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, with a few editorial alterations in the interests of consistency, and some additional bibliographical indications in the case of the more recent publications. A copy of the original on which this list is based is included in CSAC.65.3.79/A.4.


Papers in brackets refer to work carried out in association with Weis-Fogh and of particular relevance to his research, but of which he was not co-author.


A collection of reprints of most of Weis-Fogh's publications can be found in CSAC.65.3.79/E.75.


Note: For other publications by Weis-Fogh, not included in this list, see CSAC.65.3.79/A.12, CSAC.65.3.79/D.32, CSAC.65.3.79/D.34, CSAC.65.3.79/F.38, CSAC.65.3.79/G.92, CSAC.65.3.79/G.157.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1948). Ecological investigations on mites and collemboles in the soil. Nat.Jutland 1, 135-270.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1949). An aerodynamic sense organ stimulating and regulating flight in locusts. Nature, Lond. 164, 873.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1950). Vandregräshoppernes flugtfysiologi. Nat.Verd.Kbh. 34, 19-26.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1950). An aerodynamic sense organ in locusts. Proc. VIII Int.Congr.Ent. 1948, 584-588.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1951). August Krogh. Ent.Medd. 25, 435-445.


Krogh, A. & Weis-Fogh, T. (1951). The respiratory exchange of the desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) before, during and after flight. J.exp.Biol. 28, 344-357.


Krogh, A. & Weis-Fogh, T. (1952). A roundabout for studying sustained flight of locusts. J.exp.Biol. 29, 211-219.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1952). Fat combustion and metabolic rate of flying locusts (Schistocerca gregaria Forskoal). Phil.Trans. B. 237, 1-36.


(1952). Dansk oversigt til 8.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1952). Weight economy of flying insects. Trans. IX Int.Congr.Ent. 1, 341-347.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1956). The ventilatory mechanism during flight of insects in relation to the call for oxygen. Proc. XIV Int.Congr.Zool. 1953. 283-285.


Haarlöv, N. & Weis-Fogh, T. (1953). A technique for studying the undisturbed microscopical texture of soils. Oikos, 4, 44-57.


Haarlöv, N. & Weis-Fogh, T. (1956). A technique for studying the undisturbed microscopical texture of soils. Proc. XIV Int.Congr.Zool. 1953, 409.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1954). Anmeldelse af Boas-Thomsen. Nat.Verd.Kbh. 1, 29-31.


Haarlöv, N. & Weis-Fogh, T. (1955). A microscopical technique for studying the undisturbed texture of soils. Soil Zoology, ed. D.K.McE. Kevan, 429-432.


Buchthal, F. & Weis-Fogh, T. (1956). Contribution of the sarcolemma to the force exerted by the resting muscle of insects. Acta physiol. scand. 35, 345-364.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1956). The flight of locusts. Sci.Amer. 194, 116-124.


Weis-Fogh, T. & Jensen, M. (1956). Biology and physics of locust flight. I. Basic principles in insect flight. A critical review. Phil.Trans. B, 239, 415-458.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1956). Biology and physics of locust flight. II. Flight performance of the desert locust. (Schistocerca gregaria). Phil.Trans. B, 239, 459-510.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1956). Biology and physics of locust flight. IV. Notes on sensory mechanisms in locust flight. Phil.Trans. B, 239, 553-584.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1956). Elastic properties of the insect thorax. Demonstration at the Royal Society London, 10 May & 21 June 1956.


Weis-Fogh, T. & Buchthal, F. (1956). Mechanical activity of locust flight muscle during tetanus and twitch. XX Congr.Int.Physiol. 1956, 954-955.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1956). Tetanic force and shortening in locust flight muscle. J.exp.Biol. 33, 668-684.


Buchthal, F., Weis-Fogh, T. & Rosenfalck, P. (1957). Twitch contractions of isolated flight muscle of locusts. Acta physiol.scand. 39, 247-276.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1959). Elasticity in arthropod locomotion: A neglected subject illustrated by the wing systems of insects. XV Int.Congr.Zool. 1958, 393-395.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1960). A rubber-like protein in insect cuticle. J.exp.Biol. 37, 839-907.


Bailey, K. & Weis-Fogh, T. (1961). Amino acid composition of a rubber-like protein, resilin. Biochim.Biophys.Acta, 48, 452-459.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1961). Power in flapping flight. The Cell and the Organism, ed. J.A. Ramsay & V.B. Wigglesworth. Cambridge University Press, 283-300.


Wilson, D.M. (1961). The central nervous control of flight in a locust. J.exp.Biol. 38, 471-490.)


Neville, A.C. (1960). Aspects of flight mechanics in anisopterous dragonflies. J.exp.Biol. 37, 631-656.)


Weis-Fogh, T. (1961). Thermodynamic properties of resilin, a rubber-like protein. J.mol.Biol. 3, 520-531.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1963). Properties of resilin, a rubber-like protein. Rubber Chemistry and Technology, 36, 90-101.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1961). Molecular interpretation of the elasticity of resilin, a rubber-like protein. J.mol.Biol. 3, 648-667.


Gettrup, E. (1962). Thoracic proprioceptors in flight system of locusts. Nature, Lond. 193, 498-499.)


Jensen, M. & Weis-Fogh, T. (1962). Biology and physics of locust flight. V. Strength and elasticity of locust cuticle. Phil.Trans. B, 245, 137-169.


Wilson, D.M. & Weis-Fogh, T. (1962). Patterned activity of co-ordinated motor units studied in flying locusts. J.exp.Biol. 39, 643-667.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1963). Zoofysiologisk Laboratorium B og dets arbejdsomraader. Nordisk Medicin, 69, 180.


Andersen, S.O. (1963). Characterisation of a new type of cross-linkage in resilin, a rubber-like protein. Biochim. Biophys. Acta, 69, 249-262.)


Haarlöv, N. & Weis-Fogh, T. (1962). A microscopical technique for studying the undisturbed structure of soils. J. für Pflanzenernährung, Dungung, Bodenkunde, 99, 140-144.


Neville, A.C. (1963). Motor unit distribution of the dorsal longitudinal flight muscle in locusts. J.exp.Biol. 40, 123-136.)


Neville, A.C. & Weis-Fogh, T. (1963). The effect of temperature on locust flight muscle. J.exp.Biol. 40, 111-121.


Wilson, D.M. & Gettrup, E. (1963). A stretch reflex controlling wingbeat frequency in grasshoppers. J.exp.Biol. 40, 171-185.)


Neville, A.C. (1963). Daily growth layers in locust rubber-like cuticle influenced by an external rhythm. J.Ins.Physiol. 9, 177-186.)


Neville, A.C. (1963). Growth and deposition of resilin and chitin in locust rubber-like cuticle. J.Ins.Physiol. 9, 265-278.)


Gettrup, E. (1963). Phasic stimulation of a thoracic stretch receptor in locusts. J.exp.Biol. 40, 323-333.)


Gettrup, E. (1963). Information carried by single impulses from a unicellular stretch receptor. Acta physiol.scand. 59, suppl. 213, 46-47.)


Neville, A.C. (1963). Daily growth zones in insect skeletons. Acta physiol.scand. 59, suppl. 213, 107-108.)


Weis-Fogh, T. (1963). Diffusion in insect wing muscle. Acta physiol.scand. 59, suppl. 213, 159-160.


Neville, A.C. (1963). Daily growth layers for determining the age of grasshopper populations. Oikos, 14, 1-8.)


Andersen, S.O. & Kristensen, B. (1963). Incorporation of phenylalanine and tyrosine in the cross-linkages of a protein, resilin. Acta physiol.scand. 59, suppl. 213, 15.)


Andersen, S.O. (1963). Two fluorescent amino acids which function as cross-linkages between the peptide chains in resilin, a rubber-like protein. Acta chem.scand. 17, 869.)


Weis-Fogh, T. (1963). Resilin, a rubber-like protein and its significance. Aspects of protein structure, ed. G.N. Ramachandran. Academic Press, 337-341.


Gettrup, E. & Wilson, D.M. (1964). The lift-control reaction of flying locusts. J.exp.Biol. 41, 183-190.)


Weis-Fogh, T. (1964). Diffusion in insect wing muscle, the most active tissue known. J.exp.Biol. 41, 229-256.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1964). Biology and physics of locust flight. VIII. Lift and metabolic rate of flying locusts. J.exp.Biol. 41, 257-271.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1964). Functional design of the tracheal system of flying insects as compared with the avian lung. J.exp.Biol. 41, 207-227.


Andersen, S.O. & Weis-Fogh, T. (1964). Resilin. A rubber-like protein in arthropod cuticle. Adv.Ins.Phys. 2, Academic Press, 1-65.


Andersen, S.O. (1964). The cross-links in resilin identified as dityrosine and trityrosine. Biochim.Biophys.Acta, 93, 213-215.)


Weis-Fogh, T. (1964). Control of basic movements in flying insects. Symp.Soc.Exp.Biol. 18, Homeostatis and feedback mechanisms, 343-363.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1965). Elasticity and wing movements in insects. Proc. XII Int.Congr.Ent. 1964, 186-188.


Gettrup, E. (1965). Control of forewing twisting by hindwing receptors in flying locusts. Proc. XII Int.Congr.Ent. 1964, 190-192.)


Elliott, G.F., Huxley, A.F. & Weis-Fogh, T. (1965). On the structure of resilin. J.mol.Biol. 13, 791-795.


Neville, A.C. (1965). Chitin lamellogenesis in locust cuticle. Quart.J.micr.Sci. 106, 269-286.)


Andersen, S.O. (1966). Covalent cross-links in a structural protein, resilin. Acta physiol.scand. 66, suppl. 263, 1-81.)


Kristensen, B.I. (1966). Incorporation of tyrosine into the rubber-like cuticle of locusts studied by autoradiography. J.Ins.Physiol. 12, 173-177.)


Gettrup, E. (1966). Sensory regulation of wing twisting in locusts. J.exp.Biol. 44, 1-16.)


Neville, A.C. (1966). Circadian organisation of chitin in some insect skeletons. Quart.J.micr.Sci. 106, 315-325.)


Coles, G.C. (1966). Studies on resilin biosynthesis. J.Ins.Physiol. 12, 679-691.)


Weis-Fogh, T. (1965). Resilin as compared with elastin. Structure and Function of Connective and Skeletal Tissue, ed. S. Fitton Jackson, R.D. Harkness, S.M. Partridge & G.R. Tristam. Butterworths, 101-105.


Andersen, S.O. (1965). Structure and biogenesis of the cross-links in resilin, a rubber-like protein. Ibid., 105-109.)


Weis-Fogh, T. (1965). Mechanical properties of insect cuticle. Ibid., 373-375.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1965). Nattergul og forsker, Forsker og kejser (reprinted from Politiken, 28 & 29 March 1965). Tre Kronikker, Politikens Redaktion, 17-30.


Weig-Fogh, T. (1967). Metabolism and weight economy in migrating animals, particularly birds and insects. Symposia of the Swedish Nutrition Foundation, V, Nutrition and physical activity. Almgvist & Wiksells.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1967). Metabolism and weight economy in migrating animals, particularly birds and insects. Insects and Physiology, ed. J.W.L. Beament & J.E. Treherne. Oliver & Boyd, 143-159.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1967). Respiration and tracheal ventilation in locusts and other flying insects. J.exp.Biol. 47, 561-587.


Weis-Fogh, T. Staten maa investere i talentet.


Kristensen, B.I. (1968). Time course of incorporation of tyrosine into rubber-like cuticle of locusts. J.Ins.Physiol. 14, 1135-1140.)


Forer, A. & Goldman, R.D. (1969). Comparisons of isolated and in vivo mitotic apparatuses. Nature. Lond. 222, 689-691.)


Weis-Fogh, T. & Andersen S.O. (1970). Elasticity and thermodynamics of elastin. Chemistry and Molecular Biology of the Intercellular Matrix, Vol.1, ed. E.A. Balazs. Academic Press, 671-684.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1970). Structure and formation of insect cuticle. Insect Ultrastructure, ed. A.C. Neville. Blackwell, 165-185.


Weis-Fogh, T. & Andersen, S.O. (1970). New molecular model for the long-range elasticity of elastin. Nature. Lond. 227, 718-721.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1971). Flying Insects and Gravity. Gravity and the Organism, ed. S.A. Gordon & M.J. Cohen. University of Chicago Press, 177-184.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1972). Energetics of hovering flight in hummingbirds and in Drosophila. J.exp.Biol. 56, 79-104.


Weis-Fogh, T. & Amos, W.T. (1972). Evidence for a new mechanism of cell motility. Nature, Lond. 236, 301-304.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1973). Quick estimates of flight fitness in hovering animals, including novel mechanisms for lift production. J.exp.Biol. 59, 169-230.


Moreton, R.B., Echlin, P., Gupta, B.L., Hall, T.A. & Weis-Fogh, T. (1974). Preparation of frozen hydrated tissue sections for X-ray microanalysis in the scanning electron microscope. Nature. Lond. 247, 113-115.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1975). Energetics and aerodynamics of flapping flight. Symp.Roy.Ent.Soc.Lond. 7, Insect flight. Blackwell, 48-71.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1975). Spasmonemes, a new contractile system. CIBA Foundation Symposium, 31, Energy transformations in biological systems. Associated Scientific Publishers, 291-299.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1975). Principles of contraction in the spasmoneme of Vorticellids, a new contractile system. Comparative Physiology - Functional Aspects of Structural Materials, ed. L. Bolis, H.P. Maddrell, & K. Schmidt-Nielsen. North Holland, 83-98.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1975). Flapping flight and power in birds and insects, conventional and novel mechanisms. Swimming and Flying in Nature, Vol.2, ed. T.Y.-T. Wu, C.J. Brokaw & C. Brennan. Plenum Publishing Corporation, 729-762.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1976). Animal flight, where do we go from here? Perspectives in Experimental Biology, Vol.1, ed. P. Spencer Davies. Pergamon Press, 481-492.


Routledge, L.M., Amos, W.B., Gupta, B.L., Hall, T.A. & Weis-Fogh, T. (1975). Microprobe measurements of calcium binding in the contractile spasmoneme of a vorticellid. J. Cell Sci. 19, 195-201.


Routledge, L.M., Amos, W.B., Yew, F.F. & Weis-Fogh. T. (1975). New calcium-binding contractile proteins.


Cold Spring Harbor Conferences in Cell Proliferation, 3, Cell motility.


Amos, W.B., Routledge, L.M., Weis-Fogh, T. & Yew, F.F. (1975). The spasmoneme and calcium-dependent contraction in connection with specific calcium-binding proteins. Symp.Soc.Exp.Biol. 30.


Weis-Fogh, T. (1975). Novel mechanisms for the generation of lift in flying animals. Sci.Amer. 233, 80-87.

  • Entomology
  • Insects
Administrative / biographical background:

Torkel Weis-Fogh was born in Aarhus, Denmark, in 1922, the son of a banker and accountant. In 1940 he became a student at Copenhagen University and his earliest researches were in soil microbiology. However, in 1947 he started work as research assistant to the distinguished Danish physiologist and Nobel prizewinner August Krogh, and the study of the desert locust Schistocerca Gregaria, begun in Krogh's laboratory, was to occupy Weis-Fogh for much of his life.


After Krogh's death in 1949, Weis-Fogh continued as head of the laboratory until 1953, amassing a wealth of data relating to the flight mechanics of the desert locust (see Section B). A year at the Copenhagen Institute of Neurophysiology was followed by four years at Cambridge with a Rockefeller Fellowship followed by a Balfour Studentship. At the end of this period Weis-Fogh wrote to Sir James Gray: 'Hanne [Weis-Fogh's first wife] and I know very well how much we have to thank you and Lady Gray for. Cambridge just reshaped us and in such a pleasant way that we did not protest in the process. It was an immensely valuable time for us and one we shall never forget and often remember'. (See CSAC.65.3.79/G.47.)


During his last year at Cambridge, in the course of his research into the workings of insect flight muscle, Weis-Fogh isolated a new type of rubber-like protein in insect cuticle. The discovery was announced at the XVth International Congress of Zoology, July 1958 (see CSAC.65.3.79/B.136), and the protein was later named 'resilin' (from the Latin resilire - to spring back). Both the work surrounding the discovery of resilin and subsequent research into its physical and chemical properties are well documented in this collection. See especially Section C.


The years 1958-66 were spent in Copenhagen as Professor of Zoophysiology (a chair specially created for Weis-Fogh), and most of his research during that time was concentrated on analysing the new protein. In 1966 he returned to Cambridge as Professor of Zoology and Head of the Department of Zoology, and this position enabled him to pursue several related research interests simultaneously (see introduction to Section D). An investigation into the mode of formation of insect cuticle, mainly carried out during 1967 - 69, led to a study of the molecular basis of resilin and elastin, and the discovery of a new contractile mechanism in the spasmonemes of protozoa. In connection with these studies Weis-Fogh was also instrumental in the setting up of the Biological Microprobe Laboratory, Department of Zoology, Cambridge, to develop techniques of electron-probe X-ray microanalysis on frozen-hydrated soft biological material. These projects are not so well documented as Weis-Fogh's earlier work, since much of the research was continued after his death.


Weis-Fogh never lost his early interest in the problems of insect flight and he returned to them with renewed vigour during this period. In 1973 he published a paper containing a mathematical explanation for the flight of very small insects which orthodox aerodynamic theory had been unable to account for. For background material to this paper see CSAC.65.3.79/D.48 - CSAC.65.3.79/D.53. This discovery was named by Sir James Lighthill 'the Weis-Fogh mechanism of lift generation'. Weis-Fogh was to have collaborated with Lighthill in a major project to study biological fluid dynamics, but plans for this were interrupted by his death. For material relating to this see CSAC.65.3.79/D.58 - CSAC.65.3.79/D.62.


Unhappily, in 1971 Weis-Fogh's wife was killed in a car accident in which he himself was badly injured. Although he returned to his laboratory after only a few months and was committed to extensive research projects, it seems unlikely that he ever recovered from the shock and bereavement, or indeed from the physical damage which he sustained. The correspondence for 1972-75 documents several relapses of health during this period (see especially CSAC.65.3.79/F.45, CSAC.65.3.79/F.61, CSAC.65.3.79/F.65), and the obituary of Weis-Fogh by E. Bredsdorff (see CSAC.65.3.79/A.1) mentions bouts of depression that at times 'could be so deep that we feared for his life'. Sadly these fears turned out to be only too well-founded, and Weis-Fogh committed suicide in Cambridge on 13 November 1975.


To the end of his life Weis-Fogh retained strong links with Denmark. He remained a Danish citizen (see CSAC.65.3.79/A.9) and maintained a cottage at Tibirke to which he returned whenever he could. He was bilingual and when thinking on paper would transfer at random from English to Danish and back again. Much of the material in the collection is in Danish and this has normally been indicated in the catalogue. He also maintained close links with colleagues in the United States. In 1961 he was invited to give the Prather Lectures in Biology at Harvard


University, and his subsequent tour of universities and laboratories in the US provided many valuable contacts with whom he continued to maintained close ties through correspondence and through meetings at conferences and symposia (see Sections F and G).

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