Theodor Kocher was born in Bern on 23 August 1841 to an ancient family of the Bernese lake district (Seeland). His father was chief engineer of the Canton Berne. He studied at the University of Berne, and after finishing his MD, took a study trip to Berlin, London and Paris to acquaint himself with the state of the art in medical science. His new method of repositioning dislocated shoulders made him known instantly.
In 1872, he was appointed as full professor of Surgery at the University of Berne. Kocher's growing fame as an instructor, researcher and author brought him offers of full professorship and departmental chairs from Europe's top universities. But he remained true to his home university, and during his 45 years' service here as professor and clinical director at Insel Hospital, he created a prominent Surgeon's School in Bern, which has produced many generations of doctors and a series of leading surgeons.
Kocher's life-long achievement was based on a combination of mental acuity, intuition, work ethic, and a Christian attitude towards life. In 1909 he became the first surgeon to receive the Nobel Prize for his research on goiter. He died on 27 July 1917 while still fully involved in his work. His reputation and fame outlived Theodor Kocher by far. With the establishment of the Kocher Fund, he created a monument for himself in his own lifetime. Several gifts and donations from his descendants revived his memory. The Theodor Kocher Institute, Kochergasse, Kocher Park, and two Kocher busts keep the name of Theodor Kocher current in the life of the city of Berne even today.