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Richard J. Bing Oral History Interview with Shirley K. Cohen

 Digital Record
Identifier: 2016-02-17-000039

Dates

  • Other: 2016 February 17

Abstract

Interview in two sessions, June 11 and 29, 1998, with Richard J. Bing, MD, Director, Cardiology and Intramural Medicine, Huntington Memorial Hospital, and Visiting Associate in Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Chemistry at Caltech, 1970-2010.

Richard J. Bing was born in Nürnberg, Germany. He relates the story of his family and their origins, his early love of music, and his medical education in Frankfurt, Vienna, and Munich in the 1930s during the rise of the Third Reich. A period of study in Denmark at the Carlsberg Biological Institute enables him to meet Alexis Carrel and Charles Lindbergh; he forms lasting relationships with both. After a first trip to New York to Rockefeller Institute to learn Carrel's surgical techniques, he returns to New York and permanently to the US [1937]. His diverse medical career takes him from New York (Rockefeller, Columbia, New York University) to Johns Hopkins, then Alabama, then Washington University in St. Louis, followed by Wayne State University-all of which he recalls in sequence. During this time he demonstrates catheterization of the heart and works on cardiac metabolism. He resigns from Wayne State to take a position at the Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, California, in 1969.

In California, Bing relates, he developed interest in microcirculation and collaborated with Caltech scientist Harold Wayland; collaborations with Michael Hoffmann, Sunney Chan; friendships with Max Delbrück, John Allman. Research support from JPL; relations with director William Pickering; other research funding. There follows discussion of his second career as a composer, the importance of music in his life, and the performance of his musical works. The interview concludes with his views on the state of the medical profession.

Repository Details

Part of the California Institute of Technology Archives and Special Collections Repository

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