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Richard John Bing

Born 1909
Died 2010

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German-American cardiologist, born October 12, 1909, Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany; died November 8, 2010, La Canada, California.

Biography of Richard John Bing

Richard Bing – cardiologist and music composer
Richard Bing was born in Germany in 1909, to a family with a great love of classical music. He began composing works of his own at the age of 6 or 7, and at 8 he was familiar with many of the majors works, as Beethoven's 9th Symphony. From this age he took piano lessons, and later entered the the Conservatory, where he was accepted in the Master class.

Bing received his pre-medical education at the universities of Vienna, Munich and Berlin. He graduated MD from the University of Munich in 1934 and also received an MD from the University of Berne, Switzerland, the following year. In 1935 he was a research fellow in Denmark, working on cell cultures. At that time there happened to be a congress in biological sciences in Copenhagen, and Alexis Carrel (1873-1944), and his co–worker, Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974), the pilot attended.

Carrel and Lindbergh had travelled to Copenhagen to demonstrate their new invention, which was supposed to maintain life of single organs outside the body.

Since Bing spoke Danish, German and English, they asked him to help them set up the equipment. Lindbergh and Carrel then asked the director of the Carlsberg Laboratories to permit Bing to spend a year at the Rockefeller Institute in New York to learn the methods of "organ culture". In 1936, he was fortunate to receive a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation.

After a stay at Seven Oaks, England, with the Lindberghs, he began his studies under Carrel on whole organ perfusion at the Rockefeller Institute in New York. This experience motivated him to continue his work on the heart and circulation. Later, after a year of internship at the Presbyterian Hospital in New York city, he continued his training in renal and cardiac physiology, amongst them at New York University and Bellevue Hospital.

In 1943 he was appointed Associate Professor of Surgery and Assistant Professor of Medicine to Johns Hopkins to set up a diagnostic laboratory employing cardiac catheterisation. Here he did pioneering research with Alfred Blalock and Helen Taussig on diagnosing various forms of congenital heart disease by catheterization of the heart chambers.

He wrote a number of important papers on the pathology of congenital heart deformities and introduced a technique to measure myocardial blood flow using nitrous oxide. In 1951 he was appointed professor of clinical physiology at the University of Alabama and then was chairman of medicine ath the Veterans Administration Hospital, Washington University, St. Louis and in 1959 moved as chairman of the department of medicine, Wayne State University. In 1969 he was appointed professor of medicine at the University of Fouthern California.

Richard Bing served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps 1943-1945. he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and spent time in his native Germany following the World Wars helping to rebuild West Germany's cardiology program, and received wide recognition as a musical composer of more than 250 works.

Bing came to Huntington Medical Research Institutes in 1969 to do biomedical research and also started the internal medicine residency program at Huntington Hospital. Major achievements here include high-speed cinematography of coronary vessels and studies of the chemistry of the heart after a heart attack.

Richard John Bing married Mary A. Whipple. They got four children.

    "The greatest difficulty in my early composing was to discover that composing on paper is like slow motion molasses as compared to an improvisation. Gradually, I learned to slow the pace of ideas so that I could catch some on paper."
We thank Detlef E. Rosenow, Germany, and George Clark, for information submitted.

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