Honor thy father and thy mother, say the Holy Scriptures , for they at least gave thee this biological life, but honor thy teachers, too, for they gave thee knowledge and example.
Leslie Alexander Geddes took off on a long, long trip, Sunday October 25, 2009, leaving his body for medical and research use. The departing station was West Lafayette, Indiana, where he set foot in 1974, at Purdue University, stamping there a unique deep imprint, similar and probably more profound than the one left at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), Houston, Texas, in the period 1955-1974. Memories came back as a flood the minute after a message broke the news to me: When I first met him visiting the Department of Physiology at BCM back in 1962, my first Classical Physiology with Modern Instrumentation Summer Course ... The versatile Physiograph was the main equipment, an electronic-mechanical three or four channel recorder that could pick up a variety of physiological variables. Les and his collaborators had introduced also the impedance pneumograph, which was a simplified version of previous developments made by others. It became a ubiquitous unit that trod many roads in the hands of eager and curious students. Ventricular fibrillation and especially its counterpart, defibrillation, stand out as subjects occupying his concern along the years. Many were the students recruited to such effort and long is the list of papers on the subject. Physiological signals attracted considerable part of his activities because one of his perennial mottos was measurement is essential in physiology. He has written thirteen books and over eight hundred scientific papers, receiving also several prizes and distinctions. Not only his interests stayed within the academic environment but an industrial hue was manifested in over 20 USA patents, all applied to medical use. History of science and technology was another area in which, often with Hebbel Hoff, he uncovered astounding and delightful information. It is beyond my capability to review everything Les did, least of all what he did during the long span at Purdue.