Dickinson W. Richards

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Dickinson W. Richards
Dickinson W. Richards nobel.jpg
Dickinson W. Richards
Dickinson Woodruff Richards, Jr.

October 30, 1895 (1895-10-30)
DiedFebruary 23, 1973 (1973-02-24) (aged 77)
Nationality American
Alma mater Yale University
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
Known forcardiac catheterization
Awards Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1956
Scientific career
Fields medicine
Institutions Columbia University
Bellevue Hospital
Presbyterian Hospital

Dickinson Woodruff Richards, Jr. (October 30, 1895 – February 23, 1973) was an American physician and physiologist. He was a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1956 with André Cournand and Werner Forssmann for the development of cardiac catheterization and the characterisation of a number of cardiac diseases.

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Physician professional who practices medicine

A physician, medical practitioner, medical doctor, or simply doctor, is a professional who practises medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining, or restoring health through the study, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of disease, injury, and other physical and mental impairments. Physicians may focus their practice on certain disease categories, types of patients, and methods of treatment—known as specialities—or they may assume responsibility for the provision of continuing and comprehensive medical care to individuals, families, and communities—known as general practice. Medical practice properly requires both a detailed knowledge of the academic disciplines, such as anatomy and physiology, underlying diseases and their treatment—the science of medicine—and also a decent competence in its applied practice—the art or craft of medicine.

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine One of five Nobel Prizes established in 1895 by Alfred Nobel

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, administered by the Nobel Foundation, is awarded yearly for outstanding discoveries in the fields of life sciences and medicine. It is one of five Nobel Prizes established in his will in 1895 by Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. Nobel was interested in experimental physiology and wanted to establish a prize for scientific progress through laboratory discoveries. The Nobel Prize is presented at an annual ceremony on 10 December, the anniversary of Nobel's death, along with a diploma and a certificate for the monetary award. The front side of the medal displays the same profile of Alfred Nobel depicted on the medals for Physics, Chemistry, and Literature. The reverse side is unique to this medal. The most recent Nobel prize was announced by Karolinska Institute on 1 October 2018, and has been awarded to American James P. Allison and Japanese Tasuku Honjo – for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.


Early life

Richards was born in Orange, New Jersey. He was educated at the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, and entered Yale University in 1913. At Yale he studied English and Greek, graduating in 1917 as a member of the senior society Scroll and Key.

Orange, New Jersey Township in New Jersey, United States

The City of Orange is a township in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 30,134, reflecting a decline of 2,734 (-8.3%) from the 32,868 counted in 2000, which had in turn increased by 2,943 (+9.8%) from the 29,925 counted in the 1990 Census.

Hotchkiss School school in Lakeville, Connecticut

The Hotchkiss School is a private, nonsectarian, coeducational, college preparatory boarding school in Lakeville, Connecticut, founded in 1891. The school offers a classical education with grades 9–12 and a postgraduate (PG) option, attracting students across the United States and 34 foreign countries.

Connecticut state of the United States of America

Connecticut is the southernmost state in the New England region of the United States. As of the 2010 Census, it has the highest per-capita income, Human Development Index (0.962), and median household income in the United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, New York to the west, and Long Island Sound to the south. Its capital is Hartford and its most populous city is Bridgeport. It is part of New England, although portions of it are often grouped with New York and New Jersey as the Tri-state area. The state is named for the Connecticut River which approximately bisects the state. The word "Connecticut" is derived from various anglicized spellings of an Algonquian word for "long tidal river".


He joined the United States Army in 1917, and became an artillery instructor. He served from 1918–1919 as an artillery officer in France.

United States Army Land warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.

Artillery class of weapons which fires munitions beyond the range and power of personal weapons

Artillery is a class of heavy military weapons built to fire munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry's small arms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach defensive walls, and fortifications during sieges, and led to heavy, fairly immobile siege engines. As technology improved, lighter, more mobile field artillery cannons developed for battlefield use. This development continues today; modern self-propelled artillery vehicles are highly mobile weapons of great versatility providing the large share of an army's total firepower.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

When[ when? ] he returned to the United States, Richards attended Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, graduating with an M.A. in 1922 and his M.D. degree in 1923. He was on the staff of the Presbyterian Hospital in New York until 1927, when[ when? ] he went to England to work at the National Institute for Medical Research in London, under Sir Henry Dale, on the control of circulation in the liver.

Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, colloquially known as P&S and formerly Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, is the graduate professional medical school of Columbia University. Located at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan with its affiliate New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Founded in 1767 by Samuel Bard as the medical department of King's College, the College of Physicians and Surgeons was the first medical school in the thirteen colonies and hence, the United States, to award the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree. Beginning in 1993, P&S also was the first U.S. medical school to hold a white coat ceremony.

A master's degree is an academic degree awarded by universities or colleges upon completion of a course of study demonstrating mastery or a high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice. A master's degree normally requires previous study at the bachelor's level, either as a separate degree or as part of an integrated course. Within the area studied, master's graduates are expected to possess advanced knowledge of a specialized body of theoretical and applied topics; high order skills in analysis, critical evaluation, or professional application; and the ability to solve complex problems and think rigorously and independently.

A Doctor of Medicine is a medical degree, the meaning of which varies between different jurisdictions. In the United States, Canada and other countries, the MD denotes a professional graduate degree awarded upon graduation from medical school. In the United Kingdom, Ireland and other countries, the MD is a research doctorate, higher doctorate, honorary doctorate or applied clinical degree restricted to those who already hold a professional degree in medicine; in those countries, the equivalent professional degree is typically titled Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS).

In 1928, Richards returned to the Presbyterian Hospital and began his research on pulmonary and circulatory physiology, working under Professor Lawrence Henderson of Harvard. He began collaborations with André Cournand at Bellevue Hospital, New York, working on pulmonary function. Initially their research focussed on methods to study pulmonary function in patients with pulmonary disease.

Physiology science of the function of living systems

Physiology is the scientific study of the functions and mechanisms which work within a living system.

Lawrence Joseph Henderson was a physiologist, chemist, biologist, philosopher, and sociologist. He became one of the leading biochemists of the early 20th century. His work contributed to the Henderson–Hasselbalch equation, used to calculate pH as a measure of acidity.

Harvard University private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with about 6,700 undergraduate students and about 15,250 post graduate students. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning, and its history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the world's most prestigious universities.

Their next area of research was the development of a technique for catheterization of the heart. Using this technique they were able to study and characterise traumatic shock, the physiology of heart failure. They measured the effects of cardiac drugs and described various forms of dysfunction in chronic cardiac diseases and pulmonary diseases and their treatment, and developed techniques for the diagnosis of congenital heart diseases. For this work, Richards, Cournand, and Werner Forssmann were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for 1956.[ citation needed ]

Shock is the state of not enough blood flow to the tissues of the body as a result of problems with the circulatory system. Initial symptoms may include weakness, fast heart rate, fast breathing, sweating, anxiety, and increased thirst. This may be followed by confusion, unconsciousness, or cardiac arrest as complications worsen.

Heart failure condition in which the heart is unable to provide sufficient pump action

Heart failure (HF), also known as chronic heart failure (CHF), is when the heart is unable to pump sufficiently to maintain blood flow to meet the body's needs. Signs and symptoms of heart failure commonly include shortness of breath, excessive tiredness, and leg swelling. The shortness of breath is usually worse with exercise, while lying down, and may wake the person at night. A limited ability to exercise is also a common feature. Chest pain, including angina, does not typically occur due to heart failure.

In 1945 Richards moved his lab to Bellevue Hospital, New York. In 1947 he was made the Lambert Professor of Medicine at Columbia University, where he had taught since 1925. During his career he also served as an advisor to Merck Sharp and Dohme Company, and edited the Merck Manual. Richards retired from his positions at Bellevue and Columbia in 1961.


Richards received many other honors, including the John Phillips Memorial Award of the American College of Physicians in 1960, the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur in 1963, the Trudeau Medal in 1968, and the Kober Medal of the Association of American Physicians in 1970.

He died in Lakeville, Connecticut.

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