Intended for healthcare professionals


Richard J Bing

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 12 January 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d209
  1. Ned Stafford
  1. ns{at}

Cardiologist, composer, and writer who fled Nazi Germany

Medical research and composing music were two of the great pleasures of Richard Bing’s long life. And both pursuits, he believed, shared a similar goal. “Medical research and music have in common the drive to create,” he explained in short documentary film about his life, Para Fuera, commissioned by Microsoft and shown last year at the Sundance Film Festival. “The desire to create is really a desire to see something that has been invisible.”

Robert T Goldweber, a long time friend, said, “I believe music and medicine were two integrated parts of Richard’s life. He needed them both to exist.” Dr Goldweber, residency director at the department of emergency medicine at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, said that Dr Bing was pleased when his papers were published but added, “I personally believe he was most thrilled when one of his pieces of music was played, whether in a European cathedral or in a church in Pasadena—or in his home.”

But while Bing composed more than 300 musical scores, he wrote more than 500 research papers, the first in 1938 for Science magazine, a thrill that solidified his desire to pursue medical research. By the late 1940s, working alongside the globally renowned cardiologists Alfred …

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