Neurosurgeon Ben Carson is credited with many pioneering neurosurgical procedures. He became a Library of Congress “Living Legend” and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He later contested in the 2016 presidential primaries, has authored numerous books, was a Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and earned 60 honorary doctorates.
Sam Sheppard went from being a popular doctor at the Bay View Hospital to a murder suspect. After spending a decade behind bars, convicted of bludgeoning his wife, Marilyn Reese, to death in their bedroom and sentenced to life, he was eventually acquitted due to a lack of sufficient evidence.
Indian-American neurosurgeon and author Paul Kalanithi was a brilliant student, who initially studied both English literature and human biology at Stanford and later studied medicine at Yale. He died of metastatic lung cancer but not before penning the memoir When Breath Becomes Air, a New York Times bestseller, released posthumously.
Cognitive psychologist and Harvard professor Howard Gardner is known for introducing the theory of multiple intelligences, first mentioned in his book Frames of Mind. Born to Jewish immigrants in the US, Gardner was a talented pianist in his younger days and later studied social relations and developmental psychology at Harvard.
American neurologist Walter Jackson Freeman II is remembered for co-developing the technique of prefrontal lobotomy as a treatment for mental ailments, along with neurosurgeon James W. Watts. Though many of his patients died due to the treatment, he is still considered a pioneer in the field of neurosurgery.
Nobel Prize-winning neurobiologist Eric Kandel is known for his research on the role of synapses in memory and learning. An Austrian Jew, he left his country with his family and moved to the U.S. in the wake of anti-Semitism. A doctor, specializing in psychiatry, he later taught at Columbia University.
Pediatric neurosurgeon James T. Goodrich was an expert in cranial reconstructive surgeries and also conducted multiple successful operations on separating conjoined twins. The Columbia University alumnus also had also served the US Marines during the Vietnam War. He was also fond of travel and surfing. He succumbed to COVID-19 at age 73.
Pathologist Thomas Stoltz Harvey was the man who conducted an autopsy on Albert Einstein. It is believed the Princeton Hospital employee later stole Einstein’s brain without his family’s permission and even lost his job for it. He kept parts of the brain with him for 43 years.
A pioneer of medical neurology, Silas Weir Mitchell not only discovered the causalgia and erythromelalgia but also penned more than 100 monographs on various medical treatments. A talented author, he also penned children’s stories, poems, and novels, such as Roland Blake. He also developed rest cure during the American Civil War.
The son of an architect, Stanley B. Prusiner earned the nickname "little Genius" for inventing a bug repellent in school. The Nobel Prize-winning biochemist and neurologist is best known for discovering prions, or proteins that cause diseases, and thus suggesting an explanation for the mad cow disease.
Nobel Prize-winning physiologist Joseph Erlanger is best known for discovering that fibers in the same nerve cord have different functions. He was also known for his association with the University of Wisconsin and Washington University. He conducted most of his studies with his former student Herbert Spencer Gasser.
Austrian-American neurophysiologist and psychiatrist Manfred Sakel is remembered for his pioneering use of the insulin shock therapy to treat patients of schizophrenia. Initially a researcher in Vienna, he fled to the US in the wake of the Nazi invasion. His brand of therapy was later replaced by electroconvulsive therapy.
Part of the Ransohoff family of surgeons, Joseph Ransohoff had a 30-year stint at the New York University. It is believed the series Ben Casey was based on his experiences. The Harvard alumnus had also wished to be part of the Spanish Civil War at one point.
The son of a drug store owner, Fred Plum was determined to build a career in neurology after losing his sister to polio. Known for his studies on comatose patients, he also coined the terms locked-in syndrome and persistent vegetative state. His final years were spent battling a form of dementia.
Harvard professor and pediatric neurologist Bronson Crothers initially spent a few years practicing in Minnesota before becoming an army doctor during World War I. He is best remembered for his work on neurological injuries that cause conditions such as cerebral palsy. He also served the American Pediatric Society as its president.
Pakistani-American neurologist Teepu Siddique initially studied botany and then switched to medicine. He is best remembered for his efforts to find out the reasons behind the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He was also known for his association with institutes such as the Northwestern University and the University of Southern California.
John O'Keefe is an American-British neuroscientist and psychologist. He is best known for his discovery of place cells in the hippocampus. Along with May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser, he won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2014. He is also the recipient of several other awards. He spent his entire academic career at the University College London.