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Lown Peace Bridge Dedication 2008 (cropped)
Bernard Lown at the dedication of the Bernard Lown Peace Bridge, 2008

Bernard Lown (born June 7, 1921) is a Lithuanian-born American cardiologist and anti-nuclear war activist. He is the original developer of the DC defibrillator and the cardioverter, as well as a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Lown developed the direct current defibrillator for cardiac resuscitation and the cardioverter for correcting rapid disordered heart rhythms, and introduced a new use for the drug lidocaine to control heartbeat disturbances. Throughout his medical career, Lown focused on two major medical challenges: the problem of sudden cardiac death and the role of psychological stress on the cardiovascular system. His investigations led to many medical break-throughs.

His work made possible and safe much of modern cardiac surgery, as well as a host of other innovations.

In 1985, Lown accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, an organization he co-founded with Soviet cardiologist Dr. Yevgeny Chazov, who later was Minister Of Health of the USSR.

Lown was born to a Jewish family in Utena, Lithuania, the son of a rabbi. He was raised in Lewiston, Maine. Lown studied at the University of Maine and at Johns Hopkins University. He is married to Louise Lown. They have three children.

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