Bovie, William

Bovie, William
SUBJECT AREA: Medical technology
b. 11 September 1882 Augusta, Michigan, USA
d. 1 January 1958 Fairfield, Maine, USA
American biophysicist and inventor of the electrosurgical (electrocoagulating) knife.
Of farming stock, Bovie entered the University of Michigan in 1904 but did not obtain his degree until 1908. During this time he taught geology and biology at Antioch and attended the University of Missouri. In 1910 he moved to Harvard and engaged in plant growth research using an instrument invented by him, the auxometer. In 1914 he gained his PhD in connection with studies on the effects of ultraviolet light on protoplasm. He was Director of the Cancer Commission laboratory and in 1916 investigated the effects of heat and radiation on living tissues and assisted in the development of radium applicators. Bovie's invention, in 1926, of the electrosurgical knife, which permitted the performance of bloodless surgery, came to the attention of Cushing, who was able in 1927 to report on its use in 547 neurosurgical operations. In 1927 Bovie was appointed Professor and Chairman of the Department of Biophysics at Northwestern University, Illinois, and in 1929 he moved to Maine to set up his own private laboratory.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
City of Philadelphia John Scott Medal 1928.
H.W.Cushing, 1928, "Electrosurgery as an aid to the removal of intracranial tumours", Surg. Obstet. Gynec.
Kelly and Ward, 1932, Electrosurgery, Philadelphia.
Further Reading
1979, "W.T.Bovie: The man and the machine", Ann. Plast. Surg.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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