Andres Giedion, 1925–2013
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Andres Giedion died on January 15, 2013, in his home at Zürich Doldertal. His wife, Monica, was with him. He was 87 years old. As the gentleman he was, Andres had bravely confronted his progressive neurological disease since the early months of 2012. He carried it to the end with noble resignation.
Born of two famous art historians, Andres grew up in a house that was open to visiting painters, sculptors and writers. Artistic avant-garde was part of the atmosphere. The arts were his vivid bystanders since childhood. They nurtured Andres’ imagination and shaped his visual strength. His father’s bestselling book, Space, Time and Architecture, would metaphorically become Andres’ guide into and through the radiologic world of shape and structure, from which arose, among others, Andres’ early “pattern recognition of the newborn chest” and his genuine and artistic distinction of atypical skeletal morphology.
Andres’ classical humanistic education included Latin and Greek. He graduated from gymnasium, university and medical school of Zürich. He then received a complete pediatric training at the Boston Children’s Hospital under Charles Janeway. In the course of the following years as a pediatric house staff under Guido Fanconi at the Zürich Kinderspital, Andres also underwent his basic training in radiology under Hans Rudolf Schinz at the Zürich Kantonsspital (University Hospital of Zürich). In 1958–1959 he returned to Boston, again to be a fellow under E.B.D. Neuhauser, who introduced him to pediatric radiology. In 1959, Andres was appointed head and in 1968 chief of radiology at the Zürich Kinderspital. His thesis, “Cone shaped epiphyses: natural history and diagnostic impact in endochondral growth disturbance,” was accepted in 1968 and he was awarded the title of professor in 1973. He held his position of chief until his retirement in 1990.
Andres’ mind was one of critical curiosity and high expectation with regard to himself as well as to his colleagues. His working attitude was marked by discipline and honesty. Never would he fail to recognize a colleague’s first observation of any smallest diagnostic grain, be it in a lecture or on paper. In the daily routine of clinical conferences, he would stimulate imaginative thinking, concise wording and conclusive statements. Not a few were shy at getting directly involved with this man who was hiding his humor and gentleness behind the stern look of a passionate teacher. His research was characterized by originality and thoroughness. He lived his life as a doctor, teacher and researcher with inexorable assiduousness. The fine tunes of his sensitivity were contrasting relief.
Andres had a lifelong interest in culture of any kind, especially in drawing, painting and architecture. He was consistently active in the artistic adornment of Kinderspital. And he was repeatedly involved in public cultural disputes of his city. After retirement he created a volume on the very specific concepts of alpine cottages in Davos, based on a famous painting by the German expressionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Alpine skiing and hiking were his passions outside and beyond his medical profession.
Andres Giedion was founding member and president of the European and the Swiss Societies of Paediatric Radiology. Among many scientific events, he organized the 1977 Annual Meeting of the ESPR in Luzern, Switzerland. He received various honors and awards including the Honorary Membership of the ESPR and SPR and the Neuhauser Lecturership at the first IPR in Toronto. He was of the pioneer generation of European pediatric radiology. Along with his wife, Monica, he leaves behind his son, Christoph; his daughter, Ursula, and her husband and their two sons; and his sister Verena and her son. Nationally and internationally, Andres was respected for his exceptional professional and human qualities as a pediatric radiologist, teacher, mentor and friend. By education and sensitivity, he was a citizen of the world. He lived in Zürich. In his Davos cottage he was at home. It is a privilege to remember him as a friend.