Lindsay Symon

1988, Seattle

Professor Lindsay Symon, the honored guest of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) for 1988, was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1929. He graduated from grammar school and Aberdeen University with outstanding academic achievements, having won virtually every scholastic award offered. His early attraction to the neurosciences was evident on his being awarded the Fulton Prize in Neurology for his dissertation on "The Natural History and Treatment of Migraine." Professor Symon was the outstanding graduate from Aberdeen University in 1951. He obtained his early clinical training in Aberdeen and became a clinical research fellow for the Medical Research Council in Physiology and Pharmacology at the National Institute for Medical Research in London. At the same time, he was also a registrar in neurosurgery at the Middlesex and Maida Vale Hospitals, a dual appointment he has maintained throughout his entire professional career.

In 1961, he was awarded a Rockefeller Traveling Fellowship in Medicine, which he took to Dr. John Sterling Meyer at Wayne State University in Detroit. It was here that he developed a major interest in the cerebral circulation and metabolism, which has remained a major topic of his research endeavors.

He completed his neurosurgical training at the Middlesex and Maida Vale Hospitals in 1968, following which he was appointed consultant to the National Hospitals at Queen's Square and Maida Vale. In 1978, he became professor of neurological surgery and chairman of the Gough Cooper Department of Neurological Surgery at the National Hospital, Queen's Square, in London. There he has developed an outstanding neurosurgical training program, which is considered one of the leading units in England. Research endeavors there have stressed not only his own interests in cerebral circulation and cerebral metabolism but also an active neurooncology laboratory of his associates. Three years ago, he was the recipient of the John Hunter Award of the College of Surgeons of England for research in cerebrovascular disorders. Professor Symon is the first neurosurgeon in the 100-year history of this award to be so honored.

Professor Symon is a prolific writer and has authored or coauthored over 400 publications, monographs, and books. His scientific interests have extended over a broad range of topics, including Advances and Technical Standards in Neurosurgery and Acta Neurochirurgica. He is a clinical surgeon par excellence, as well as an outstanding teacher and leader of young physicians. His pastimes are traveling and playing his beloved game of golf. He rarely travels to a meeting that he does not play if time allows. As a true connoisseur of the sport, he invariably makes time for it.

His wife, Pauline, frequently accompanies him on his many trips, including this Congress meeting. The Symons have three children. In 1988, their son was a physicist who ran a language school in Osaka, one daughter was an Arabic scholar who was working for the British Broadcasting Corporation, and the other daughter was a physician in Hungerford, England.

Professor Symon was named "Surgeon of the Year" by Surgical Neurology in 1985. It was a privilege to have him as the honored guest of the Congress in 1988.