The award was particularly controversial as Dr. Chazov, a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, who was the Kremlin leader’s personal doctor and who, a decade earlier, had spoken out against the only other Soviet Nobel Peace Prize winner, Andrei D, Sakharov, the human rights activist who, as a physicist, was instrumental in developing the hydrogen bomb in the Soviet Union was involved.
In a 2008 paper titled “Prescription for Survival: A Doctor’s Journey to Ending Nuclear Madness,” Dr. Lown shared the story of his anti-nuclear group, noting that the end of the Cold War had not resolved the threat of annihilation. “Eliminating the nuclear threat,” he wrote, “is a historic challenge that questions whether we humans have a future on planet earth.”
Bernard Lown was born on June 7, 1921 in Utena, Lithuania, to Nisson and Bella (Grossbard) Lown. A grandfather of his had been a rabbi in Lithuania.
The family emigrated to Maine in 1935 and his father ran a shoe factory there in Pittsfield. Bernard graduated from Lewiston High School in 1938. In 1942 he earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Maine and in 1945 a degree in medicine from Johns Hopkins University.
In 1946 he married Louise Lown, a cousin. She died in 2019. The couple had previously lived in Newton, Massachusetts. In addition to his granddaughter Ariel, three children, Anne, Fredric and Naomi Lown survive; four other grandchildren; and a great grandson
After an internship and a stay in New York, Dr. Lown settled in Boston in 1950 and taught and conducted cardiovascular research at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and Harvard Medical School for the next decade.
In 1952 he and Dr. Samuel A. Levine in the Journal of the American Medical Association said that patients with heart failure should relax in an armchair rather than in a bed because fluids build up in the chest cavity when lying down, forcing the heart to work harder. The advice is now generally accepted.