In Sight

For a Safer, Healthier World

Noted physician started group that won Nobel Peace Prize.

Photo by Rod Searcey/ Stanford University

Herbert L. Abrams, a pioneering physician and co-founder of a medical group that received the Nobel Peace Prize for its work to eliminate the possibility of nuclear war, died Jan. 20 at his home in Palo Alto, California. He was 95.

His death was announced by Stanford University, where he was a longtime faculty member. The cause was not disclosed.

In medicine, Dr. Abrams was a specialist in interventional radiology who was known for expanding the use of X-rays and other imaging technology for treatment rather than merely diagnosis.

He became renowned as one of the founders of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), bringing together doctors from the United States and the Soviet Union to advocate for tighter international controls over nuclear weapons.

The organization was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. Today, IPPNW draws upon doctors, medical students and other health workers in 64 countries, who share the common goal of creating a world free from the threat of nuclear annihilation. In a 1986 article in Stanford Medicine magazine, he maintained that the possible use of nuclear arms constituted “the central health issue of the 20th century.”

—Martin Weil, ©2016,
The Washington Post