David Dewhurst – Biomedical Engineer and IFMBE Pioneer

  • R. L. G. Kirsner
  • J. S. McKenzie
Conference paper
Part of the IFMBE Proceedings book series (IFMBE, volume 41)


David Dewhurst was an idiosyncratic, warmhearted and cheerful man who played a major part in establishing bio-medical engineering in Australia. He had a long association with the IFMBE, was President from 1968-1971 and chaired the 9th ICMBE held in Melbourne. Initially a Classicist destined for the church, he studied physiology and electronics after his return from World War 2 and ran an innovative medical instrumentation group in the Department of Physiology at The University of Melbourne. With the purchase of a minicomputer in 1965, the first in Melbourne, David and his group developed hardware and software for biological signal analysis and carried out a number of studies of human arm reflexes. His strong interest in electrical safety and electrocution led him to play a prominent role in the development of electrical safety standards, with Australia leading the world in this. He was proud to be a member of a government panel evaluating medical technology and advising the Australian Government on the introduction of new medical techniques such as MRI. David also co-supervised the development and construction of the first cochlear ear implant. A gifted teacher and excellent communicator, he wrote widely on technical and non-technical topics including his “On the Real Axis” series produced for the IFMBE.


Biomedical Engineering Electrical Engineer Department Geiger Counter Electrical Safety Excellent Communicator 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. L. G. Kirsner
    • 1
  • J. S. McKenzie
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Electronic EngineeringLa Trobe University BundooraMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Department of PhysiologyThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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