Cover Image


View/Hide Left Panel

pneumography for measuring the respiration of astronauts who flew the Mercury and Gemini spaceships for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He also designed simple yet effective physiological monitoring systems that are still in use today. Most recently, he designed a simple tool for effective cardiopulmonary resuscitation that can easily provide 100 pounds of force without danger of cracking a rib or the sternum.

Les married Dr. LaNelle E. Reese in 1962. LaNelle, who led the School of Nursing at Purdue University for many years, helped Les bridge the gap between engineering and medicine. Les’s research on electrodes and cardiovascular, neural, and respiratory devices and restorative tissues resulted in numerous diagnostic and therapeutic methods affecting thousands of lives. He had many patents; one of them brought the largest out-licensing deal in the history of Purdue University.

Despite his sky-high scientific achievements and adoration by his peers, Les Geddes was a remarkably down-to-earth man. He was easy to access, have a conversation with, and exchange ideas. He was always available to those who requested time with him, no matter who or why. He was frequently the first person arriving at a meeting place, and many times he arranged the desks and brought additional chairs to the room to make the meeting more pleasant and efficient. It all stemmed from his love and respect of people, and it was most pronounced in his teaching. He was masterful at guiding students in his classes and research group to be independent thinkers with ample curiosity, motivating them to be their best. His excellence in teaching led to his induction into the Purdue University Book of Great Teachers in 2008. Whether we knew Les through occasional acquaintance only or on a daily basis as his colleague, our impression of him was the same—what we saw is what he was. Like a good neighbor, he always tried to find something to help others and cherished and valued the wonderful people he had around him.

From his arrival at Purdue University in 1974 until his official retirement in 1991 at the age of 70, Les dedicated

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement