Bickford, Reginald George 1913 - 1998


(1913-1998), neuropsychiatrist

Reginald George Bickford was born in Breewood, South Staffordshire on 20 January 1913. He qualified in medicine at Cambridge University in 1935, before taking up house physician and house surgeon posts at University College Hospital, London.

During the Second World War (1939-1945), Bickford served as a neuropsychiatrist in the Royal Air Force and conducted research on head injuries among flight crews at St Hugh’s Military Hospital (Head Injuries) in Oxford. This work stimulated an interest in the electrical activity of the brain, which would profoundly shape his career in the years to come.

After the war, Bickford accepted a research associate post at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where he was later promoted to Professor of Physiology and Head of the Department of Electro-encephalography. During this period, his research focused on the clinical applications of electroencephalography (EEG, the measurement of the electrical activity of the brain) in areas ranging from anaesthesia to epilepsy surgery.

In 1969, he moved to the University of California, San Diego to become Professor in the Department of Neurosciences and head of the EEG Laboratory, posts which he retained until his retirement in 1980. In 1992, he received the American EEG Society’s highest honour, the Herbert H. Jasper award.

Bickford was married to Joy Bickford, a psychiatrist at Rochester State Hospital, with whom he had two children. He died in San Diego, California on 26 June 1998.