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A tribute to the late Norman Zinner

Updated 04 May 2012 at 11:33 by Ashley Brookes


Norman Zinner lived life to the fullest. Whether he was at home in California or travelling with his dear wife Nancy and enjoying the wonders of the world, whether he was working at his beloved profession of urology, whether he was at a scientific meeting with his colleagues and friends, Norman was always enthusiastic, involved, challenging himself and others to look at things differently, and above all interested in other people and how they think and feel.

His biography appears in the recent History of the ICS 1971-2010, of which he was one of the authors along with Ted Arnold and Eric Glen.

He was a Urology resident in 1961 and while focusing on urodynamic studies with Rog Ritter, challenged the common practices of female urethral dilation and Y-V plasty for ‘stenosis’. These were commonly done procedures. In 1966 he joined the University of Washington, founded a urodynamic laboratory and organized a multidisciplinary team of researchers, engineers, mathematicians, and physicians to study obstruction. He studied obstruction by analyzing high-speed photography that depicted the urine stream in droplets. Thus was born one of the first non-invasive urodynamic methods.

He urged the formation of the Standardization Committee of the ICS and was a member of the first committee. Over the years he not only contributed in a major way to the ICS but to other societies such as the original Urodynamics Society and then to SUFU.

I first met Norman and Nancy in 1978 at my first ICS meeting and have kept contact with him ever since. Norman was a passionate, caring, and considerate man who was an original thinker. He always had a kind word and an interesting story about his work, his family, or his life experiences whenever I met him.

Norman Zinner was one of the great individuals in our Society and he will be missed.

Sender Herschorn, General Secretary.

A tribute to the late Norman Zinner