Rapport, Richard (Richard Louis Rapport, II)

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Rapport, Richard (Richard Louis Rapport, II)


Son of Richard Louis, Sr., and Dorothy Esther Rapport. Education: Lawrence University, graduated, 1965.


Home—Seattle, WA.


Group Health Cooperative, Seattle, WA, neurosurgeon.


(Editor, with J. Kiffin Penry) Epilepsy Bibliography, 1900-1950, National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, MD), 1973.

Physician: The Life of Paul Beeson, Barricade Books (Fort Lee, NJ), 2001.

Nerve Endings: The Discovery of the Synapse, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2005.


Richard Rapport graduated from Lawrence University in 1965, and went on to become a neurosurgeon, working as a member of the surgical staff at Group Health Cooperative in Seattle, Washington. A respected surgeon, Rapport is the author or editor of several books. His first effort, Epilepsy Bibliography, 1900-1950, which he edited with J. Kiffin Penry, serves primarily as a reference work for medical personnel. He is also the author of Physician: The Life of Paul Beeson and of Nerve Endings: The Discovery of the Synapse.

In Physician, Rapport offers readers a thorough biography of Paul Beeson, a notable physician who climbed the ranks in academic medicine, earning himself prestige and great respect. He was held in highest esteem both by patients and colleagues, a status that was prompted in part by his outgoing, charming personality, and his humility in the face of his successes. Rapport provides a complete biography of Beeson's life, starting from his earliest childhood days living in rural Montana, and including his life in Alaska, as well as his successes and his more recent achievements.

Nerve Endings is another medical biography of sorts; however, unlike Physician, which traced Beeson's life and career, it focuses primarily on a single achievement and the two scientists who shared it. Santiago Ramon y Cajal made the initial discovery that there were gaps, or synapses, between nerve cells. However, Camillo Golgi improved upon that discovery by determining that the neurons could be stained in order to make them stand out, and in this way it would be possible to study their behavior. Prior to this discovery, it was believed that the cells themselves had to be touching in order to facilitate the necessary communications between them. This innovation set the standard for cell-level biological experiments and research from that point forward. Golgi and Ramon y Cajal went on to share the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 1906, and it was through their efforts that the modern study of neuroscience was ultimately born. Ted Woodcock, in a review for School Library Journal, found the book to be "a fascinating account of how two isolated and unknown individuals overcame significant obstacles and revolutionized the study of the nervous system." Roy Herbert, in a review for the New Scientist Online, opined that "Rapport conveys his enthusiasm for the subject well and is good on the social background of the 19th and early 20th centuries."



BioEssays, February, 2006, Roger Keynes, "Nerve Endings: A Sensitive Subject," review of Nerve Endings: The Discovery of the Synapse, p. 225.

Booklist, May 1, 2005, Gilbert Taylor, review of Nerve Endings, p. 1556.

Book World, July 24, 2005, Susan P. Williams, review of Nerve Endings, p. 13.

British Medical Journal, February 4, 2006, Boleslav L. Lichterman, review of Nerve Endings, p. 308.

JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, March 20, 2002, Phil R. Manning, review of Physician: The Life of Paul Beeson, p. 1463.

Nature, September 22, 2005, Jeffry S. Isaacson, review of Nerve Endings, p. 480.

New England Journal of Medicine, December 20, 2001, Stuart C. Finch, review of Physician, p. 1858.

New Scientist, April 23, 2005, "Find the Gap," p. 57.

School Library Journal, August, 2005, Ted Woodcock, review of Nerve Endings, p. 155.

School Science Review, June, 2006, Katrina Fox, review of Nerve Endings, p. 127.

Science Books & Films, November 1, 2005, Corliss Karasov, review of Nerve Endings, p. 250.

Science News, June 25, 2005, review of Nerve Endings, p. 415.

SciTech Book News, March, 2002, review of Physician, p. 81.

Virginia Quarterly Review, fall, 2005, Adam Gaiser, review of Nerve Endings.


Journal of Young Investigators Web site,http://www.jyi.org/ (February 26, 2008), review of Nerve Endings.

Lawrence University Web site,http://www.lawrence.edu/ (February 26, 2008), reviews of Physician and Nerve Endings.

New Scientist Online,http://www.newscientist.com/ (April 23, 2005), Roy Herbert, review of Nerve Endings.

Science Agogo,http://www.scienceagogo.com/ (September 16, 2005), review of Nerve Endings.

Selves and Others,http://www.selvesandothers.org/ (February 26, 2008), profile of Richard Rapport.