A Tribute to the Life and Accomplishments of Birdwell Finlayson

Lawrence L. Yeung, Johannes W. Vieweg, Saeed R. Khan, Robert C. Newman, Philipp Dahm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Birdwell Finlayson was a talented researcher and clinician whose pioneering work in the field of urolithiasis led him to worldwide prominence in urology. We researched his life and accomplishments to provide a historical account of his career. Materials and Methods: The archives of the Department of Urology and the University of Florida Health Science Center Library were searched for publications, photographs and other records relating to Doctor Finlayson. Additionally, we interviewed many of his friends and colleagues for more information. Results: Birdwell Finlayson was born in Pocatello Bannock, Idaho. He completed a urology residency and obtained a Ph.D. in biophysics at the University of Chicago. In 1967 he joined the faculty at the University of Florida. His interest in understanding the fundamentals of stone formation led to the discovery that crystal retention at a site of nephron injury was essential for stone formation. This fixed particle hypothesis continues to serve to as the foundation for urolithiasis research today. His computer model EQUIL is the gold standard for calculating urinary supersaturation with respect to kidney stone formation. Finlayson was 1 of the 6 original coinvestigators for shock wave lithotripsy in the United States. He is also remembered for his wit and his love of aeronautics, as he was a flight instructor and stunt pilot. Finlayson died unexpectedly of idiopathic hypertrophic cardiomyopathy on July 22, 1988. Conclusions: Birdwell Finlayson was an internationally renowned surgeon and stone disease expert whose research continues to serve as the basis of urolithiasis research at the University of Florida and worldwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)842-846
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • history of medicine
  • nephrostomy
  • percutaneous
  • urinary calculi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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