Robert Plonsey

Robert Plonsey
Associated organizations
Duke University
Fields of study
IEEE Biomedical Engineering Award


Robert Plonsey is a notable contributor to the field of bioelectricity and is at present the Pfizer Pratt University Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University.

Dr. Plonsey received his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and his Master’s from New York University in 1948. After obtaining his PhD from University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Plonsey also attended the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, where he completed a year and a half of MD. He served as a professor at the same university and later moved to Duke University where he continued until retirement.

Dr. Plonsey is famous for applying electromagnetic field theory to biology. He researched on bioelectric phenomenon, especially the electrical energy of nerves and muscles. His most influential work is on the electrical properties of the heart. He co-authored very influential books like ‘Bioelectromagnetism’ and ‘Bioelectricity: A Quantitative Approach’. Dr. Plonsey is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1986. He has received numerous prestigious awards from the IEEE, notably the Centennial Medal in 1984, the Millenium Medal in 2000 and the 2013 IEEE Biomedical Engineering Award.