Born in Vienna in 1923, I finished my medical studies at the University of Vienna only in 1953, being detained by military service in the German army and 5 years imprisonment of war by the US army in Africa. After graduation I started specialization in internal medicine at the University Clinic in Vienna. In the early fifties english colleagues reported exciting news about the use of radioactive isotopes in biological and medical research. We tried to start with cardiological studies with 24Na, but overall logistic problems were enormous so I decided to go abroad to learn. I applied for a Fulbright grant in a US center. I got it – and this was my lucky day!
I joined the UCLA in Berkeley and San Francisco with John Lawrence, Kenneth G. Scott and Hal Anger and, later in New York, Solomon Berson and Rosalyn Yalow, who later got the Nobel Prize for the radioimmunoassay – all absolute top people in the field of "peaceful use of atomic energy," i.e. in nuclear medicine.
I had crossed the Atlantic in September 56 in 7 days with a ship of the Holland America Line, and the North American continent from New York to San Francisco in 5 days with a train and returned to Vienna in January 1957 after a rather unique training for a wonderful professional life in a exceptional time of rehabilitation after war.
Our group was one of the first in Europe to work with radioisotopes in medicine. We organized a very successful biannual international conference on nuclear medicine in Bad Gastein and carried it on for over half a century. I was commissioned in 1974 with the foundation of the European Society of Nuclear Medicine…...
And all this started with the Fulbright grant!
Dr. Rudolf Höfer, MD, was an Austrian Fulbright Scholar to the University of California, San Francisco in the field of medicine in 1956–57.