In memory of ESNR Honorary Member Prof. Robert Zimmerman

01/03/2021 : In memory of ESNR Honorary Member Prof. Robert Zimmerman

Image courtesy of Prof. Erin Schwartz.


In memory of ESNR Honorary Member Prof. Robert Zimmerman

It is with great sadness I have to inform you that Prof. Robert Zimmerman, an honorary member of the European Society of Neuroradiology since 2001, passed away on February 22, 2021.

Prof. Zimmerman was a pioneer, a giant in our profession and inspired many colleagues around the world.


Professor Pia Maly Sundgren

ESNR President


Below you can read a nice “in memory of Prof Zimmerman” written by his good friend prof Bruno Bernardi.


In memory of Bob Zimmerman

by Bruno Bernardi


Robert A. Zimmerman, who was Emeritus Professor of Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania and the longtime director of Neuroradiology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, passed away on February 22. As one of the founding fathers of pediatric neuroradiology, Bob was a teacher and model for many of us. We are all familiar with Bob’s extensive professional attainments and the numerous successes that marked his long and exceptional career. Rather than list them in detail, I would like to remember him here for his great willingness to assist the colleagues who looked to him as an example and for the warm welcome he gave to so very many neuroradiologists who were able to broaden their training at the CHOP. For many of us he was also a friend, always ready to offer a suggestion or to make an ironic quip and cheer us with that laugh of his that could be heard from far away.

The ties that bound us were close and sincere; I remember his deep and spontaneous sorrow when we spoke by phone a few days after the death of Mario Savoiardo, the outstanding neuroradiologist from Milan, Italy. In 2016, as Section Coordinator and President of the Conference of Pediatric Neuroradiology in Rome, and with the agreement of the Executive Council of the Italian Association of Neuroradiology, I had invited him to Rome to award him with the honorary membership. He was disappointed not to be able to come, but he replied with the courtesy and respect that he had always shown for us and our work: “…It has been a great pleasure for me to know, to work with, and to train my colleagues from Italy, both at CHOP and in Italy. Italy is famous for its history, beauty, food and wine. It should be more famous for the fine quality of the people who became your friends in Italy…”.

In 1991 and 1992 I made several stays at the CHOP, the first lasting an entire year, thanks to Giovanni Ruggiero who wanted me to bring the fruits of that experience back to Bologna. In 1992, while I was over there, a group of friends as well as colleagues created the American Society of Pediatric Neuroradiology. At that time in Italy only a few of us devoted ourselves primarily to pediatric neuroradiology. We felt to be part of the same family, united by a common spirit of inquiry and the desire to grow by comparing our findings in an atmosphere of great respect and friendship. If today the pediatric section of the Italian Association of Neuroradiology has upheld those values while expanding its membership to a degree that would truly have been unthinkable back then, it is in large part a testimony to the role played by colleagues like Bob Zimmerman in imparting that same spirit to us.

Let me close with a warm embrace for Dianne Zimmerman, Bob’s wife and lifelong companion, whose intimidating English we Italians struggled to understand when we first landed in Philadelphia, but who has since remained in our hearts.