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Leonard Shlain (August 28, 1937 – May 11, 2009) was a US American surgeon, author, and inventor. He was chairperson of laparoscopic surgery at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, and was an associate professor of surgery at University of California, San Francisco.
His books include Art & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light (1991), The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image (1998), and Sex, Time and Power: How Women's Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution (2003).
Shlain is a native of Detroit who graduated from high school at the age of 15. After attending the University of Michigan, he earned an MD from Wayne State University School of Medicine at the age of 23. He served in the United States Army as a military base doctor in Saumur, France. Prior to his internship at UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion in San Francisco, he worked for a short time at Bellevue Hospital in New York City.
Later in his career, he spoke at such venues as the Smithsonian Institution, Harvard University, the Salk Institute, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, and the Conference on World Affairs; he also addressed the culture ministers of the European Union. He also contributed to Academic Press' Encyclopedia of Creativity (1999), edited by Mark Runco and Steven Pritzker.
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Shlain had three children with Carole Lewis Jaffe: Kimberly Brooks (who is married to actor/comedian Albert Brooks); Dr. Jordan L. Shlain, M.D.; and Tiffany Shlain, filmmaker and founder of the Webby Awards.
After he and Carole divorced, Shlain lived in Mill Valley, California with his second wife, Ina Gyemant. He died on May 11, 2009 (at age 71) after a two-year struggle with brain cancer. The film Connected: An Autoblogography About Love, Death & Technology (2011), directed by Shlain's daughter Tiffany, is in part a portrait of him.
- Stannard, Matthew B. (May 13, 2009). "Dr. Leonard Shlain - surgeon, inventor, author". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 18, 2009.
- Maugh, Thomas H., II (May 18, 2009). "Dr. Leonard Shlain dies at 71; best-selling author and pioneer of laparoscopic surgery". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 19, 2009.
- I served in the US Army in Saumur, France with Dr. Leonard Shlain –Lowell McFarland
- Mark A. Runco and Steven R. Pritzker, ed. (1999). Encyclopedia of creativity, Volume 1. Elsevier. ISBN 978-0-12-227076-5.
- Audio interview with Leonard Shlain
- Leonard Shlain biodata
- Leonard Shlain biodata in Science News article
- Interview with Leonard Shlain on what the alphabet engenders