John Heysham Gibbon Jr., AB, MD, was an American surgeon best known for inventing the heart-lung machine and performing subsequent open heart surgeries which revolutionized heart surgery in the twentieth century. He was the son of Dr. John Heysham Gibbon, Sr., and Marjorie Young Gibbon, and came from a long line of medical doctors including his father, grandfather Robert, great-grandfather John and great-great grandfather.
Gibbon received his AB from Princeton University in 1923 and his MD from Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia in 1927. Later, he received honorary degrees from the Universities of Princeton, Buffalo and Pennsylvania and Dickinson College. He married Mary Hopkinson, daughter of painter Charles Hopkinson. He had four children: Mary, John, Alice and Marjorie.
During World War II, he served in the Burma China India Theater.
Gibbon died in 1973, ironically from a heart attack, while playing tennis.
His papers are held at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland.