AO history conversations

On the occasion of the AO’s 65th anniversary in 2023, Robin Greene talks to AO Foundation founding members Peter Matter and Thomas Rüedi about the AO’s spirit of collaboration and its impact on their careers. He also visits Peter Matter at his home in Davos and takes him on a drive through town, stopping by the locations that played an important role in the AO’s history.

Interview with Thomas Rüedi and Peter Matter

Robin Greene meets AO Foundation founding members Peter Matter and Thomas Rüedi at the AO offices in Zizers to talk about their very personal AO histories. Matter shares his recollections of the "open-minded discussions" during the first AO Davos Courses in 1960, and Rüedi remembers how friendships were valued and fostered between the founding members. "Today, the enthusiasm of members and faculty at the courses reflects this idea of friends, of an AO family."

Peter Matter’s AO Journey: Part 1

Peter Matter talks to Robin Greene about his childhood in Zollikon near Zurich and his early years as a surgeon in Chur, Basel and Davos. He shares how he wanted to apply for a job in the pathology department in Geneva, but since all the positions there were already taken, he "ended up with Allgöwer in Chur." Working with Martin Allgöwer shaped and defined his career, and he attended the first AO Davos Courses in 1960. Being too young and inexperienced to participate in the practicals, he remembers being "responsible for beer and sausages."

Peter Matter’s AO Journey: Part 2

Robin Greene takes Peter Matter on a drive through snowy Davos. Matter talks about his work as chief surgeon of the local hospital and reminisces about the early days of the AO. He recalls his family skiing days on the Rinerhorn and how one year, after particularly heavy snowfall during the AO Davos Courses, he and the mayor of Davos had to trigger an avalanche in the middle of the night to make sure that the American surgeons could fly home in time for Christmas. 

Learn more about AO history


AO archive and history page

Interview with Hansjörg Wyss

Interview with Janine Aebi-Müller

All AO history news articles