William Dement, MD, PhD, is recognized for his contributions to sleep medicine in The Washington Post.

[RELATED: William C. Dement, MD, PhD, Father of Sleep Medicine, Dies]

A passionate and even whimsical teacher and mentor, Dr. Dement was known for practicing what he preached, granting extra credit to students who nodded off in his undergraduate sleep class — then waking them up with a squirt gun and urging them to stand on their feet and declare, “Drowsiness is red alert!”

The mantra served as a reminder that drowsiness could be deadly, especially on the road, and became a kind of motto for Dr. Dement. A onetime professional bassist, he was said to have turned from jazz to medicine after deciding that it was better to be a mediocre doctor than a mediocre musician. He went on to champion the creation of a jazz program at Stanford while notching a series of firsts in the field of sleep science.