the British Society for the History of Radiology


100 Years of Medical Radiology, Adrian Thomas

The Story of Radiology, ESR     Pt1 Pt2

X-Rays in Medicine - the First Century

Early American radiology: the pioneer years, D J DiSantis AJR, 147, 1986

Preserving, celebrating radiology’s revolutionary road RSNA News


An Interventional Radiology Odyssey: The Story of my Life and Work
by Josef Rosch

Springer  2016 pp103

Reviewed by Dr Arpan K Banerjee  Chair  Brit  Soc  Hist  Radiology

Autobiographies written by radiologists are few and far between. Few radiologists have chronicled their  own life stories. It is therefore  a great pleasure to find this new  radiology autobiography written by a true giant of interventional radiology. Josef Rosch who was born in 1925 in Czechoslovakia  has chronicled his amazing life story in this slim volume. It is  a  delight to read and is  likely to inspire the next generation of interventional radiologists. Rosch  was inspired to do radiology by his inspirational radiology teaching during  medical  student  days having initially intended to be a physician.

Between 1954 and 1967 he carried out research on angiography in Prague. In  1967 he moved to Oregon on a research fellowship to work with Charles Dotter, the angiography pioneer. The pioneering  work on gastrointestinal  bleed embolization, thrombolysis, pharmacoangiograhy and TIPS( transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt)  and expandable metallic stents carried out there  is described. Rosch chronicles his friendship with Judkins, Dotter and Bill Cook (owner and President of Cook Medical)  amongst many other friendships.

He mentored  generations  of future leaders in their fields. The founding of the Dotter Interventional Institute in 1990 is described along with his subsequent new fellows and research which continued well  into his retirement years.

Rosch has had a brilliant career in this new field and can lay claim to be one of the true pioneers of this subject. His phenomenal industry , prolific research output and work ethic come through in this slim volume. All who read it will be inspired by his remarkable story and  his outstanding contribution to the new field of medicine.                                                          





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If you wish to look at the Journal you will need our group username and password. Members can obtain these from the Secretary. Email


Louis Harold Gray: a founding  father of radiobiology  by S Wynchank.

Springer 2017 pages 137

Reviewed by Dr Arpan K Banerjee  Past Chairman British Society for the History of Radiology.

This slim volume is  a publication from the Springer Biography series. The last contribution in the series I read was the superb  autobiography of Rosch the interventional radiology pioneer.

This biography is of Louis Harold  Gray  the British physicist and  a giant in the field of radiobiology which is the basis of modern radiotherapy. Hal  Gray as he was known was born in London  in 1905 an only child educated at Christ’s Hospital and subsequently  the physics department at Cambridge University where he was taught by Rutherford. He was a brilliant student and continued to do a PHD at the Cavendish labs under the supervision of  Chadwick  discoverer  of the neutron and a Nobel Laureate. Gray was interested in nuclear physics and was interested in how ionising radiation could treat tumours. He moved to Mount Vernon Hospital to pursue his interests as hospital physicist. He used a neutron generator to measure ionising effects on tissues. After the War he moved to the MRC Radiotherapy research unit at the Hammersmith Hospital where his team did much pioneering work.

In 1949 he became President of the British Institute of Radiology. Sadly, after differences with his boss  at he MRC unit he had to leave the Hammersmith Hospital in 1953 and returned to Mount Vernon where he built a superb  world famous radiobiology unit. He did much travelling in the late 1950’s when he was at the height of his fame. Gray was elected Fellow of the Royal Society. Gray’s stroke is described and he sadly passed away in 1965 aged only 59. In 1975 he was honoured by having  the absorbed dose of radiation named after him.

This well researched  biography  is a delight to read and tells the story of a remarkable scientist whose contributions  laid the foundation stones for future radiotherapy.

Report of the  British Society for the History of Radiology annual  lecture on ‘Albert Einstein’


Dr Arpan K Banerjee  Past Chair Brit Soc History of Radiology

The name Albert Einstein (1879-1955) is universally associated  with the term scientific genius and as a scientist he needs little in the way of an introduction.

Born in 1879 in Germany, he did not show early signs of his genius and in 1900 completed his teaching diploma in maths and physics at the Zurich Polytechnic. He struggled to get a job and ended up working in a patent office. In 1905 he completed his  PhD thesis from Zurich University entitled  ‘A New Determination of Molecular dimensions’. That was his annus mirabilis, publishing  four  important papers each itself worthy of a Nobel Prize aged only26 years. They were on the subject of Brownian motion, photoelectric effect (important for radiology), relativity and mass energy equivalence known more popularly as E=MC2. He instantly became  famous, became a lecturer in Berne , then a Professor in Prague, returning to Zurich in 1912 as Professor of Theoretical Physics. Einstein emigrated to USA and worked in Princeton. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. Einstein was feted the world over and became  friends with people as diverse as Charles Chaplin the film-maker and the Indian writer and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.

This year’s British Society for the History of Radiology’s annual lecture on 20 Feb 2017 was a theatrical  presentation entitled ‘Albert Einstein – Relativively speaking’ (pardon the pun!). It was presented by John Hinton and Jo Eagle of the Tangram Theatre Company (a company conceived by graduates of the Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris, a school of physical theatre whose alumni include Stephen Berkoff and  Yasmin Reza the playright).

John Hinton delivered the presentation  in the guise of Einstein and the evening included reminiscences of Einstein’s childhood,  his mother’s love of music, his first wife and her scientific contributions, his equivalence theory set to rap, his Princeton lecture, explanation of some of his ideas with audience participation.  His description of Arthur Eddington, the British  astronomer helping prove his theory of relativity during the solar eclipse of 1919, his relationship with his second wife Elsa  and more seriously his great upset that his discoveries had led to the atom bomb – Einstein was a pacifist.

The evening was  a fascinating, unique presentation of Einstein the man interspersed with music and song and had the audience captivated in the Governor’s Hall  at St Thomas’s Hospital, London on the 20th of February.

All who attended were enthralled and enlightened by the unique performance re-telling the story of Einstein,  a man universally acknowledged as the brightest scientific star in the human intellectual firmament.

First published in Rad Magazine  April 12 2017 p11

Review of History of Radiology Session  UKRC Radiology Conference 2017, 13 June, Manchester.

Reviewed by Dr Arpan K Banerjee, Past Chairman British Society for the History of Radiology.

This year’s annual congress was  held in Manchester Conference centre a  couple of weeks after the city had been subject  to the dreadful bombing at the  end of the Ariana  Grande concert in  Manchester Arena. This is the first time in living memory that bags were searched at the conference entrance – a sad reflection of the modern world we live in.

The history session consisted of three talks. Prof Adrian Thomas opened with his talk on ‘Sebastian Gilbert Scott and the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis’.  Scott worked at the London Hospital. Scott had an interest in medical jurisprudence and skeletal variations. He published a book on this in  1931. He pioneered the importance of accurate interpretation of radiographs in compensation cases and insisted on quality radiographs of the injury being obtained  and the importance of being familiar with variations in appearance between normal and abnormal when interpreting these. He was a great pioneer in medico-legal reporting. Scott was, like many radiologists of his era, also interested in radiation treatment of medical conditions including asthma and ankylosing spondylitis.

This talk was followed by Dr Arpan K Banerjee’s talk on Neville Samuel Finzi (1881-1968). Finzi the pioneering  radiotherapist from St Bartholomew’s Hospital was a great medical benefactor leaving a large sum of money to the radiology section (he was President of the section  in 1943/44) of the Royal Society of Medicine in London. This money today funds the Finzi Prize for best paper presented at the Finzi Prize meeting. He pioneered high voltage radiotherapy in Britain and became an expert on throat cancer treatment. His many interests included mountain climbing , lawn tennis and music. Like Scott, Finzi also used radiation treatment for arthritis.

The final talk of the session was Prof Thomas discoursing on  ‘Philately and Tuberculosis’. The talk was illustrated with stamps of Koch, Calmette, Guerin and other pioneers in addition to ones of sanatoria, miniature radiography, radiography seals and stop TB campaigns.

All who attended  contributed to a lively discussion of the topics at the end and  the session was accompanied by the annual  radiology history stand  in the conference venue.


14 OCTOBER 2017

This year the Oral History Society is holding its annual event for its regional networkers in Glasgow at the Scottish Oral History Centre.  This is a free event and open to local OHS members and groups working with oral histories.  BSHR is a Member of the OHS so any of ouir members would be welcome at the event.

We are inviting local OHS members/groups to give a 15 minute presentation and share their projects relating to any topic for the last hour of the event.

We have 4 presentation slots for Saturday 14th October.

If you are interested in attending RSVP by 24 Sept:

For more information click here