the British Society for the History of Radiology
An Interventional Radiology Odyssey: The Story of my Life and Work
by Josef Rosch
Springer 2016 pp103
Louis Harold Gray: a founding father of radiobiology by S Wynchank.
Springer 2017 pages 137
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Dr Arpan K Banerjee Past Chair British Society for History of Radiology
The 2018 annual lecture of the BSHR was held on the evening of 19 Feb 2018 in the Governor’s Hall of St Thomas’s Hospital. The title was ‘Edith and Florence Stoney pioneering sisters in Radiology’. The talk was a double act delivered by the distinguished radiology historians Prof Francis Duck and Prof Adrian Thomas the former concentrating on Edith and the latter Florence Stoney.
The Stoney sisters were remarkable women who deserve to be better remembered and this masterly exposition of their life and achievements were a fine tribute to their important legacy.
Edith the elder sister was born in Dublin in 1869 and Florence in 1870 being members of a distinguished family whose father was an FRS and distinguished physicist and 3 further FRS’s amongst the uncles and cousins.
Edith went to Cambridge and went on to become a distinguished medical physicist and became a Physics lecturer at the London School for Women. Florence who could not study medicine at Dublin as they did not admit women and was to qualify from the London School of Medicine for Women in 1895 and proceed to MD in 1898.
In 1902, Florence Stoney started the X-
At the outbreak of WW1 both Edith and Florence volunteered their services to the British Red Cross but was turned down by Sir Frederick Treeves the surgeon famous for the ‘Elephant Man’. Undeterred they went on to set up a voluntary 100 bed unit with the Belgian red Cross staffed mainly by women. Later the work was continued in France at Château Tourlaville near Cherbourg. By1915 Florence was working for the War Office and running the radiology department of the 1000 bedded Fulham Military Hospital.
Unfortunately her health deteriorated with dermatitis developing in her hands and after the war she settled in Bournemouth. She went on to become the founder and President of the Wesssex branch of the BIR.
From November 1917 to February 1919 Edith was in charge of the X-
Following the war she returned to teaching physics and eventually retired to Bournemouth to live with her sister.
Edith died in 1938 six years after Florence who died in 1932.
The story of these two remarkable women was beautifully told and well illustrated with slides and all those who attended were able to learn about these two brilliant, inspiring women who in spite of such difficulties were to become early British pioneers of medical physics and radiology.
Reviewed by Dr Arpan K Banerjee Past Chair Brit Soc History of Radiology
Hermann Muller was born in the USA on Dec 21 1890 of German heritage (his grandfather had emigrated from Germany in the mid 1850’s ).He studied at Columbia and then taught physiology at Cornell Medical College. His great passion however was genetics and he wanted to do research on Drosophila a field of study initially pioneered by the eminent scientist Thomas Morgan who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1933 in medicine for his work on chromosomes and heredity. Julian Huxley the eminent biologist found Muller a job at the Rice institute , Houston where he started his pioneering work on mutations. From 1925 onwards he was Professor at Texas teaching genetics.
In 1926 he discovered that radiation (xrays) caused gene mutations. This was to
result in the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1946. Muller was showered with numerous
honours. Muller’s socialist and communist leanings are well covered in this book.
His years of exile in Russia 1934-
In 1945 he became a Professor of Zoology at Indiana, USA. He published many books including ‘The Mechanism of Mendelian Heredity’ with Morgan in addition to over 300 original papers.
Meggitt’s biography of this fascinating maverick, scientific genius is a thoroughly researched account of a remarkable life and does not shirk from discussing the controversial aspects of his subject’s character and beliefs including the subject’s communist convictions and belief in eugenics.
In the early days of X-
Check Arpan Banerjee’s recent article in Rad magagzine on Radiology and Nobel Prizes
HISTORY OF MEDICAL PHYSICS E-