Posts tagged: radiation

Hermann Lisco papers are open for research

By , December 18, 2017

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the Hermann Lisco Papers, 1899-2000 (inclusive), 1940-1974 (bulk) to research. Joseph Giese, a Center intern who completed his studies at the Simmons College School of Library and Information Sciences in December, processed this collection and wrote this post with the supervision of Betts Coup.

Herman Lisco (1910-2000), M.D., 1936, University of Berlin, was a German-born pathologist who first worked as an assistant at the University of Berlin at the Charite-Krankenhaus briefly the year he graduated, before departing Germany due to its political climate for the United State – he was married to a Jewish woman. After immigrating, he began working as an assistant and instructor at Johns Hopkins University Medical School and Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, where he remained for four years.  In 1940, he moved to Boston, Massachusetts, to work at Harvard Medical School, and served as an instructor of pathology there for another four years. At that time, he was recruited by the Biology and Health Division of the University of Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, Manhattan District of the U.S. Army, also known as the Manhattan Project, where he became the first doctor to perform an autopsy on an individual who had died of acute radiation poisoning.  In 1947, he went to work for the Argonne National Laboratory until 1957.  In 1967, he returned to work at Harvard Medical School as a professor, and worked as an Associate Dean (1969), Associate Professor of Anatomy (1970-1977), Deputy Chairman of Medical Sciences (1977-1982). He formally retired in 1981 as an Associate Professor of Anatomy.

Lisco’s research focused on the carcinogenic effects of plutonium and the radiotoxicity of other elements and chemicals on humans and lab animals, as well as radiation’s effects on the formation of tumors and lymphoma.  He wrote often on the “acute radiation syndrome” provoked in organisms by excessive exposure to radiation, and much of his research focused on cancer, and the side effects of radiation therapy on patients being treated for cancer.  He conducted a number of trips to Europe that dealt with studying the incidence of leukemia in women treated with radiotherapy for cervical cancer.  Much of his work was devoted to the study of the pathological effects of atomic radiation, and the importance of radiological protection and importance of medical supervision in radiation work.

The collection reflects Lisco’s professional, research, and publishing activities, but also his personal activities and interests.  Contained within are research records, selected reprints, notes, medical images, speeches, and programs from meetings of organizations of which he was There is also correspondence of a more personal nature, including letters concerning conscientious objector status, letters to specialist physicians and former students who were not particularly connected to research Lisco was undertaking, newspaper updates on the political situation in Germany 1989-1990, information about his inner life, photographs of Lisco himself and a number of people with whom he had interacted over the course of his career, and scrapbooks with grade reports from his life in Germany between the years of 1918 to 1936, dating back to as early as when he was eight years old.

The finding aid can be found at: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HMS.Count:med00399.

For information regarding access to this collection, please contact the  Public Services staff.

Charles L. Dunham Papers Open to Research

By , June 27, 2012

Charles L. Dunham speaking at Lauriston Sale Taylor's National Bureau of Standards retirement party, 1965. H MS c384. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the papers of Charles L. Dunham, M.D. have been processed and are now open to research. Charles L. Dunham (1906-1975) was Director of the Division of Biology and Medicine at the United States Atomic Energy Commission (1955-1967) and Chairman of the Division of Medical Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences (1967-1972). Dunham’s research focused on the role ecology played in the field of atomic energy, as well as the application of nuclear medicine in the diagnosis and understanding of disease.

The bulk of the papers consist of travel reports, research and meeting notes, report drafts, and publications from Dunham’s tenure as Director of the Division of Biology and Medicine at the United States Atomic Energy Commission and Chairman of the Division of Medical Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences. Papers also include correspondence, lectures, speeches, photographs, articles, and writings that address various topics in radiation, including civil defense and exposure to atomic bomb fallout radiation.

During the course of his career, Dunham authored numerous articles and was an active member of many professional organizations. He was President of the Radiation Research Society from 1969 to 1970, member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, and on the Board of Directors of the Health Physics Society from 1964 to 1967. He was also a member of the World Health Organization’s Expert Panel on Radiation and an advisor to the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation.

For more information about Charles L. Dunham, the collection, and how to access the materials, please view the collection finding aid.

Processing of the Charles L. Dunham papers was made possible by the Countway Library’s Lloyd E. Hawes Fund for Radiology.

Lauriston Sale Taylor Papers Open to Research

By , September 7, 2011

Lauriston Sale Taylor working in a laboratory in the 1920s. H MS c334. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

The Lauriston Sale Taylor Papers have been processed and are open for research. Taylor (A.B., 1926, Cornell University) was a radiation physicist, founder and President of the United States Advisory Committee on X-Ray and Radium Protection (later the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements), and Associate Director of the National Bureau of Standards from 1962 to 1965. His research focused on ionizing radiation and radiation protection standards. Taylor developed the guarded field standard ionization chamber and studied radiation measurement and protection, ionization of liquids, and variable oscillators. The bulk of the papers contain meeting minutes, drafts, correspondence, reports, and administrative records from Taylor’s tenure as President of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (1929-1977) and as a member of both the International Commission on Radiation Protection and Measurements and the International Commission on Radiological Protection. Papers also include lectures, speeches, photographs, audiovisual materials, court transcripts, and writings that address various topics in radiation protection, including civil defense and the maximum dose of radiation an individual can receive, also known as the maximum permissible dose.

Processing of the collection was made possible by the Countway Library’s Lloyd E. Hawes Fund for Radiology.

For more information about Lauriston Sale Taylor, the collection, and how to access the materials, please view the collection finding aid.

Radiation Protection: In the Beginning

By , April 4, 2011

Photograph of Lauriston S. Taylor in a high voltage laboratory during the making of a movie on radiation protection, February 1959. H MS c334. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

Processing of the papers of radiation physicist Lauriston S. Taylor, initiated in July 2010, is drawing to a close. In light of recent events in Japan, Taylor’s life’s work — radiation protection and the development of radiation standards — is particularly relevant.

In 1929, Taylor was accidentally exposed to radiation while working at the National Bureau of Standards. After this exposure, Taylor created his own instrument to monitor radiation levels in any location he was working. The instrument was carried around on a strap and is considered to be one of the first portable radiation detectors. In addition to the portable detector, Taylor developed a guarded-field ionization chamber to detect ionizing radiation, which became standard for the Bureau’s operations. Throughout his career, Taylor continued to study radiation protection instruments and in his unpublished autobiography, Taylor writes that in 1958 he created an electro-striction charger for a pocket ionization chamber. Along with his advances in radiation protection instruments, Taylor worked with various organizations to develop radiation protection standards. In the late 1920s, Taylor became aware of the lack of a unified radiation protection standard and helped establish the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements. Taylor served as President of the NCRP and was a member of the Subcommittee on Permissible Exposure under Emergency Conditions. Taylor also realized the need for international radiation protection standards and he collaborated with colleagues all over the world as a member of the International Commission on Radiological Protection and the International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements. Taylor worked with these organizations to establish standards for the maximum permissible dose, while at the same time serving on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s panel on the Development of Basic Radiation Safety Standards and the World Health Organization Advisory Panel on Radiation. In 1977, in honor of Taylor’s work in radiation protection, the Lauriston S. Taylor Lectures in Radiation Protection and Measurements was established.

Processing of the Lauriston S. Taylor collection is made possible by the Countway Library’s Lloyd E. Hawes Fund for Radiology.

Staff Finds: Lauriston Sale Taylor and Radiation Warning

By , February 9, 2011

Early hand drawn version of the radiation warning symbol. H MS c334. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

While processing the papers of Dr. Lauriston Sale Taylor (1902-2004), staff at the Center for the History of Medicine discovered a hand drawn version of an early radiation warning symbol in a November 1953 draft for a Subcommittee on Regulation of Radiation Exposure meeting held in Washington, D.C. The radiation warning symbol was first created in the late 1940s at the University of California’s Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley. It was not until the 1950s, however, that the radiation symbol was implemented as part of ANSI standard Z535, as published by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. Located throughout Taylor’s papers are numerous hand drawn early examples of the symbol. These early radiation warning symbols were discussed and drawn by members of committees of which Taylor was involved. For more information about the symbol, visit the Oak Ridge Associated Universities Museum Library website.

Lauriston Sale Taylor was an American physicist who served on the International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements (ICRU), the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), and the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements. Taylor’s career in radiation protection spanned over fifty years, starting with a position at the National Bureau of Standards, which eventually led to subsequent government appointments at the United States Atomic Energy Commission and the National Academy of Sciences. Taylor developed the guarded field standard ionization chamber, studied radiation measurement and protection and the ionization of liquids, and variable oscillators.

The Lauriston Sale Taylor Papers are currently being processed at the Center for the History of Medicine. Processing of the collection is made possible by the Countway Library’s Lloyd E. Hawes Fund for Radiology.

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