A Personal History of Nuclear Medicine

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Springer Science & Business Media, Dec 23, 2007 - Medical - 299 pages
Each year, at the annual meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine, Henry Wagner summarizes his view of principal advances in the ? eld. In A Personal History of Nuclear Medicine, he brings the same insight to the ? fty years he has practiced, preached and breathed nuclear medicine. That same ? fty years spans the era in which radioactivity has been harnessed to provide exquisite maps of physiologic function in the living human body. Thus, the book brings the perspective of an insider, whose own contributions have been particularly in? uential: leader of a premier program in education and research; founding member of the American Board of Nuclear Medicine; proponent of int- national cooperation and the World Congress, and much more. Because of Henry’s positions and desire to meet and know colleagues throughout the world (he and his wife Anne are most gracious hosts and visitors) this autobiography is also a story of the major ? gures who grew the ? eld of nuclear medicine and made the discipline into a coherent one. The book also re? ects Henry’s personality: his candor and un? inching way of telling it the way he thinks it is, his punctuated use of aphorisms (some of his own making), his deep understanding of who he is, and an innocent delight in many accomplishments. Some years ago, I suggested that Henry was a constructive troublemaker; someone who goaded us out of accepted wisdom into new, and sometimes outrageous, thinking.

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It's a bad sign when one visits the google book intro page "by accident" in the course of a search and it describes the author seeing a van de graff generator capable of "generating voltages of 50,000 watts and bolts of lightning 10 feet long".
I can't speak to the medicine part in the rest of the book, but voltage and power are different and have different units. The dielectric strength of air is around 3 MV/meter (depending on e.g. humidity) so ten foot sparks are quite possible, and suggest a voltage of around 10 million volts. I have no idea where 50,000 watts came from. The power in watts (joules/second) would have been much higher during the lightning bolt, but I doubt that the generator could sustain 50,000 watts in any useful output, even at 10 MV. A typical beam source is (IIRC) generally order 10 to 100 MICROamps, so at 10 MV, we're talking a beam power between 100 and 1000 watts (where the latter would deliver a LOT of heat to a target!). A beam current of 50 kW would be "interesting" to observe, focused to a point...


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About the author (2007)

A pioneer in nuclear medicine and past president of the Society of Nuclear Medicine, Professor Henry N. Wagner Jr., MD has spent nearly five decades helping to define and promote the specialty. His groundbreaking work in the applications of nuclear medicine to pulmonary and coronary artery disease and his studies of brain chemistry with radio-labelled tracers have led to significant advances in these fields. Wagner is the director of the Division of Radiation Health Sciences at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he has worked since 1958. He is a professor emeritus of radiology and radiological sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a professor of environmental health sciences at the School of Hygiene and Public Health. A prolific researcher and writer, Wagner is author or co-author of more than 800 publications, including peer-reviewed journal articles, books and chapters. He is a member of several editorial boards and many medical and radiological societies, and an honorary member of the British Institute of Radiology (2000).

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