The International Society for the History of Radiology (ISHRAD) celebrated its 10th anniversary at an event held during the annual congress of the French Society of Radiology (Société Française de Radiologie, SFR) in Paris on 7-8 October 2021.
The diverse range of topics covered in the lectures ranged from Röntgen and the discovery of x-rays, the 50th birthday of the first CT scan, and history of contrast media, to topics on radiographic analysis of paintings at the Louvre Museum and analysis of museum artifacts, to the radiographic analysis of Egyptian mummies. During the meeting the Antoine Béclère medal was awarded to Dr. René Van Tiggelen, curator of the Belgian Museum of Radiology.
The society was founded 10 years ago in March 2011 at the ECR in the Austria Center in Vienna. The idea of this new society generated considerable interest at the inaugural meeting, where a board was elected. Although there are several small societies of the history of radiology in some countries around the world there was no international society for radiology historians before ISHRAD. Emile Littre -- the famous French doctor, philosopher, and polymath -- once remarked in 1871, "If the science of medicine is not to be lowered to the rank of a mere mechanical profession, it must preoccupy itself with its history. The pursuit of the development of the human mind, this is the role of the historian."
The new society was formed for the purposes of the dissemination of knowledge and study of radiology and radiological allied sciences history as well as for the study and dissemination of ideas at the radiological/cultural/humanities interface thus creating a forum where the role of radiology in diverse areas such as archeology, art, painting, historical object analysis, and Egyptology, etc., as well as its role in modern science and society could be studied. The Paris meeting with its diverse lectures fulfilled the criteria and aims admirably.
The society has its own website with a growing amount of material for radiology historians and the lay public. In addition, there is an annual scientific meeting organized which rotates around different European cities and has previously been held in London, England; Ghent, Belgium; Eindhoven, the Netherlands (Phillips museum); Erlangen, Germany (Siemens museum); Würzburg, Germany (Rontgen Memorial Site); Brussels, Belgium (Belgian radiology museum); as well as in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2016.
The society has also played a major part in the International Day of Radiology, and in the first few years between 2012 and 2014, it was instrumental in producing a free booklet for the radiological community to download from the internet with articles on interesting radiology history topics.
The society continues to go from strength to strength and is clearly providing a forum for like-minded members of the wide radiological science community to discuss topics of interest that are not often included in the mainstream specialist conferences. In 2022 the ISHRAD scientific meeting is scheduled in October for Krakow, Poland -- a city that can boast Copernicus as its famous son (incidentally, Copernicus, a polymath, had medical training, although he is more famous today for his heliocentric view of the universe).
Further information about the organization can be found on the ISHRAD website.
Dr. Arpan K. Banerjee is chair of ISHRAD.
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