Krakow welcomes ISHRAD to celebrate Poland's rich history

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The International Society for the History of Radiology (ISHRAD) held its annual conference in Krakow, Poland, on 8 October 2022.

Krakow boasts Poland's oldest university, the Jagellonian university (formerly known as the Collegium Maius and Krakow academy), founded in the 14th century (1364) and alma mater to the great scientist and medically trained polymath Copernicus, who today is best remembered for his heliocentric theory of the universe.

Collegium novum, Jagiellonian university, Krakow. Photos courtesy of Dr. Arpan K Banerjee.Collegium novum, Jagiellonian university, Krakow. Photos courtesy of Dr. Arpan K Banerjee.

A statue commemorating him can be seen in the grounds of the Collegium Novum of Jagellonian university. Next to this is the Collegium Maius, one of the old collegiate buildings of the university similar in layout to some of the old Oxford and Cambridge colleges with a central courtyard and dining halls, chapel, and library and accommodation for students all on one site.

Krakow also houses what is considered one of the world's finest pharmacy museums opened in 1946 with extensive exhibits of the early days of the profession displayed in a magnificent five-story townhouse with Gothic cellars and Baroque ceilings located on the royal route.

The ISHRAD meeting was held in the anatomy theatre of the medical school built in 1869 and housed on Kopernika Street.

The incumbent Professor of Anatomy at the time Prof. Ludwik Teichman (1823-1895) was responsible for getting this prestigious new building the Theatrum Anatomicum built and today it also houses an anatomy museum with several anatomical specimens prepared by the professor as well examples of skulls and other anatomical exhibits.

The first session was chaired by Dr. Arpan K Banerjee, from the U.K, and Dr Uwe Busch, from the Roentgen Museum in Germany.

Theatrum Anatomicum (anatomy department building), Faculty of Medicine of Jagiellonian University, Krakow, where the ISHRAD meeting was held.Theatrum Anatomicum (anatomy department building), Faculty of Medicine of Jagiellonian University, Krakow, where the ISHRAD meeting was held.

Following introductions by Prof. Andrjez Urbanik from Krakow and Dr. Arpan K Banerjee, the eclectic audience were treated to a wide range of talks ranging from "The beginnings of radiology in Poland" by Prof. Ryszard Gryglewski, followed by Prof. Urbanik talking about Polish contributions to world radiology to talks about the famous anatomy professor Teichmann, the ultrasound pioneer Filipczynski, and Kaczmarz's mathematical contributions to CT scanning names not familiar to many outside Poland.

The contributions of Polish engineers to angiography and a talk about the museum of x-ray tubes in Opole reminded us about Poland's rich heritage and resources in the field of radiology history.

The second session chaired by Renaat Van den Broeck from the Belgian Museum of Radiology included talks on the controversy around who discovered x-rays, a history of ultrasound, history of PET scanning, a history of important Nordic radiology pioneers, the French pioneer Dr. Antoine Béclère and a talk on harm done by x-rays to the early radiation pioneers.

Other talks covered x-ray analysis of animal mummies, postmortem imaging, and the role of x-rays in analyzing objects such as paintings with a particular reference to Leonardo da Vinci's painting "Lady with an Ermine" from the Czartoryski Museum, Krakow.

The final session chaired by Mats Geijer from Gothenburg and Ryszard Gryglewski from Krakow covered the analysis of skeletons from the 17th century to presentations on x-rays in prisons with a collection of bizarre ingested objects analyzed by abdominal x-rays to the use of x-rays in baggage screening at Krakow airport. This last lecture certainly provided food for thought, especially to those who were returning to their respective countries from this airport.

The meeting was superbly organized by Prof. Andrzej Urbanik and those that attended the meeting were treated to a smorgasbord of varying radiology topics illustrating the wide range of uses of x-ray technology in addition to learning interesting stories about early radiology pioneers especially those from Poland.

For further information, go to the ISHRAD website.

Dr. Arpan K. Banerjee is chair of ISHRAD. The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular vendor, analyst, industry consultant, or consulting group.

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