Benoît Mandelbrot

French American mathematician Benoît B. Mandelbrot was born 20 November 1924 in Poland, but moved to France with his family when he was a child. Mandelbrot spent much of his life living and working in the United States, and he acquired dual French and American citizenship. Mandelbrot worked on a wide range of mathematical problems, including mathematical physics and quantitative finance, but is best known as the popularizer of fractal geometry. He coined the term fractal and described the Mandelbrot set. Mandelbrot also wrote books and gave lectures aimed at the general public. Mandelbrot spent most of his career at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center, and was appointed as an IBM Fellow. He later became a Sterling Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Yale University, where he was the oldest professor in Yale’s history to receive tenure. Mandelbrot also held positions at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Université Lille Nord de France, Institute for Advanced Study and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.From 1951 onward, Mandelbrot worked on problems and published papers not only in mathematics but in applied fields such as information theory, economics, and fluid dynamics. He became convinced that two key themes, fat tails and self- similar structure, ran through a situation of problems encountered in those fields.

Mandelbrot found that price changes in financial markets did not follow a Gaussian distribution, but rather Lévy stable distributions having theoretically infinite variance. He found, for example, that cotton prices followed a Lévy stable distribution with parameter α equal to 1.7 rather than 2 as in a Gaussian distribution. “Stable” distributions have the property that the sum of many instances of a random variable follows the same distribution but with a larger scale parameter.Mandelbrot also put his ideas to work in cosmology. He offered in 1974 a new explanation of Olbers’ paradox (the “dark night sky” riddle), demonstrating the consequences of fractal theory as a sufficient, but not necessary, resolution of the paradox. He postulated that if the stars in the universe were fractally distributed (for example, like Cantor dust), it would not be necessary to rely on the Big Bang theory to explain the paradox. His model would not rule out a Big Bang, but would allow for a dark sky even if the Big Bang had not occurred. In 1975, Mandelbrot coined the term fractal to describe these structures, and published his ideas in Fractals: Form, Chance and Dimension.

While at Harvard University in 1979, Mandelbrot began to study fractals called Julia sets that were invariant under certain transformations of the complex plane. Building on previous work by Gaston Julia and Pierre Fatou, Mandelbrot used a computer to plot images of the Julia sets of the formula z2 − μ. While investigating how the topology of these Julia sets depended on the complex parameter μ he studied the Mandelbrot set fractal that is now named after him. (Note that the Mandelbrot set is now usually defined in terms of the formula z2 + c, so Mandelbrot’s early plots in terms of the earlier parameter μ are left– right mirror images of more recent plots in terms of the parameter c.) In 1982, Mandelbrot expanded and updated his ideas in The Fractal Geometry of Nature. This influential work brought fractals into the mainstream of professional and popular mathematics, as well as silencing critics, who had dismissed fractals as “program artifacts”.

Mandelbrot left IBM in 1987, when IBM decided to end pure research in his division. He joined the Department of Mathematics at Yale, and obtained his first tenured post in 1999, at the age of 75. At the time of his retirement in 2005, he was Sterling Professor of Mathematical Sciences. His awards include the Wolf Prize for Physics in 1993, the Lewis Fry Richardson Prize of the European Geophysical Society in 2000, the Japan Prize in 2003, and the Einstein Lectureship of the American Mathematical Society in 2006.The small asteroid 27500 Mandelbrot was named in his honor. In November 1990, he was made a Knight in the French Legion of Honour. In December 2005, Mandelbrot was appointed to the position of Battelle Fellow at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Mandelbrot was promoted to Officer of the Legion of Honour in January 2006. An honorary degree from Johns Hopkins University was bestowed on Mandelbrot in the May 2010 commencement exercises.

Although Mandelbrot coined the term fractal, some of the mathematical objects he presented in The Fractal Geometry of Nature had been previously described by other mathematicians. Before Mandelbrot, they had often been regarded as isolated curiosities with unnatural and non-intuitive properties. Mandelbrot brought these objects together for the first time and turned them into essential tools for the long-stalled effort to extend the scope of science to non-smooth objects in the real world. He highlighted their common properties, such as self-similarity (linear, non-linear, or statistical), scale invariance, and a (usually) non-integer Hausdorff dimension.He also emphasized the use of fractals as realistic and useful models of many “rough” phenomena in the real world. Natural fractals include the shapes of mountains, coastlines and river basins; the structures of plants, blood vessels and lungs; the clustering of galaxies; and Brownian motion. Fractals are found in human pursuits, such as music, art, architecture, and stock market prices. Mandelbrot believed that fractals, far from being unnatural, were in many ways more intuitive and natural than the artificially smooth objects of traditional Euclidean geometry.

Mandelbrot Sadly died in a hospice in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on 14th October 2010 from pancreatic cancer, at the age of 85. However his legacy lives on and he has been called a visionary and a maverick. His informed & passionate style of writing and his emphasis on visual and geometric intuition (supported bythe inclusion of numerous illustrations) made The Fractal Geometry of Nature accessible to non-specialists. The book sparked widespread popular interest in fractals and contributed to chaos theory and other fields of science and mathematics.When visiting the Museu de la Ciència de Barcelona in 1988, he told its director that the painting The Face of War had given him “the intuition about the transcendence of the fractal geometry when making intelligible the omnipresent similitude in the forms of nature”. He also said that, fractally, Gaudí was superior to Van der Rohe. The mathematician Heinz-Otto Peitgen said Mandelbrot’s impact inside mathematics, and applications in the sciences, made him one of the most important figures of the last 50 years

Edwin Hubble

American Astronomer Edwin Powell Hubble was born November 20, 1889 in Marshfield, Missouri, however his parents moved to Wheaton, Illinois, in 1900. In his younger days, he was noted more for his athletic prowess than his intellectual abilities, although he did earn good grades in every subject except for spelling. Edwin was a gifted athlete, playing baseball, football, basketball, and running track in both high school and college. He played a variety of positions on the basketball court from center to shooting guard. In fact, Hubble even led the University of Chicago’s basketball team to their first conference title in 1907. He won seven first places and a third place in a single high school track and field meet in 1906.

His studies at the University of Chicago were concentrated on law, which led to a bachelor of science degree in 1910. Hubble also became a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He spent the three years at The Queen’s College, Oxford after earning his bachelor’s as one of the university’s first Rhodes Scholars, initially studying jurisprudence instead of science (as a promise to his dying father), and later added literature and Spanish, and earning his master’s degree

In 1909, Hubble moved from Chicago to Shelbyville, Kentucky, so that the family could live in a small town, ultimately settling in nearby Louisville. His father died in the winter of 1913, while Edwin was still in England, and in the summer of 1913, Edwin returned to care for his mother, two sisters, and younger brother, as did his brother William. The family moved once more to Everett Avenue, in Louisville’s Highlands neighborhood, to accommodate Edwin and William.

Hubble’s father requested he study law, first at the University of Chicago and later at Oxford, though he managed to take a few math and science courses. After the death of his father in 1913, Edwin returned to the Midwest from Oxford but did not have the motivation to practice law. Instead, he proceeded to teach Spanish, physics and mathematics at New Albany High School in New Albany, Indiana, where he also coached the boys’ basketball team. After a year of high-school teaching, he entered graduate school with the help of his former professor from the University of Chicago to study astronomy at the university’s Yerkes Observatory, where he received his Ph.D. in 1917. His dissertation was titled “Photographic Investigations of Faint Nebulae”.In Yerkes, he had access to one of the most powerful telescopes in the world at the time, which had an innovative 24 inch (61 cm) reflector.

After the United States declared war on Germany in 1917, Hubble rushed to complete his Ph.D. dissertation so he could join the military. Hubble volunteered for the United States Army and was assigned to the newly created 86th Division, where he served in 2nd Battalion, 343 Infantry Regiment. He rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, and was found fit for overseas duty on July 9, 1918, but the 86th Division never saw combat. After the end of World War I, Hubble spent a year in Cambridge, where he renewed his studies of astronomy. In 1919, Hubble was offered a staff position at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Mount Wilson Observatory, near Pasadena, California, by George Ellery Hale, the founder and director of the observatory.

Edwin Hubble arrived at Mount Wilson Observatory, California in 1919 during the completion of the 100-inch (2.5 m) Hooker Telescope, then the world’s largest. At that time, the prevailing view of the cosmos was that the universe consisted entirely of the Milky Way Galaxy. Using the Hooker Telescope at Mt. Wilson, Hubble identified Cepheid variables (a kind of star that is used as a means to determine the distance from the galaxy. in several spiral nebulae, including the Andromeda Nebula and Triangulum. His observations, made in 1922–1923, proved conclusively that these nebulae were much too distant to be part of the Milky Way and were, in fact, entire galaxies outside our own. Immanuel Kant also wrote about it in the book General History of Nature and Theory of the Heavens in 1755

Hubble also worked as a civilian for U.S. Army at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland during World War II as the Chief of the External Ballistics Branch of the Ballistics Research Laboratory during which he directed a large volume of research in exterior ballistics which increased the effective firepower of bombs and projectiles. His work was facilitated by his personal development of several items of equipment for the instrumentation used in exterior ballistics, the most outstanding development being the high-speed clock camera, which made possible the study of the characteristics of bombs and low-velocity projectiles in flight. The results of his studies were credited with greatly improving design, performance, and military effectiveness of bombs and rockets. For his work there, he received the Legion of Merit award. Hubble remained on staff at Mount Wilson until his death

Sadly Hubble had a heart attack in July 1949 while on vacation in Colorado. He was taken care of by his wife, Grace Hubble, and continued on a modified diet and work schedule. He tragically died of cerebral thrombosis (a spontaneous blood clot in his brain) on September 28, 1953, in San Marino, California. No funeral was held for him, and his wife never revealed his burial site. Shortly before his death, Hubble became the first astronomer to use the newly completed giant 200-inch (5.1 m) reflector Hale Telescope at the Palomar Observatory near San Diego, California.

He leaves an important legacy after playing a crucial role in establishing the fields of extragalactic astronomy and observational cosmology. Hubble discovered that many objects previously thought to be clouds of dust and gas and classified as “nebulae” were actually galaxies beyond the Milky Way. He used the strong direct relationship between a classical Cepheid variable’s luminosity and pulsation period (discovered in 1908 by Henrietta Swan Leavitt for scaling galactic and extragalactic distance. Hubble also provided evidence that the recessional velocity of a galaxy increases with its distance from the earth, a property now known as “Hubble’s law”, despite the fact that it had been both proposed and demonstrated observationally two years earlier by Georges Lemaître. Hubble’s Law implies that the universe is expanding. Hubble’s name is most widely recognized for the Hubble Space Telescope which was named in his honor, with a model prominently displayed in his hometown of Marshfield, Missouri and Edwin Hubble is regarded as one of the most important astronomers of all time.

Hedy Lamarr

Austrian-born inventor and Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr was born November 9, 1914 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary, Trude, her mother, was a pianist and Budapest native, and had come from an upper-class Hungarian-Jewish family. She had converted to Catholicism and was described as a “practicing Christian” who raised her daughter as a Christian. Lamarr helped get her mother out of Austria after it had been absorbed by the Third Reich and to the United States, where Gertrude later became an American citizen. She put “Hebrew” as her race on her petition for naturalization, which was a term often used in Europe. As a child, Lamarr showed an interest in acting and was fascinated by theatre and film. At the age of 12, she won a beauty contest in Vienna.

Lamarr was taking acting classes in Vienna when one day, she forged a note from her mother and went to Sascha-Film and was able to get herself hired as a script girl. While there, she was able to get a role as an extra in Money on the Street (1930), and then a small speaking part in Storm in a Water Glass (1931). Producer Max Reinhardt then cast her in a play entitled The Weaker Sex, which was performed at the Theater in der Josefstadt. Reinhardt was so impressed with her that he brought her with him back to Berlin.

However, she never actually trained with Reinhardt or appeared in any of his Berlin productions. Instead, she met the Russian theatre producer Alexis Granowsky, who cast her in his film directorial debut, The Trunks of Mr. O.F. (1931), starring Walter Abel and Peter Lorre. Granowsky soon moved to Paris, but Lamarr stayed in Berlin and was given the lead role in No Money Needed (1932), a comedy directed by Carl Boese Lamarr then starred in the film which made her internationally famous.

Hedy Lamarr was celebrated for her great beauty, and became a star of MGM’s”Golden Age.” She was also Mathematically talented, and she and composer George Antheil invented an early technique for spread spectrum communications and frequency hopping, necessary for wireless communication from the pre-computer age to the present day. When Lamarr worked with Max Reinhardt in Berlin, he called her the “most beautiful woman in Europe” due to her “strikingly dark exotic looks”, a sentiment widely shared by her audiences and critics She gained fame after starring in Gustav Machatý’sEcstasy, a film which featured closeups of her character during orgasm in one scene, as well as full frontal nude shots of her in another scene, both very unusual for the socially conservative period in which the bulk of her career took place.

Avant garde composer George Antheil also experimented with automated control of musical instruments, including his music for Ballet Mécanique, originally written for Fernand Léger’s 1924 abstract film. This score involved multiple player pianos playing simultaneously.

During World War II, Antheil and Lamarr discussed the fact that radio-controlled torpedoes, while important in the naval war, could easily be jammed by broadcasting interference at the frequency of the control signal, causing the torpedo to go off course Lamarr had learned something about torpedoes from Mandl. Antheil and Lamarr developed the idea of using frequency hopping to avoid jamming: using a piano roll to randomly change the signal sent between a control center and the torpedo at short bursts within a range of 88 frequencies in the radio-frequency spectrum (there are 88 black and white keys on a piano keyboard). The specific code for the sequence of frequencies would be held identically by the controlling ship and in the torpedo. This basically encrypted the signal. It was impossible for the enemy to scan and jam all 88 frequencies, as this would require too much power or complexity. The frequency-hopping sequence was controlled by a player-piano mechanism, which Antheill had earlier used to score his Ballet Mecanique.

On August 11, 1942, U.S. Patent 2,292,387 was granted to Antheil and “Hedy Kiesler Markey”, Lamarr’s married name at the time. This early version of frequency hopping, although novel, soon met with opposition from the U.S. Navy and was not adopted. The idea was not implemented in the USA until 1962, when it was used by U.S. military ships during a blockade of Cuba after the patent had expired.

Tag der Erfinder (Inventors Day) was also created in Hedy Lamarr’s honour by Berlin inventor and entrepreneur Gerhard Muthenthaler to take place on the anniversary of her birth, 9th November In order to pursue the following goals:Encourage people towards their own ideas and for a change to the better & Remind people of forgotten inventors Whose inventions are still in daily use.and and support inventors of the present, visionaries and eccentrics to see things in a different light.-stimulate discussion and cooperation and bring change to our future.

This work was also honored in 1997, when the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave Lamarr a belated award for her contributions. In 1998, an Ottawa wireless technology developer, Wi-LAN Inc., acquired a 49% claim to the patent from Lamarr for an undisclosed amount of stock (Eliza Schmidkunz, Inside GNSS).Lamarr’s and Antheil’s frequency-hopping idea serves as a basis for modern spread-spectrum communication technology, such as Bluetooth, COFDM (used in Wi-Fi network connections), and CDMA (used in some cordless and wireless telephones). Blackwell, Martin, and Vernam’s 1920 patent Secrecy Communication System laid the communications groundwork for Kiesler and Antheil’s patent, which employed the techniques in the autonomous control of torpedoes. Lamarr wanted to join the National Inventors Council but was reportedly told by NIC member Charles F. Kettering and others that she could better help the war effort by using her celebrity status to sell War Bonds.

Hedy Lamarr, sadly died 19 January 2000 and although she did not become rich or famous from her idea, she gained Great plaudits as an actress, Her invention of “the frequency hopping process” Was also revolutionary in its day and is still in daily use as an integral process in mobile phones.

Carl Sagan

American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and other natural sciences, Carl Edward Sagan was born November 9, 1934. Sagan First became interested in science and astronomy when parents took him to the 1939 New York World’s Fair when he was four years old. The exhibits became a turning point in his life. He later recalled the moving map of the America of Tomorrow exhibit which showed beautiful highways and cloverleaves and little General Motors cars all carrying people to skyscrapers, buildings with lovely spires and, flying buttresses. At other exhibits, he remembered how a flashlight that shone on a photoelectric cell created a crackling sound, and how the sound from a tuning fork became a wave on an oscilloscope. He also witnessed the future media technology that would replace radio: television.

Soon after entering elementary school he began to express a strong inquisitiveness about nature. Sagan recalled taking his first trips to the public library alone, at the age of five, when his mother got him a library card. He wanted to learn what stars were, since Nobody else could give him a clear answer. He and a close friend took trips to the American Museum of Natural History across the East River in Manhattan. While there, they went to the Hayden Planetarium and walked around the museum’s exhibits of space objects, such as meteorites, and displays of dinosaurs and animals in natural settings. His parents bought him chemistry sets and reading materials. His interest in space, however, was his primary focus, especially after reading science fiction stories by writers such as H. G. Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs, which stirred his imagination about life on other planets such as Mars. In 1947 he discovered Astounding Science Fiction magazine, which introduced him to more hard science fiction speculations than those in Burroughs’s novels. That same year inaugurated the “flying saucer” mass hysteria with the young Carl suspecting the “discs” might be alien spaceships.

Sagan lived in Bensonhurst where he went to David A. Boody Junior High School. He had his bar mitzvah in Bensonhurst when he turned 13. In 1948, his family moved to the nearby town of Rahway, New Jersey for his father’s work, where Sagan then entered Rahway High School. He graduated in 1951. Sagan was made president of the school’s chemistry club, and set up his own laboratory at home, teaching himself about molecules by making cardboard cutouts to help him visualize how molecules were formed and also remained interested in astronomy.

Sagan attended the University of Chicago. Its Chancellor, Robert Hutchins, structured the school as an “ideal meritocracy,” with no age requirement. The school also employed a number of the nation’s leading scientists, including Enrico Fermi and Edward Teller, along with operating the famous Yerkes Observatory. Sagan worked in the laboratory of the geneticist H. J. Muller and wrote a thesis on the origins of life with physical chemist Harold Urey. Sagan joined the Ryerson Astronomical Society, received a B.A. degree in self-proclaimed “nothing” with general and special honors in 1954, and a B.S. degree in physics in 1955. He went on to earn a M.S. degree in physics in 1956, before earning a Ph.D. degree in 1960 with the dissertation “Physical Studies of Planets” submitted to the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. From 1960 to 1962 Sagan was a Miller Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. he also published an article in 1961 in the journal Science on the atmosphere of Venus, while also working with NASA’s Mariner 2 team, and served as a “Planetary Sciences Consultant” to the RAND Corporation.

After the publication of Sagan’s Science article, in 1961 Harvard University astronomers Fred Whipple and Donald Menzel offered Sagan the opportunity to give a colloquium at Harvard, and they subsequently offered him a lecturer position at the institution. Sagan instead asked to be made an assistant professor. Sagan lectured, performed research, and advised graduate students at the institution from 1963 until 1968, as well as working at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, both located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Cornell University astronomer Thomas Gold then asked Sagan to move to Ithaca, New York and join the faculty at Cornell. and remained a faculty member at Cornell for nearly 30 years until his death in 1996. Following two years as an associate professor, Sagan became a full professor at Cornell in 1970, and directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies there. From 1972 to 1981, he was associate director of the Center for Radiophysics and Space Research (CRSR) at Cornell. In 1976, he became the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences.

Sagan was associated with the U.S. space program from its inception. From the 1950s onward, he worked as an advisor to NASA, where one of his duties included briefing the Apollo astronauts before their flights to the Moon. Sagan contributed to many of the robotic spacecraft missions that explored the Solar System, arranging experiments on many of the expeditions. Sagan assembled the first physical message that was sent into space: a gold-anodized plaque, attached to the space probe Pioneer 10, launched in 1972. Pioneer 11, also carrying another copy of the plaque, was launched In 1973. He continued to refine his designs; the most elaborate message he helped to develop and assemble was the Voyager Golden Record that was sent out with the Voyager space probes in 1977. Sagan often challenged the decisions to fund the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station at the expense of further robotic missions.

He became known for his work as a science popularizer and communicator. His best known scientific contribution is research on extraterrestrial life, including experimental demonstration of the production of amino acids from basic chemicals by radiation. Sagan assembled the first physical messages sent into space: the Pioneer plaque and the Voyager Golden Record, universal messages that could potentially be understood by any extraterrestrial intelligence that might find them. Sagan argued the now accepted hypothesis that the high surface temperatures of Venus can be attributed to and calculated using the greenhouse effect.

Sagan published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books. He wrote many popular science books, such as The Dragons of Eden, Broca’s Brain and Pale Blue Dot, and narrated and co-wrote the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. The most widely watched series in the history of American public television, Cosmos has been seen by at least 500 million people across 60 different countries. The book Cosmos was published to accompany the series. He also wrote the science fiction novel Contact, the basis for a 1997 film of the same name. His papers, containing 595,000 items, are archived at The Library of Congress.

Sagan advocated scientific skeptical inquiry and the scientific method, pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). He spent most of his career as a professor of astronomy at Cornell University, where he directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies. Sagan and his works received numerous awards and honors, including the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal, the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for his book The Dragons of Eden, and, regarding Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, two Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award and the Hugo Award. He married three times and had five children. After suffering from myelodysplasia, Sagan died of pneumonia at the age of 62, on December 20, 1996.

International day of Radiography

The International Day of Radiology (IDoR) is celebrated annually on November 8th to promote the role of medical imaging in modern healthcare and mark the anniversary of the discovery of x-rays on November 8th 1895 by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, who effectively layed the foundation for the new medical discipline of radiology.

Radiology is the medical specialty that uses medical imaging to diagnose and treat diseases within the body.A variety of imaging techniques such as X-ray radiography, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine including positron emission tomography (PET), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are used to diagnose or treat diseases. Interventional radiology is the performance of (usually minimally invasive) medical procedures with the guidance of imaging technologies.

The modern practice of radiology involves several different healthcare professions working as a team. The Radiologist is a medical doctor who has completed the appropriate post-graduate training and interprets medical images, communicates these findings to other physicians by means of a report or verbally, and uses imaging to perform minimally invasive medical procedures. The Nurse is involved in the care of patients before and after imaging or procedures, including administration of medications, monitoring of vital signs and monitoring of sedated patients. The Radiographer, also known as a “Radiologic Technologist” in some countries, is a specially trained healthcare professional that uses sophisticated technology and positioning techniques to acquire medical images. Depending on the individual’s training and country of practice, the radiographer may specialize in one of the above-mentioned imaging modalities or have expanded roles in image reporting.

The International Day of Radiology was first introduced in 2012, as a joint initiative, by the European Society of Radiology (ESR), the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), and the American College of Radiology (ACR). The International Day of Radiology is a successor to the European Day of Radiology which was launched in 2011. The first and only European Day of Radiology was held on February 10, 2011 to commemorate the anniversary of Röntgen’s death. The European day was organised by the ESR, who later entered into cooperation with the RSNA and the ACR to establish the International Day of Radiology.

The International Day of Radiology marks the anniversary of Röntgen’s discovery of x-rays and the main theme was medical imaging in oncology. The day was celebrated with events in many countries, mostly organised by national professional societies which represent radiologists. Many public lectures on the role of imaging in oncology took place across Europe. In the UK, the Royal College of Radiologists organised a free public lecture at the Wellcome Collection by Dr. Phil O’Connor, who served as head of musculoskeletal imaging at the London 2012 Olympics. The ESR also published two booklets to mark the occasion, ‘The Story of Radiology’, which was created in cooperation with the International Society for the History of Radiology, and ‘Making Cancer Visible: the role of cancer in oncology’

World Radiography Day also takes place to mark the anniversary of the discovery of X-rays in 1895. The purpose of this day is to raise public awareness of radiographic imaging and therapy, which play a crucial role in the diagnosis and the treatment of patients and, most importantly, ensuring radiation is kept to the minimum required, hence improving the quality of patient care. The day is celebrated worldwide by various national radiographers’ associations and societies, including Nigeria’s Association of Radiographers of Nigeria, United Kingdom’s Society of Radiographers (SoR), among others. [1]The International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists have celebrated 8 November as World Radiography Day since 2007.

German mechanical engineer and physicist Wilhelm Konrad Röntgen was born 27 March 1845. He attended high school in Utrecht, Netherlands. However In 1865, he was expelled from high school and Without a high school diploma, Röntgen could only attend university in the Netherlands as a visitor. In 1865, he tried to attend Utrecht University without having the necessary credentials required for a regular student. Upon hearing that he could enter the Federal Polytechnic Institute in Zurich (today known as the ETH Zurich), he passed its examinations, and began studies there as a student of mechanical engineering. In 1869, he graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Zurich; once there, he became a favorite student of Professor August Kundt, whom he followed to the University of Strassburg.

In 1874, Röntgen became a lecturer at the University of Strassburg. In 1875, he became a professor at the Academy of Agriculture at Hohenheim, Württemberg. He returned to Strassburg as a professor of physics in 1876, and in 1879, he was appointed to the chair of physics at the University of Giessen. In 1888, he obtained the physics chair at the University of Würzburg, and in 1900 at the University of Munich, by special request of the Bavarian government. Although Röntgen accepted an appointment at Columbia University in New York City the outbreak of World War I changed his plans and he remained in Munich for the rest of his career.

During 1895, Röntgen was investigating the external effects from the various types of vacuum tube equipment — apparatuses from Heinrich Hertz, Johann Hittorf, William Crookes, Nikola Tesla and Philipp von Lenard — when an electrical discharge is passed through them.[5][6] In early November, he was repeating an experiment with one of Lenard’s tubes in which a thin aluminium window had been added to permit the cathode rays to exit the tube but a cardboard covering was added to protect the aluminium from damage by the strong electrostatic field that produces the cathode rays. He knew the cardboard covering prevented light from escaping, yet Röntgen observed that the invisible cathode rays caused a fluorescent effect on a small cardboard screen painted with barium platinocyanide when it was placed close to the aluminium window. It occurred to Röntgen that the Crookes–Hittorf tube, which had a much thicker glass wall than the Lenard tube, might also cause this fluorescent effect.

On 8 November 1895, Röntgen decided to test his idea. He carefully constructed a black cardboard covering similar to the one he had used on the Lenard tube. He covered the Crookes–Hittorf tube with the cardboard and attached electrodes to a Ruhmkorff coil to generate an electrostatic charge. Before setting up the barium platinocyanide screen to test his idea, Röntgen darkened the room to test the opacity of his cardboard cover. As he passed the Ruhmkorff coil charge through the tube, he determined that the cover was light-tight and turned to prepare the next step of the experiment. It was at this point that Röntgen noticed a faint shimmering from a bench a few feet away from the tube. To be sure, he tried several more discharges and saw the same shimmering each time. Striking a match, he discovered the shimmering had come from the location of the barium platinocyanide screen he had been intending to use next.

Röntgen speculated that a new kind of ray might be responsible. 8 November was a Friday, so he took advantage of the weekend to repeat his experiments and made his first notes. In the following weeks he ate and slept in his laboratory as he investigated many properties of the new rays he temporarily termed “X-rays”, using the mathematical designation (“X”) for something unknown. The new rays came to bear his name in many languages as “Röntgen rays” (and the associated X-ray radiograms as “Röntgenograms”). At one point while he was investigating the ability of various materials to stop the rays, Röntgen brought a small piece of lead into position while a discharge was occurring. Röntgen thus saw the first radiographic image, his own flickering ghostly skeleton on the barium platinocyanide screen. He later reported that it was at this point that he determined to continue his experiments in secrecy, because he feared for his professional reputation if his observations were in error.

Nearly two weeks after his discovery, he took the very first picture using X-rays of his wife Anna Bertha’s hand. When she saw her skeleton she exclaimed “I have seen my death!” Röntgen’s original paper, “On A New Kind Of Rays” (Ueber eine neue Art von Strahlen), was published on 28 December 1895. On 5 January 1896, an Austrian newspaper reported Röntgen’s discovery of a new type of radiation. Röntgen was awarded an honorary Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Würzburg after his discovery. He published a total of three papers on X-rays between 1895 and 1897. Today, Röntgen is considered the father of diagnostic radiology, the medical speciality which uses imaging to diagnose disease. A collection of his papers is held at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland.

More Holidays and National Days taking place on November 8

Abet and Aid Punsters Day.
Cook Something Bold Day.
National Ample Time Day.
National Cappuccino Day.
National Parents as Teachers Day.
World Usability Day.
X-ray Day.
National Dunce day
National Harvey Wallbanger day

Marie Curie

Best known for her pioneering research in the field of radioactivity, the World famous Polish–French physicist and chemist Marie Skłodowska Curie was born 7th Novemer in 1867 in Warsaw, Poland. Maria’s paternal grandfather, Józef Skłodowski, had been a respected teacher in Lublin, where he taught the young Bolesław Prus,who became a leading figure in Polish literature. Her father, Władysław Skłodowski, taught mathematics and physics, subjects that Maria was to pursue, and was also director of two Warsaw gymnasia for boys. After Russian authorities eliminated laboratory instruction from the Polish schools, he brought much of the laboratory equipment home, and instructed his children in its use. Her father was eventually fired by his Russian supervisors for pro-Polish sentiments, and forced to take lower-paying posts. the family also lost money on a bad investment, and eventually chose to supplement their income by lodging boys in the house. Maria’s mother Bronisława operated a prestigious Warsaw boarding school for girls; she resigned from the position after Maria was born. Sadly though, Maria’s mother tragically died of tuberculosis in May 1878, when Maria was ten years old. Less than three years earlier, Maria’s oldest sibling, Zofia, had died of typhus contracted from a boarder.

When she was ten years old, Maria began attending the boarding school of J. Sikorska; next she attended a gymnasium for girls, from which she graduated on 12 June 1883 with a gold medal. After an illness she spent the following year in the countryside with relatives of her father, and the next year with her father in Warsaw, where she did some tutoring. Unable to enroll in a regular institution of higher education because she was a woman, she and her sister Bronisława became involved with the clandestine Flying University, a Polish patriotic institution of higher learning that admitted women students.

At a Warsaw laboratory, in 1890–91, Maria Skłodowska did her first scientific work and made an agreement with her sister, Bronisława, that she would give her financial assistance during Bronisława’s medical studies in Paris, in exchange for similar assistance two years later. Maria took a position as governess: first as a home tutor in Warsaw; then for two years as a governess in Szczuki with a landed family, the Żorawskis, who were relatives of her father and fell in love with their son, Kazimierz Żorawski, a future eminent mathematician, Who soon earned a doctorate and pursued an academic career as a mathematician, becoming a professor and rector of Kraków University. Sadly his parent rejected his relationship with Maria.

She lived in Warsaw until the age of 24, when she followed her older sister Bronisława to study in Paris, where she earned her higher degrees and conducted her subsequent scientific work. She was also the first person honored with two Nobel Prizes—in both physics and chemistry, In 1903 she won the Nobel Prize in Physics which She shared with her husband Pierre Curie (and with Henri Becquerel), and In 1911 She became the sole winner of the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry which she shared with Her daughter Irène Joliot-Curie and son-in-law, Frédéric Joliot-Curie, and is the only woman to date to win in two fields, and the only person to win in multiple sciences.

Among her many achievements are the theory of radioactivity (a term that she coined), She also developed techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and discovered two radioactive elements, polonium (Which was named after her native country) and radium. She was also the first female professor at the University of Paris andUnder her direction, the world’s first studies were conducted into the treatment of neoplasms, using radioactive isotopes. In 1932, she founded a Radium Institute (now the Maria Skłodowska–Curie Institute of Oncology) in her home town, Warsaw. Which was headed by her physician-sister Bronisława.

Unfortunately though Marie Curie died on 4th July 1934 of aplastic anemia, a condition which was undoubtedly brought on by her lifelong exposure to radiation, however her pioneering research has led the way for many improvements in the fields of Science, Chemistry and Medicine and in 1995 she became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Paris Panthéon.

Léon Theramin

Pioneering Russian inventor Léon Theremin sadly died 3 November 1993. He was born Lev Sergeyevich Termen in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire in 15 August 1896 into a family of French and German ancestry.He had a sister named Helena.He started to be interested in electricity at the age of 7, and by 13 he was experimenting with high frequency circuits. In the seventh class of his high school before an audience of students and parents he demonstrated various optical effects using electricity.By the age of 17 he was in his last year of high school and at home he had his own laboratory for experimenting with high frequencircuits, optics and magnetic fields.

His cousin, Kirill Fedorovich Nesturkh, then a young physicist, and a singer named Wagz invited him to attend the defense of the dissertation of professor Abram Fedorovich Ioffe. Physics lecturer Vladimir Konstantinovich Lebedinskiy had explained to Theremin the then interesting dispute over Ioffe’s work on the electron.On 9 May 1913 Theremin and his cousin attended Ioffe’s dissertation defense. Ioffe’s subject was on the elementary photoelectric effect, the magnetic field of cathode rays and related investigations. In 1917 Theremin wrote that Ioffe talked of electrons, the photoelectric effect and magnetic fields as parts of an objective reality that surrounds us everyday, unlike others that talked more of somewhat abstract formula and symbols. Theremin wrote that he found this explanation revelatory and that it fit a scientific – not abstract – view of the world, different scales of magnitude, and matter. From then on Theremin endeavoured to study the Microcosm, in the same way he had studied the Macrocosm with his hand-built telescope. Later, Kyrill introduced Theremin to Ioffe as a young experimenter and physicist, and future student of the university.

Theremin recalled that while still in his last year of school, he had built a million-volt Tesla coil and noticed a strong glow associated with his attempts to ionise the air. He then wished to further investigate the effects using university resources. A chance meeting with Abram Fedorovich Ioffe led to a recommendation to see Karl Karlovich Baumgart, who was in charge of the physics laboratory equipment. Karl then reserved a room and equipment for Theremin’s experiments. Abram Fedorovich suggested Theremin also look at methods of creating gas fluorescence under different conditions and of examining the resulting light’s spectra. However, during these investigations Theremin was called up for World War I military service.Despite Theremin being only in his second academic year, the deanery of the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy recommended him to go to the Nikolayevska Military Engineering School in Petrograd (renamed from Saint Petersburg), which usually only accepted students in their fourth year. Theremin recalled Ioffe reassured him that the war would not last long and that military experience would be useful for scientific applications.

Beginning his military service in 1916, Theremin finished the Military Engineering School in six months, progressed through the Graduate Electronic School for Officers, and attained the military radio-engineer diploma in the same year. In the course of the next three and a half years he oversaw the construction of a radio station in Saratov to connect the Volga area with Moscow, graduated from Petrograd University, became deputy leader of the new Military Radiotechnical Laboratory in Moscow, and finished as the broadcast supervisor of the radio transmitter at Tsarskoye Selo near Petrograd (then renamed Detskoye Selo).

During the Russian civil war, in October 1919 White Army commander Nikolai Nikolayevich Yudenich advanced on Petrograd from the side of Detskoye Selo, apparently intending to capture the radio station to announce a victory over the Bolsheviks. Theremin and others evacuated the station, sending equipment east on rail cars. Theremin then detonated explosives to destroy the 120 meter-high antennae mast before traveling to Petrograd to set up an international listening station. There he also trained radio specialists but reported difficulties obtaining food and working with foreign experts who he described as narrow-minded pessimists. Theremin recalled that on an evening when his hopes of overcoming these obstructing experts reached a low ebb, Abram Fedorovich Ioffe telephoned him.[Ioffe asked Theremin to come to his newly founded Physical Technical Institute in Petrograd, and the next day he invited him to start work at developing measuring methods for high frequency electrical oscillations.

The day after Ioffe’s invitation, Theremin started at the institute. He worked in diverse fields: applying the Laue effect to the new field ofX-ray analysis of crystals; using hypnosis to improve measurement-reading accuracy; working with Ivan Pavlov’s laboratory; and using gas-filled lamps as measuring devices. He built a high frequency oscillator to measure the dielectric constant of gases with high precision; Ioffe then urged him to look for other applications using this method, and shortly made the first motion detector for use as a”radio watchman”.while adapting the dielectric device by adding circuitry to generate an audio tone, Theremin noticed the pitch changed when his hand moved around.

In October 1920 he first demonstrated this to Ioffe who called in other professors and students to hear. Theremin recalled trying to find the notes for tunes he remembered from when he played the cello, such as the Swan by Saint-Saëns. By November 1920 Theremin had given his first public concert with the instrument, now modified with a horizontal volume antenna replacing the earlier foot-operated volume control. He named it the “etherphone” to be known as the Терменвокс (Termenvox) in the Soviet Union, as the Thereminvox in Germany,and later as the “theremin” in the United States. Theremin went to Germany in 1925 to sell both the radio watchman and Termenvox patents to the German firm Goldberg and Sons. According to Glinsky this was the Soviet’s “decoy for capitalists” to obtain both Western profits from sales and technical knowledge.

During this time Theremin was also working on a wireless television with 16 scan lines in 1925, improving to 32 scan lines and then 64 using interlacing in 1926, and he demonstrated moving, if blurry, images on 7 June 1927.After being sent on a lengthy tour of Europe starting 1927 – including London, Paris and towns in Germany– during which he demonstrated his invention to full audiences, Theremin found his way to the United States, arriving on 30 December 1927 with his first wife Katia.He performed the theremin with the New York Philharmonic in 1928. He patented his invention in the United States in 1928 and subsequently granted commercial production rights to RCA.Theremin set up a laboratory in New York in the 1930s, where he developed the theremin and experimented with other electronic musical instruments and other inventions. These included the Rhythmicon, commissioned by the American composer and theoristHenry Cowell.In 1930, ten thereminists performed on stage at Carnegie Hall. Two years later, Theremin conducted the first-ever electronic orchestra, featuring the theremin and other electronic instruments including a “fingerboard” theremin which resembled a cello in use.Theremin’s mentors during this time were some of society’s foremost scientists, composers, and musical theorists, including composerJoseph Schillinger and physicist (and amateur violinist) Albert Einstein. At this time, Theremin worked closely with fellow Russian émigré and theremin virtuoso Clara Rockmore.

Theremin was interested in a role for the theremin in dance music. He developed performance locations that could automatically react to dancers’ movements with varied patterns of sound and light.Theremin abruptly returned to the Soviet Union in 1938. At the time, the reasons for his return were unclear; some claimed that he was simply homesick, while others believed that he had been kidnapped by Soviet officials. Beryl Campbell, one of Theremin’s dancers, said his wife Lavinia “called to say that he had been kidnapped from his studio” and that “some Russians had come in” and that she felt that he was going to be spirited out of the country. Many years later, it was revealed that Theremin had returned to his native land due to tax and financial difficulties in the United States.However, Theremin himself once told Bulat Galeyev that he decided to leave himself because he was anxious about the approaching war.Shortly after he returned he was imprisoned in the Butyrka prison and later sent to work in the Kolyma gold mines. Although rumors of his execution were widely circulated and published, Theremin was, in fact, put to work in a sharashka (a secret laboratory in the Gulag camp system), together with Andrei Tupolev, Sergei Korolev, and other well-known scientists and engineers.]The Soviet Union rehabilitated him in 1956.

During his work at the sharashka, where he was put in charge of other workers, Theremin created the Buran eavesdropping system. A precursor to the modern laser microphone, it worked by using a low power infrared beam from a distance to detect the sound vibrations in the glass windows. Lavrentiy Beria, the head of the secret police organization NKVD(the predecessor of the KGB), used the Buran device to spy on the British, French and US embassies in Moscow.According to Galeyev, Beria also spied on Stalin; Theremin kept some of the tapes in his flat. In 1947, Theremin was awarded the Stalin prize for inventing this advance in Soviet espionage technology.Theremin invented another listening device called The Thing. Disguised in a replica of theGreat Seal of the United States carved in wood, in 1945 Soviet school children presented the concealed bug to U.S. Ambassador as a “gesture of friendship” to the USSR’s World War II ally. It hung in the ambassador’s residential office in Moscow, and intercepted confidential conversations there during the first seven years of the Cold War, until it was accidentally discovered in 1952. After his “release” from the sharashka in 1947, Theremin volunteered to remain working with the KGB until 1966. By 1947 Theremin had remarried, to Maria Guschina, his third wife, and they had two children: Lena and Natalia.

After working for the KGB, Theremin worked at the Moscow Conservatory of Music for 10 years where he taught, and built theremins,electronic cellos and some terpsitones (another invention of Theremin).There he was discovered by Harold Schonberg, the chief music critic of The New York Times, who was visiting the Conservatory. But when an article by his hand appeared, the Conservatory’s Managing Director declared that “electricity is not good for music; electricity is to be used for electrocution” and had his instruments removed from the Conservatory. Further electronic music projects were banned, and Theremin was summarily dismissed. In the 1970s, Léon Theremin was a Professor of Physics at Moscow State University (Department of Acoustics) developing his inventions and supervising graduate students. After 51 years in the Soviet Union Theremin started travelling, first visiting France in June 1989 and then the United States in 1991, each time accompanied by his daughter Natalia. Theremin was brought to New York by filmmaker Steven M. Martin where he was reunited with Clara Rockmore. He also made a demonstration concert at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague in early 1993 before dying in Moscow, Russia in 1993.