Report of the 8th meeting of the International Society of the History of Radiology (ISHRAD) in Brussels 28 Sep 2019

Report by Dr Arpan K Banerjee,Treasurer ISHRAD and Past Chair Brit Soc History of Radiology

The 8th meeting of the International Society of the History of Radiology (ISHRAD) was held on the 28 Sep 2019 in the Belgian Museum of radiology at the Queen Astrid Military Hospital, Brussels,Belgium

The previous day delegates were given an invited tour of this impressive museum of radiology with exhibits covering Rontgen and his discovery through the primitive equipment of the early days of radiology and into the more modern era of CT, ultrasound etc as well as coverage of radiology in art , advertising and popular culture. The collection included extensive material pertaining to radiology usage in world war 1 especially in Belgium.

The symposium on Saturday was held in the lecture hall of the hospital with around 70 registered delegates.

The welcome was given by Dr Denis Henroteaux a radiologist from Liege and the current Vice –President of the Belgian Society of Radiology. The first session was titled Inventors and development of CT.

The first scientific talk was titled ‘Allan Comack, CT scan and independent discoveries in the history of science by  Dr Brigitte Van Tiggelen Director for European Operations at the Science History Institute Philadelphia,USA and  the centre of History of Science research University of Louvain, Belgium. Although Hounsfield is better remembered for his contribution to CT scanning, the physicist Cormack is often forgotten and his contributions to the discovery were described culminating in him sharing the Nobel Prize with Hounsfield in 1979.

The next talk delivered by Liz Beckman the current Chair of the British Society for the History of Radiology concentrated on the human side of Hounsfield covering his childhood and unpromising start to his time at EMI and eventually the development of the early CT scanner. In spite of his achievements Hounsfield remained a modest, shy retiring batchelor who hated giving talks.

The next talk was delivered by emeritus Prof  Michel Collard from Liege who described the early days of CT scanning in Belgium with the sixth scanner in the world being installed in the Hospital Montigny-le -Tilleul near Charleroi where he himself had been head of imaging. The scanner is now in the Belgian Radiology Museum.

Next we were priviledged to hear a masterly exposition by Prof  Frans Zonneveld a former Prof of medical imaging technology at Utrecht who went through the early developments and modifications of the CT scanning technology in the 1970’s and 1980’s which led nicely into the next presentation by Renaat Van den Broek a retired senior lecture in radiography and a current volunteer for the museum who covered the  ‘Current progress in CT’ covering helical scanning  and hybrid technology amongst other topics.

The next section after lunch was titled ‘Digging in the Belgian Past’.

Dr Didier De Surgeloose Head of Imaging in Antwerp  and  co-President of the newly established historical section of the Belgian Society of Radiology opened the events of the afternoon.

Prof Koenraad Verstraete  of Ghent delivered a a talk ‘Whiplash injury in 1568’ presenting an unusual case and placing it in an historical context.

Prof Thomas from the UK presented his talk on the ‘Stobart Unit in Antwerp in 1914’ describing the contribution of Florence Stoney (a remarkable woman who was the first female radiologist in the UK) to this war-time effort.

Prof Jacques Pringot emeritus Professor from Louvain and a former editor of the Belgian journal of radiology spoke about the history of the Belgian Society of Radiology founded in 1906 with its journal started a year later.

The final session was entitled ‘History of the Neighbouring Radiological Societies’

Dr Arpan K Banerjee the Past Chair of the British Society of the History of Radiology talked on ‘The history of the British Institute of Radiology.’ The early days following Rontgen’s discovery were described  with the Rontgen Society formed in 1897 in London (the precursor of the current British Institute of Radiology) being the first radiology society in the world.

Dr Uwe Busch the current Director of the Rontgen Museum in Germany spoke on ‘The beginning and development of radiology in Germany’ The early days of the German Radiology Society and the contributions of Albers Schonberg  were described.

Dr Denis Krause former Head of Radiology in Dijon and a Past President of the French Society of Radiology spoke about the early days in France describing the contributions of Antoine Beclere from Tenon and his role in creating the new Radiology Society in France with the first meeting held in 1909.

Dr Kees Vallenga then spoke on the early days of the Dutch Radiology society and the Historical Commission and the role of Salomonson in the early days. The new initiative of housing historical material in Urk was described and the achievements of the historical commission were presented.

The closing address was given by Dr Jean-Paul Joris the Co-President of the historical section of the Belgian Society of Radiology. The historical section is a newly formed section of the Society and as such this meeting was a nice way to have the collaboration of this new section with the Museum of Radiology and ISHRAD and has set a high standard for future meetings.

The meeting would not have been possible without the hard work and organisation of Rene Van Tiggelen the director of the museum and Renaat Van den Broeck now a volunteer of the museum and their team. The organisation was efficient  the venue fascinating and the hospitality was generous. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organisers on behalf of ISHRAD for making this meeting such a memorable one.

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