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A Brief Look into the History and Founding Father of Nuclear Medicine

September 12, 2014

The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History will host “Dr. Saul Hertz and the Origin of Nuclear Medicine,” a special exhibition that celebrates Dr. Hertz, a founding father of Nuclear Medicine. This exhibit will open September 13 and will run through October 12, 2014.

Using newly discovered isotopes of element 53 (Iodine), Dr. Hertz – a graduate of Harvard Medical School who served as the Chief of the Thyroid Unit for Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital from 1931 to 1943 - and his colleagues studied thyroid physiology in the 1930s. Before WWII, these medical pioneers began the first nonsurgical treatment of hyperthyroidism with radioiodine, and the specialty of Nuclear Medicine was born.

Dr. Hertz’s use of radioactive iodine as a tracer in the diagnostic process, as a treatment for Graves’ disease and in the treatment of cancer of the thyroid, remains the preferred practices.

The “Dr. Saul Hertz and the Origin of Nuclear Medicine” exhibit will include vivid images, vintage newspaper articles, historical letters detailing this medical revelation- and much more - to provide an in-depth look at the work of a Jewish doctor whose medical discovery transformed the world of medicine during an extremely challenging time of racism, fear of nuclear medical applications and economic pressures.

“We are honored to host a special exhibition that focuses on such a pivotal time in nuclear history,” said Jim Walther, Museum Director. “By providing this window into the past, we hope to engage museum visitors in the discussion of nuclear medicine and the paradigm change this massive discovery represents.”

The “Dr. Saul Hertz and the Origin of Nuclear Medicine” exhibit will be the first initiative in the revitalization of the Museum’s permanent Nuclear Medicine Exhibit. Currently housing such artifacts as the first gamma camera used on human beings, the Museum’s Board of Trustees and staff hope to expand this exhibition focusing on nuclear medicine while also solidifying it as a source of pride for our local medical community.

Sponsors for this temporary exhibit include the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, Hematology Oncology Associates, P.C. and Mr. Jerry Adams, Benefactor.

“Dr. Saul Hertz and the Origin of Nuclear Medicine” is included in the price of admission to the Museum. A members-only and VIP special reception will be held at the Museum on Friday, September 12, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, for a sneak peak into the exhibition. Attendees will include sponsors, and Barbara Hertz, daughter of Dr. Saul Hertz.

"Science is Everywhere" Summer Camp

The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History will host "Science is Everywhere" Summer Camps for children who are 6 to 15 years old. These themed, week-long camps will take place May 30 - August 11, 2017, and they are designed to be both highly educational and fun for all. Sessions include "Spy Kids," "Code of the Robot," "The Great Game, Scratch," "DIY Disasters," "Movie Magic" and many more!

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STEaM Photography Competition - Photos NOW Accepted!

Submit your science, technology, engineering, art or mathematics photographs for the chance to win cash prizes and the opportunity to have your work on display at our museum. Entry deadline is September 1, 2017.

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Critical Assembly Exhibit, Open through October 15

A special exhibition where visitors will step back in time to a pivotal point in history, and experience pure science through pure art. Explore and study the recreations of the super secrets from the Manhattan Project's atomic bomb in this mesmerizing exhibit.

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