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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.

Nuclear After Dark - Trinity Files, October 6, 2017

Become immersed in history and visit the museum after hours as we premiere our replica of the 100ft Trinity Tour, host an outdoor screening of "Modern Marvels" The Manhattan Project, welcome local food trucks and brewery and invite visitors of all ages to learn, think, imagine and draw your own conclusions. 

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STEaM Photography Competition - Notification of Selected Photos is September 27

All photographers who submitted photos for the 2017 STEaM Photography Show will be notified no later than September 27 if their work has been accepted into the STEaM Photo Exhibition. Click here for more information.

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Nuclear Science Week, October 16-20

During Nuclear Science Week, the museum invites students in grades 6-12 with their schools to visit the museum for special activities themed around nuclear science. Field trips during this time include free busing and admission for accepted groups thanks to the generous support of our donors.

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