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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.

Presidents Day Camp - February 19

The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History will host "Eureka: Simple Machines & Physics Edition" on February 19 for Presidents Day. In this one-day break from school, students 6-12 years old will build super structures using their own creativity, basic design principles and simple machines. They will also learn about the properties of building shapes and materials through hands-on experimentation.

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Discover STEM Day - Saturday, February 10

On Saturday, February 10, from 10 am to 3 pm, the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History will welcome families and Scouts for a day of engineering fun! Visitors will experience the finest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). All activities are kid-friendly, completely interactive and designed to spark interest in the scientific fields of science and engineering.

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Einstein Gala - Saturday, March 31

The Einstein Gala is New Mexico’s biggest science party of the year! This prestigious black-tie event is the Museum’s most important fundraising event and features a cocktail reception with an amazing silent auction filled with the most unique items in Albuquerque, a delicious dinner experience among some of the most brilliant minds in science and history and thrilling entertainment featuring science experiments that will knock your socks off!

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