By William D. Romanowski
The 4th of December marks the 90th anniversary of the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments (1923). A silent film, this was the first in a trilogy by the famed director that established the conventions for Bible-themed movies: religion, sex, violence, and cinematic spectacle (and not necessarily in that order).
A devout Episcopalian and Bible literalist, DeMille was also a consummate Hollywood showman with a keen sense of audience desires. His bedroom melodramas, like Old Wives for New (1918) and Don’t Change Your Husband (1919), were scandalous and enormously profitable, voyeuristic in style, while still cautionary in theme. DeMille made the best of Hollywood’s principle of “compensating moral values,” which the studios took as liberty to “present six reels of ticket-selling sinfulness if,” as film historian Author Knight put it, “in the seventh reel, all the sinners came to a bad end.” In The Ten Commandments, DeMille shows Moses receiving the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai while the Israelites go off in a drunken orgiastic feast around the Golden Calf below.
Hoping for even bigger box-office returns DeMille announced plans in 1926 to make an epic film on the life Christ—or maybe Judas Iscariot. It wasn’t entirely clear who the central figure would be, but the original scenario was classic DeMille: a religious extravaganza on the life of Christ interlaced with a steamy love affair between Mary Magdalene and Judas Iscariot. “It is not possible to produce a great and successful film dealing with historic characters and not have a love-interest,” he explained to a church adviser during script preparation for The King of Kings.
To boost commercial prospects and fend off religious criticism, DeMille utilized high-profile Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish advisers in the production, including Father Daniel A. Lord, who would later write the rationale for the 1930 Production Code. The Protestant adviser, Rev. George Reid Andrews, actually worked on the scenario with DeMille’s writers and afterwards helped promote The King of Kings among Protestant constituencies. By Andrews’ account the shooting script differed “radically” from DeMille’s original treatment with the final result a synthesis of the director’s “fine dramatic sense” and “the constructive criticism” from the religious advisers.
After a sensational Broadway premiere on Good Friday, 1927, Variety lauded The King of Kings as “the greatest picture ever produced” and predicted it would become the top-grossing movie of all time. Jewish leaders were less enthusiastic however, and advised DeMille to change references to Jews that might foster anti-Semitism. The religious consultants failed to prevent controversy and criticism, and with a lagging box office dampened future prospects for collaborating on Bible-themed movies.
Scene from Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments, Photographs of the filming of Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments, PC-RM-Curtis, courtesy, California Historical Society, PC-RM-Curtis_416. Fair use via Wikimedia Commons.
DeMille returned to high society dramas like The Godless Girl (1929) and Madam Satan (1930), before making The Sign of the Cross (1932), a love story set against the backdrop of Roman Emperor Nero sentencing Christians to their death in the coliseum. This time DeMille ignored religious guidance. The film featured a wild Roman orgy replete with a provocative “lesbian dance,” and contained scenes so violent that women reportedly fainted during the New York premiere, according to film historian Gregory Black. Variety warned that the film contained some of the “boldest censor-bait ever attempted” and was sure this Biblical spectacle would “make the church element dizzy trying to figure which way to turn.” Indeed, a prominent bishop cited The Sign of the Cross as evidence of the need for Catholic action to eliminate the “vile and nauseating” movies produced by Hollywood studios.
The course of movie regulation is intertwined to some extent with DeMille’s Bible-based trilogy. The Ten Commandments sparked expectations among religious leaders for extensive cooperation with Hollywood in producing entertainment that would promote the message and work of the church. Instead, The King of Kings was at the center of a confluence of events that resulted in a breach in Protestant-Hollywood relations and set the stage for the 1930 Production Code. The studio alliance with Catholics occurred as a direct result of a failure of confidence in the film industry’s Protestant leadership, and disagreement among Protestants over goals and priorities. The Sign of the Cross controversy was among the factors that led to the formation of the Catholic Legion of Decency; its purpose was to put consumer pressure on the studios in order to shore up their adherence to the Production Code. This action would eventually lead to the empowerment of Catholics in a prior censorship of movies that lasted until the 1960s, the decade that marks the end of the biblical spectacles.
Controversies surrounding Bible-themed movies still erupt periodically in what seem like arbitrary and unprecedented crises that get sensationalized by the film industry and religious groups alike. In retrospect, the trend includes a number of key movies that serve as flashpoints in American film history by signaling shifts in the persistent role of religious groups as both moral arbiter and market force in their engagement with the Hollywood.
William Romanowski is Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Calvin College. His books include Eyes Wide Open: Looking for God in Popular Culture (a 2002 ECPA Gold Medallion Award Winner), Pop Culture Wars: Religion and the Role of Entertainment in America Life, and Reforming Hollywood: How American Protestants Fought for Freedom at the Movies.
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By Leslie Asako Gladsjo
This fall, my colleagues and I completed work on Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s documentary series The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, which began airing on national PBS in October. In six one-hour episodes, the series traces the history of the African American people, from the 16th century—when Juan Garrido, a free black man, arrived on these shores with Hernando Cortes, searching for gold—to today, when our nation has re-elected its first black president, yet still struggles with staggering racial disparities in education, poverty and incarceration rates.
At first, the task of winnowing five hundred years of African American history down to six hours of television seemed like an insoluble conundrum. How could one documentary series possibly cover this vast sweep of history?
The premise advanced by Gates, the series’ creator, executive producer and host, was deceptively simple: to tell this history from an African American perspective, depicting the agency and unfathomable resilience of a people brought here against their will—who ended up defining this country, its society and its culture, against often insurmountable odds.
We began by seeking the counsel of our advisory board—a host of the field’s most eminent historians and scholars. With their guidance, we sifted through endless lists of stories, each of which seemed more essential than the last. The scholars’ views as to which stories and individuals deserved priority were often at odds with one another. As television producers, we relish probing conflicting ideas, but we needed to find a path through the jungle of scholarly debate. Fortunately, the guiding light came from the stories themselves.
As we waded through five centuries of history, we were constantly struck by how relevant many of the stories still felt, and how powerfully they resonated with what we read about in the news every day. The deeper we delved into our story research, the more we were reminded of William Faulkner’s oft-quoted words: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
While exploring the well-known biography of Harriet Tubman, for instance, we simultaneously discovered the remarkable story of Terrence Stevens, a Harlem resident unjustly sent to prison in 1992, at the height of the War on Drugs. After serving almost a decade in unbearable conditions (Stevens suffers from muscular dystrophy, and received no specialized care during most of his time in prison), he emerged with a fierce determination to help children who had lost their parents to incarceration. His efforts to dismantle the cradle-to-prison pipeline, one individual at a time, recall Tubman’s courageous forays to rescue individuals from slavery in the 1850s. The stubborn efforts of both Tubman and Stevens evoke W. E. B. Du Bois’ still-potent admonition: “There is in this world no such force as the force of a person determined to rise.”
Historical parallels cropped up throughout our work on the series. While studying the disappointing fate of black elected officials at the end of Reconstruction, day by day we observed the “birthers” and opponents of “Obamacare” acting out scripts that could have been written in the 1880s—whether or not they realized it consciously. (We were deep into production on the first episodes before we knew whether our series might end with the story of a one-term black president.)
Street rally in New York City, October 11, 1955, under joint sponsorship of NAACP and District 65, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Workers Union in protest of slaying of Emmett Till. Public domain via Library of Congress.
And as we considered whether to include the story of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old Chicago boy tragically killed in Mississippi in 1955, we followed the trial of George Zimmerman, who had fatally shot another unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin, over half a century later in Florida. When Zimmerman—just like Till’s murderers—was ultimately acquitted, it felt as though time had stood still. Except that, in 2013, our African American president acknowledged that Trayvon “could have been me, 35 years ago.”
Some of the most iconic stories, such as John Lewis’ heroic march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on “Bloody Sunday” in 1965, took on the urgency of current events. While Selma paved the way for the passage of the Voting Rights Act, that same Act was being gutted before our eyes, in real time, as we scripted and filmed that story for the series. The controversial rise and rapid fall of affirmative action provided another fast-moving target.
Resistance, disappointment and despair were not the only themes that resonated across the centuries. Just as slaves created African American music, cuisine and culture amid the dehumanizing conditions in which they were forced to live, we traced how youth in the devastated South Bronx of the 1970s and 80s improvised a new popular culture—hip hop—out of nothing, that went on to conquer the world. As hip hop visionary Chuck D, founder and front man of the legendary group Public Enemy, said in his interview for our series, “Out of the ashes, rose the phoenix of hip hop.” And that phoenix is still thriving in 2013.
As we wrapped up the long process of story selection for all six episodes, we came to realize that our historical research actually helped us to elucidate the present—for ourselves, and now hopefully for our television viewers as well. The response to the series so far, in social media, the press and by word of mouth, seems to affirm that others hear the same echoes.
If it is true that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, perhaps this journey will encourage people to remind themselves of what does, and does not, bear repeating. Working on The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross has been a fascinating and inspiring voyage through the past. But perhaps the most exciting revelation has been that the story isn’t over: this history is still being made, every day.
Leslie Asako Gladsjo, a New York-based documentary filmmaker, served as senior story producer of The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross and also directed the final episode, A More Perfect Union, which covers the era from 1968 to 2013. She has worked with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on four previous series for PBS, including Finding Your Roots (2012), Faces of America (2010) and African American Lives 1 and 2 (2008 and 2006). Before that, Gladsjo was based in Paris, where she made documentaries on social and cultural topics for European broadcasters including Arte, France 2, France 5, BBC and others.
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By Matthew Kilburn
The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special
was first broadcast by BBC Television at 5.16pm on Saturday 23 November 1963. This weekend the BBC marks the fiftieth anniversary with several commemorative programmes on television, radio, and online—as well as a ‘global simulcast’ of the anniversary adventure, which places the two actors who’ve most recently played ‘the Doctor’ (David Tennant
, the tenth, and Matt Smith, the eleventh) alongside a previously unknown incarnation of the character, played by John Hurt
. As befits so famous a time-traveller, the anniversary is also an opportunity to look back at the origins of the series, and to some of those responsible, for what has since become a worldwide phenomenon.
Doctor Who had no single series creator, and its format arose from the convergence of several responses to competing demands at the BBC. Principal among these was the need for BBC Television to compete more effectively with its new rival, ITV, whose programmes had quickly come to dominate British viewing habits. In the early 1960s the BBC’s Saturday schedule was reasonably strong; its afternoon sports programme Grandstand was popular, as was its early evening pop music show Juke Box Jury. But between them was a gap typically filled by programmes from the BBC children’s department, including adaptations of literary classics or imported cartoons which failed to retain enough of the Grandstand audience. During 1963 the children’s department was wound down, with different genres of programmes transferred to their respective ‘adult’ departments. It was the BBC’s drama group which would now be responsible for a new ‘Saturday afternoon serial’.
The drama group itself was a creation of 1963. Sydney Newman had joined BBC Television that year from one of the ITV contractors, ABC, as head of drama; his brief was to expand the amount of drama produced—a second network, BBC2, was to launch in April 1964—as well as refashion the BBC’s output to contain more of the ‘agitational contemporaneity’ which had characterized Newman’s work at ABC. Newman’s earlier productions had also included science-fiction adventure serials for Sunday afternoons, and it was not surprising that he turned to this genre when confronting the BBC’s Saturday afternoon problem. There were precedents inside the Corporation: mid-evening science fiction serials had enjoyed wildly varying success, and in 1962 a report by the BBC script unit had considered the future of science fiction on BBC Television, assessing most of the literary field as too philosophical or technology-focused for the mass television audience. Newman appointed Donald Wilson as his first head of serials, and gave him the brief of drafting a new programme. Wilson and his staff writer C.E. Webber devised an overarching format for contemporary science-fiction stories which would feature a ‘handsome young man hero’ and ‘handsome well-dressed heroine aged about 30’ to attract children and women, and a ‘maturer man … with some character twist’. While Newman’s annotations on the format document expressed scepticism (particularly regarding the absence of a child protagonist), much in this document—including its understanding of science fiction as an area where ‘the wonder or fairy tale element shall be given a scientific or technical explanation’—made it into Doctor Who.
Doctor Who, Still from “The Hand of Fear: Part 2″
Sydney Newman now worked directly with Wilson and Webber to revise the format in line with the experiences of the BBC’s target audience. The series was explicitly thought of as a series of serials, to run for 52 weeks of the year. As well as adding Newman’s child protagonist and making the hero and heroine into two of her schoolteachers, this redrafting turned the ‘maturer man’ into ‘a frail old man lost in space and time’, of unknown origin and identity but possessed of a ‘machine’ which enabled the characters to ‘travel together through time, through space, and through matter’. This character was dubbed ‘DR. WHO’, the title given to the proposed series. At Newman’s instigation further changes were made to the Doctor to make the character less reactionary and more obviously a source of scientific solutions to problems. The series was to be consciously educational with adventures divided between the headings of ‘past’ (stories set in human history where the regulars would be caught up in a historical event or culture), ‘future’ (intended to emphasise scientific progress), and ‘sideways’ (including changes of size or parallel worlds).
As heads of the drama group and serials department, Newman and Wilson could not take the series further in detail. After offers to some existing BBC staff members including Don Taylor, Newman brought Verity Lambert over from ABC as the new series’ producer. This was a significant promotion for Lambert. Though nominally only a production assistant at ABC, she had there stepped in for directors and understood how to motivate and manage actors and crew within the limitations of studio television. Although women had produced in other areas of BBC television, she was the first to hold this role in drama.
The Doctor Who TARDIS
By the time Lambert arrived, the scripts for the first serial had been commissioned from Anthony Coburn, an Australian writer who decided that Newman’s child protagonist should be the Doctor’s granddaughter. Coburn also suggested that the Doctor’s potentially budget-absorbing extra-dimensional spacecraft should have the external shape of a police telephone box and named it the ‘Tardis’—an acronym for Time And Relative Dimension In Space. Lambert cast the actor William Hartnell as the aged time-and-space traveller, ‘Dr. Who’ himself. An initially harsh and coldly manipulative interpretation of the character changed in production to a warmer and more mischievous one. The transformation took many months and there was a marked change between the initial recording of the first episode (rejected by Newman and not broadcast until 1991) and the revised one transmitted on 23 November 1963.
One of Lambert’s other astute decisions concerned the determinedly avant garde title sequence and music. The title sequence came first, devised by Bernard Lodge and formed of cloud-like patterns derived from a film recording of visual feedback caused by a television camera recording the image from its own monitor. Lambert then approached the BBC’s experimental sound engineering unit, the Radiophonic Workshop, and the prolific freelance composer Ron Grainer, who had collaborated with the Workshop on a documentary soundtrack earlier in the year. In this case Grainer’s score would be entirely realized by the Workshop’s Delia Derbyshire, using tape loops of electronically-generated sound played back at different speeds. The impact of the Derbyshire-engineered theme led to the popular association of Doctor Who with electronic music, though for much of the 1960s and 1970s the incidental music scores were composed for and performed with conventional instruments. Among the composers who contributed to the early years of Doctor Who were such prominent figures as Richard Rodney Bennett and Humphrey Searle.
The Doctor’s first broadcast adventure was set in the Stone Age and concerned the secret of fire. It was followed by the first ‘future’ story. This seven-episode serial established Doctor Who’s popular appeal, drawing on fears of the Second World War (not two decades past) and apprehensions of a nuclear future, embodied in the villains, the Daleks, who made their first appearance (bar one extended sucker-ended ‘arm’ the week before) on 28 December 1963. Shrivelled mutants dwelling in armoured shells with mechanical voices (again the work of the Radiophonic Workshop), the Daleks were disturbing to children and adults alike. The Daleks and their world were realized by designer Raymond Cusick and mounted against an unsettling electronic score by Tristram Cary. The story was written by Terry Nation, who had not been involved in the planning of Doctor Who but now became the writer most closely associated with the series. His sinister creations were the focus of cinema adaptations of their first two serials, starring Peter Cushing as an explicitly Earthly Doctor.
Lifted by the appeal of the Daleks and other futuristic terrors, Doctor Who was established as a favourite of the family audience and BBC management alike. Huw Wheldon, controller of programmes of BBC Television from 1965 to 1968, reportedly declared that the four greatest achievements of television were Gilbert Harding, Maigret, Quatermass, and the Daleks. Of the four, only the latter endure in the wider British public consciousness today.
Davros and Daleks from Doctor Who
Doctor Who’s format was an evolving one. Adventures set in the past featuring no interventions from inhuman other-worlders (an important part of Sydney Newman’s original requirements) became less frequent and disappeared in 1967. The three categories of story overlapped, with ‘sideways’ being subsumed into ‘future’ and a present-day element also emerging. Increasingly magpie-like, Doctor Who picked from a yet wider variety of genres, from military action to horror to detective fiction and political satire, though usually cloaked in science fiction and fantasy tropes.
In 1966 the programme’s third producer, Innes Lloyd, decided to replace William Hartnell with Patrick Troughton as a ‘renewed’ Doctor, physically younger and with a less irascible, more clownish personality. The ability to substitute a departing lead with a different actor, playing the same character but with a distinctive physical appearance and manner, became part of Doctor Who’s endurance mechanism. Later Doctors were played by Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy until the series, out of favour with management and unable to move on to new production methods, was rested in 1989. Paul McGann took over the role for a TV Movie in 1996, a co-production between BBC Worldwide with Universal Television in the USA, before it once more became a successful BBC1 series (now largely made of standalone episodes rather than serials) in 2005, starring Christopher Eccleston. He was succeeded in turn by David Tennant and Matt Smith. Smith is to be replaced by Peter Capaldi at the end of the Christmas 2013 episode.
Writing careers have also been shaped by Doctor Who. One of the script editors from the late 1970s was Douglas Adams, on whose imagination and published writing the series was a recognizable influence. Among the generation of established writers who’ve contributed to the twenty-first century series—first led by Russell T. Davies and subsequently by Steven Moffat—was Neil Gaiman. On both sides of the Atlantic, Gaiman’s work, spanning comics, novels, computer games, cinema, and television, is a very recent example of the opportunities for cross-platform storytelling—an approach long since adopted by earlier creators and producers associated with Doctor Who.
At its inception in November 1963 Doctor Who was addressed to a specific audience of eight-to-fourteen-year-olds watching as part of a family group on Saturday afternoons. Today it has a worldwide general audience of all ages, claiming over 77 million viewers in the UK, Australia, and United States, as well as a large devoted core sustaining the sales of DVDs, books, audio plays, magazines, and memorabilia. Equally striking is the breadth of the programme’s appeal: search Who’s Who and you’ll find an Anglican archdeacon and a circuit judge who list ‘watching the Doctor’ as one of their recreations—as well as many others with professional links to the programme. When Donald Wilson assured the editor of Radio Times in 1963 that the programme would ‘run and run’, it’s doubtful he was looking fifty years ahead. But those responsible for the series in 2013 are already speculating cheerily about the programme’s centenary in 2063. Few would be confident in dismissing their optimism.
Dr Matthew Kilburn is an associate research editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. He has written on the treatment of history in Doctor Who for Andrew O’Day ed., Doctor Who: the Eleventh Hour, (2013) and David Butler ed., Time and Relative Dissertations in Space (2007), as well as magazine articles and production notes to two Doctor Who DVD releases.
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Image credits: (1) “The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special” ©BBC via bbc.co.uk. Used for the purposes of illustration. (2) “Doctor Who, Still from ‘The Hand of Fear: Part 2′” ©BBC via bbc.co.uk. Used for the purposes of illustration. (3) “The Doctor Who TARDIS” (Doctor Who Experience) By Steve Collis from Melbourne, Australia. CC-BY-2.0 via Wikimedia Commons (4) “Davros and Daleks from Doctor Who” By Wer-Al Zwowe. Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication via Wikimedia Commons.
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By Paul Cartledge
In 2006 the Frank Miller-Zack Snyder bluescreen epic 300 was a box office smash. The Battle of Thermopylae – fought between a massive Persian invading army and a very much smaller Greek force led by King Leonidas and his 300 Spartans in a narrow pass at the height of summer 480 BC – had never been visualised quite like that before. So affecting was its portrayal, indeed, that it prompted the Iranian delegation to the United Nations to lodge a formal complaint at the way the Persians had been depicted, or rather denigrated as subhuman monsters — as if George ‘Dubya’ Bush had any interest in that very ancient history! But on one thing the Iranian delegation — and the filmmakers — were entirely correct, historically speaking. The Battle of Thermopylae was indeed a key part of a series of battles — otherwise known as the Graeco-Persian Wars — that were a genuine struggle for civilisation, a decisive culture clash on a world-historical scale.
Click here to view the embedded video.
The forthcoming sequel to 300 is now announced for March 2014. It is called imaginatively 300: Rise of an Empire and will reawaken all those old questions and anxieties about East-West culture clash and the history of western civilization as a consequence. I can’t wait. But there’s another element to the conflict that shouldn’t be allowed to pass in silence. The ancient Greeks were a very competitive, indeed antagonistic lot. No sooner had the Spartans and Athenians and their respective allies defeated the Persians jointly, fighting shoulder to shoulder by land and on the sea, than they embarked on a bitter cultural war against each other — for priority and supremacy of commemoration. Which of the big two Greek cities deserved the credit (or a larger share of the credit) for leading the Greeks to victory and so ensuring that Greece would be free from culturally alien Persian domination?
Sparta and Athens were very different Greek cities, as different almost as they could possibly have been while still remaining distinctively ‘Greek’. Sparta was the model military state, under constant military discipline, and averse to the disorderly free-for-all of democratic politics. Athens on the other hand was the western world’s first democracy or ‘People-Power’, run by ordinary self-governing Athenian citizens. Actually it was the combination of their very different qualities on the battlefield — Spartan soldierly discipline and training, Athenian brio and dash — that were crucial to the patriotic Greeks’ eventual major victories by sea (Salamis) and on land (Plataea). But neither would give way to the other in the commemoration stakes. The Spartans enlisted the famous Greek praise-singer Simonides in their cause, to celebrate the decisive land victory at Plataea in 479 BC, but Herodotus, the Western world’s first proper historian, gave the lion’s share of the credit to Athens for its contribution to the naval battle of Salamis in 480.
Paul Cartledge is AG Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at the University of Cambridge. His most recent book is After Thermopylae. The Oath of Plataea and the End of the Graeco-Persian Wars (OUP. 2013). He is also the author of Ancient Greece: A Very Short Introduction.
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By Arpan K Banerjee
Does history matter? Professional historians will not hesitate to answer in the affirmative for a multitude of reasons. I am sure many professionals in technical and scientific fields, however, may have asked themselves the first question in a reflective moment without necessarily the same positive responses attributed to professional historians.
But in an era where professional success in these scientific fields depends on obtaining research grants and publishing papers in high impact journals, there may be little time left to attribute to the study of the past. However, it is imperative that people are aware of their past, as without it, an understanding of the present is incomplete. Knowledge of the past will help to guide decisions about the future just as much in scientific endeavours as in human politics, administration, and other walks of life.
Why read about radiology history specifically? Knowledge of medical history helps us to understand how we have arrived at the state of knowledge of current medical practice. Knowing what has not worked in the past enables us not to repeat mistakes. Knowledge of previous literature prevents society from repeating fruitless areas of scientific enquiry or enables those with vision to approach problems from a new angle.
This is only possible with hindsight gleaned from previous literature on the subject and a thorough knowledge of history is required for this. I am always reminded of the words of Michael Crichton, the author of Jurassic Park, who said “If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that does not know it is part of a tree.”
Radiology is a relatively new branch of medicine with a history of a little more than a century. Roentgen’s discovery of x-rays in Wurzburg on November 8, 1895 revolutionised medicine in a way that could not have been foreseen. Today his discovery is celebrated during the annual international day of radiology, held on the 8th of November each year.
In the years since Roentgen’s seminal experiment, however, the science of imaging the human body has developed at an alarming pace due to advances in physics, chemistry, engineering, and more recently, computing, all of which was achieved by a cross fertilisation of ideas between people from many varied backgrounds. Today radiology plays a central role in modern medical practice. Knowledge of its history will hopefully make us more aware of how much we are all indebted to the pioneer doctors and scientists of yesteryear, the selfless radiation martyrs who paid the ultimate price so that today we have a panoply of equipment and skills in the diagnostic and therapeutic armamentarium against disease.
Arpan K Banerjee qualified in medicine from St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School in London, UK and trained in Radiology at Westminster Hospital and Guys and St Thomas’s Hospital. In 2012 he was appointed Chairman of the British Society for the History of Radiology of which he is a founder member and council member. In 2011 he was appointed to the scientific programme committee of the Royal College Of Radiologists, London. He is the author/co-author of 6 books including the recent The History of Radiology.
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Image credit: X-ray hand, via iStockphoto.
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