UW Radiology

Upcoming radiology holidays

Perhaps radiology doesn’t have formal holidays, per se, but there are still three days coming up that are significant to the field.

Marie Curie

Marie Curie, c. 1907

First of all, November 7 is the 147th birthday of Maria Salomea Skłodowska, better known to the world as Marie Curie. Born in Russian-occupied Poland in 1867, Curie went on to win a quarter of the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics for her work in radiation, as well as the full 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her discovery and exploration of radium and polonium. Her life is a fascinating story, but there’s no room here for it right now, so a Featured History exhibit on Curie’s life is in the works. (A quick teaser: One garment she commonly wore in the lab was the dark blue dress she’d worn to her wedding.)

First medical X-ray, December 22, 1895.

The world’s first X-ray picture, produced December 22, 1895.

Secondly, November 8 is the 119th anniversary of an unexpected research breakthough. At the time, Wilhelm Röntgen was experimenting with sending electrical currents through various kinds of vacuum tubes. He always covered the tubes with opaque cardboard to keep the light contained, but on the evening of November 8, he noticed that some of the energy in the vacuum tube was apparently escaping through the cardboard to make a nearby barium–platinocyanide screen light up. Since that day was a Friday, Röntgen took the weekend to study this phenomenon further, a decision that eventually led to the development of X-ray technology and won him the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901.

For more details on Röntgen’s life, stay tuned for another Featured History exhibit. (Teaser #2: As a teenager, Röntgen was expelled from school for drawing a caricature of his teacher — even though another student was actually responsible.)


Finally, as you might have noticed in the sidebar, November 8 has also been co-opted as the International Day of Radiology, dedicated to celebrating the important role that radiology plays in medicine. To get a sense of the day’s scope, be sure to check out the official Activities page — there are workshops and lecture series being held all over the world. I’m sure the list is still being edited, so keep checking back — maybe Springer will offer free access to certain articles like it did last year? And if you have friends or relatives who think that being a radiologist means looking at fuzzy pictures of broken bones all day, this is your chance to gently teach them otherwise by inviting them to like the event’s Facebook page or leaving official IDoR posters and other promotional materials in conspicuous spots around the house.

This year, IDoR’s theme is brain imaging. If you’d like to access materials on this topic, click here to see what the Templeton Library has, and here for a raw list of the UW Libraries’ holdings. If you want help in filtering these result for a more specialized sub-topic, please drop by the library on Mondays and Fridays between 9 and 1, or email Rebecca at radlib[AT]uw[dot edu].


Photo credits: Marie Curie portrait and first medical X-ray from Wikimedia Commons. IDoR poster provided by event planners.