Life Atomic: A History of Radioisotopes in Science and Medicine (Synthesis)

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9780226017808: Life Atomic: A History of Radioisotopes in Science and Medicine (Synthesis)

After World War II, the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) began mass-producing radioisotopes, sending out nearly 64,000 shipments of radioactive materials to scientists and physicians by 1955. Even as the atomic bomb became the focus of Cold War anxiety, radioisotopes represented the government’s efforts to harness the power of the atom for peace—advancing medicine, domestic energy, and foreign relations.           In Life Atomic, Angela N. H. Creager tells the story of how these radioisotopes, which were simultaneously scientific tools and political icons, transformed biomedicine and ecology. Government-produced radioisotopes provided physicians with new tools for diagnosis and therapy, specifically cancer therapy, and enabled biologists to trace molecular transformations. Yet the government’s attempt to present radioisotopes as marvelous dividends of the atomic age was undercut in the 1950s by the fallout debates, as scientists and citizens recognized the hazards of low-level radiation. Creager reveals that growing consciousness of the danger of radioactivity did not reduce the demand for radioisotopes at hospitals and laboratories, but it did change their popular representation from a therapeutic agent to an environmental poison. She then demonstrates how, by the late twentieth century, public fear of radioactivity overshadowed any appreciation of the positive consequences of the AEC’s provision of radioisotopes for research and medicine.

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About the Author:

Angela N. H. Creager is the Thomas M. Siebel Professor in the History of Science at Princeton University. She is the author of The Life of a Virus and coeditor of Feminism in Twentieth-Century Science, Technology, and Medicine, both published by the University of Chicago Press. She lives in Princeton, NJ.

Review:

“A striking portrait of the emergence of Cold War science. The book contributes to a growing historical literature that has begun to reconfigure our understanding of the period and its enduring legacies. . . . Creager’s deft attention to the ironies that have accompanied efforts to harness the atom is history of science at its best: a crystal clear portrait of just how untidy the impacts of science can be.” (Joanna Radin Science)

“The Manhattan Project’s impact reverberated beyond the atomic bomb, reveals Angela Creager in this lucid scientific history. . . . Creager deploys radioisotopes as ‘historical tracers’ to explore shifts in medicine, perceptions of cancer risk, and the porous ‘civilian-military divide.’” (Nature)

"For most laypeople, atomic science in the Cold War means arms races, bomb shelters, and nuclear fallout. In Life Atomic, Creager offers a new perspective by exploring a different side of radiation science: the use of radioisotopes in laboratory science and medical research. During the early days of the Cold War, radioisotopes were hailed as a peaceful use of atomic science, a way to put fission products to use for everything from curing cancer to improving foreign relations. However, as public perception of radioactivity shifted, radioisotopes came to be seen as a potential poison. Creager deals deftly with atomic science, cultural debates, and Cold War politics to give us a fresh look at the atom’s fraught 20th-century history." (Physics Today)

"A thorough and fascinating account of the challenges that the US Atomic Energy Commission faced in the course of trying to remake nuclear radiation into a scientific and medical tool, as well as a profitable product. . . . Life Atomic is an enjoyable and important book, which should top the reading list of any scholar interested in the development of postwar science and medicine." (Andrew J. Hogan Metascience)

"Historians of the physical and biological sciences will find this book indispensable, but Creager’s thorough explication of both the science and the institutional context in which it was pursued makes this work accessible to and useful for audiences interested in postwar nuclear culture writ large. Fact-dense but not pedantic, and argumentatively nuanced without being overly subtle, Life Atomic is a first-rate work in the history of science." (American Historical Review)

“Radioisotopes are a cornerstone of technology, facilitating basic research and augmenting medical treatment. As a biochemist familiar with such isotopes, decorated historian Creager is well qualified to examine the expansion of radioactive power. Her Life Atomic is a strikingly complete narrative of the social and scientific factors sparking such expansion in the peaceful realm. . . . Students and seasoned professionals alike will gain significant insight into the foundations of this central technology, making it a critical resource for academic and professional libraries. Essential.” (B. D. Spiegelberg, Rider University Choice)

"Enjoyable not only for those 'in the trade' but for all scientific and health professionals." (Chemistry World)

"Novel and engaging. . . . With its dedication to tracing the diverse, recent, and now mostly forgotten trajectories of radioisotopes in American biomedicine, Life Atomic abounds with historicist insights." (Kenton Kroker Isis)

“Angela Creager’s deeply researched and elegantly written new book is a must-read account of the history of science in twentieth-century America. . . . Not only is it a historiographically important and meticulously crafted work based on exhaustive research, but it’s also a great set of stories. The pages of Life Atomic are full of guinea pigs, scientific vaudeville, and stories and characters from many different fields of the modern life sciences, expertly weaving them together into a compelling set of arguments.” (Carla Nappi New Books in Science, Technology, and Society)

"This is an excellent book on a truly important subject. It is impossible to summarize all the topics studied by Creager in her rich and carefully researched book, or even to enumerate all the book’s contributions to the history of science, technology and medicine." (History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences)

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Creager, Angela N. H.
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Descripción The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2013. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. After World War II, the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) began mass-producing radioisotopes, sending out nearly 64,000 shipments of radioactive materials to scientists and physicians by 1955. Even as the atomic bomb became the focus of Cold War anxiety, radioisotopes represented the government s efforts to harness the power of the atom for peace-advancing medicine, domestic energy, and foreign relations. In Life Atomic, Angela N. H. Creager tells the story of how these radioisotopes, which were simultaneously scientific tools and political icons, transformed biomedicine and ecology. Government-produced radioisotopes provided physicians with new tools for diagnosis and therapy, specifically cancer therapy, and enabled biologists to trace molecular transformations. Yet the government s attempt to present radioisotopes as marvelous dividends of the atomic age was undercut in the 1950s by the fallout debates, as scientists and citizens recognized the hazards of low-level radiation. Creager reveals that growing consciousness of the danger of radioactivity did not reduce the demand for radioisotopes at hospitals and laboratories, but it did change their popular representation from a therapeutic agent to an environmental poison. She then demonstrates how, by the late twentieth century, public fear of radioactivity overshadowed any appreciation of the positive consequences of the AEC s provision of radioisotopes for research and medicine. Nº de ref. de la librería AAH9780226017808

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Descripción The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2013. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. After World War II, the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) began mass-producing radioisotopes, sending out nearly 64,000 shipments of radioactive materials to scientists and physicians by 1955. Even as the atomic bomb became the focus of Cold War anxiety, radioisotopes represented the government s efforts to harness the power of the atom for peace-advancing medicine, domestic energy, and foreign relations. In Life Atomic, Angela N. H. Creager tells the story of how these radioisotopes, which were simultaneously scientific tools and political icons, transformed biomedicine and ecology. Government-produced radioisotopes provided physicians with new tools for diagnosis and therapy, specifically cancer therapy, and enabled biologists to trace molecular transformations. Yet the government s attempt to present radioisotopes as marvelous dividends of the atomic age was undercut in the 1950s by the fallout debates, as scientists and citizens recognized the hazards of low-level radiation. Creager reveals that growing consciousness of the danger of radioactivity did not reduce the demand for radioisotopes at hospitals and laboratories, but it did change their popular representation from a therapeutic agent to an environmental poison. She then demonstrates how, by the late twentieth century, public fear of radioactivity overshadowed any appreciation of the positive consequences of the AEC s provision of radioisotopes for research and medicine. Nº de ref. de la librería AAH9780226017808

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Descripción 2013. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Hardcover. After World War II, the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) began mass-producing radioisotopes, sending out nearly 64,000 shipments of radioactive materials to scientists and physicians by 1.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 512 pages. 0.816. Nº de ref. de la librería 9780226017808

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