The year 1995 commemorates two centenaries in connection with William Conrad Rontgen: 8 November marks the centenary of his discovery of X-rays at Wurzburg; 27 March is the 150th anniversary of his birth at Lennep near Remscheid. Medical radiology initially involved the use of X-rays for the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Becquerel then discovered radioactivity in 1897, and Marie Curie isolated radium in 1899. These newly discovered radioactive substances were almost immediately used in therapy and this remained the state of affairs for many years. Following the Second World War radionuclides were introduced into the medical diagnostic field and are now providing unique contributions to functional studies and molecular biology. Diagnostic ultrasound started in the 1950s and rapidly increased in use and diversity during the 1970s and 1980s, X-ray techniques, both diagnostic and interventional, have continued to develop with the introduction of image intensification in the 1960s and computed tomography scanning in the 1970s. More recently the phenomenon of nuclear magnetic resonance has been utilized in magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy, which have revolutionized our understanding of disease.
The story of these developments and their applications is told in this book. The authors are drawn from the various disciplines that have contributed to the advance of medical radiology, and provide a wide-ranging survey of the 100 years of "invisible light."
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