Radiation Evangelists (Online Event)

Jeffrey Womack

The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

Tuesday, August 11, 2020 - 6:00pm

Please note that this event will be prerecorded however featured author, Jeffrey Womack, will be available to answer questions via live chat during the YouTube Premiere.
*YouTube Premiere link will be emailed to attendees following registration.
Radiation Evangelists: Technology, Therapy, and Uncertainty at the Turn of the Century by Jeffrey Womack, PhD
Radiation Evangelists explores X-ray and radium therapy in the United States and Great Britain during a crucial period of its development, from 1896 to 1925. It focuses on the pioneering work of early advocates in the field, the “radiation evangelists” who, motivated by their faith in a new technology, trust in new energy sources, and hope for future breakthroughs, turned a blind eye to the dangers of radiation exposure. Although ionizing radiation effectively treated diseases like skin infections and cancers, radiation therapists—who did not need a medical education to develop or administer procedures or sell tonics containing radium—operated in a space of uncertainty about exactly how radiation worked or would affect human bodies. And yet radium, once a specialized medical treatment, would eventually become a consumer health product associated with the antibacterial properties of sunlight.
This book raises important questions about medical experimentation and the so-called Golden Rule of medical ethics, issues of safety and professional identity, and the temptation of a powerful therapeutic tool that also posed significant risks in its formative years. In this cautionary tale of technological medical progress, Jeffrey Womack reveals how practitioners and their patients accepted uncertainty as a condition of their therapy in an attempt to alleviate human suffering.
Make sure to grab your copy of the book: https://upittpress.org/books/9780822946090/
Featured Author: Jeffrey Womack, PhD
Jeffrey Womack earned his PhD in history from the University of Houston in 2016. He regularly collaborates with the College of Physicians of Philadelphia’s Historical Medical Library and Mütter Museum. He resides and teaches in Philadelphia.
Featured Moderator: Beth Lander, MLS
College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Historical Medical Library, Library Director
Please note:
While we are not charging admission for this virtual event, we do ask that you consider making a donation to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Gifts of any amount help preserve our 230+ years of medical history. We greatly appreciate anything you are able to give!