"Radiation Detectors - Past and Present," a new exhibit at the Library
of the Health Sciences, displays a collection of devices from the UIC Environmental
Health and Safety Office, Radiation Safety Section. The exhibit includes various
radiation detection devices, as well as handbooks on the handling and administration
to patients of radioactive materials, radiation safety guides, and vintage radiation
movie and health physics safety posters from the 1930s through the 1990s.
The hazards of ionizing radiation have been apparent to scientists and physicians
since a short time after the discovery of x-rays and natural radioactivity in
the 1890s. Radiation safety efforts, such as protection programs and tolerance
doses, have been around since the 1930s. Successful radiation protection programs
depend largely on being able to detect, identify, and measure radiation. It
is important to realize that human senses do not respond to ionizing radiation
at all; to prevent overexposure and to minimize doses, radiation-measuring instruments
must be used.
Some highlights are:
- A Farmer Electrometer and Ionization Chamber,
manufactured by the Baldwin Instrument Company in England in the 1940s which
was primarily used in medical applications measuring doses from electrons, gamma,
- An Eberline Instrument Corp. Geiger-Counter used in the 1970s - 80s to measure gamma and beta radiation
- Pocket dosimeters, worn in a shirt pocket like a fountain pen to detect radiation.
- A collection of radiation
monitoring film badges
The use of radiation at UIC is described in The UIC Radiation
Safety Manual (11/5/97):
"The University of Illinois at Chicago has a long history of using sources of ionizing radiation for clinical and research purposes. Medical x-ray units were in use at the University in 1911 or earlier by the Department of Materia Medica and Therapuetics. Radioactive material was being used in research by the College of Medicine as early as 1949. The use of radiation sources at UIC blossomed during the following years, resulting in the wide spectrum of clinical and research uses employed today."
"Radiation Detectors - Past and Present" was created by UIC Health Physicists Jerome J. Czech, Allan Jackimek, Randy Jefferies, and Konstantin Povod. For more information about
the exhibit or the history of the medical center at UIC, contact the Library
of the Health Sciences Special Collections.