Each year, at the annual meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine, Henry Wagner summarizes his view of principal advances in the field. In A Personal History of Nuclear Medicine, he brings the same insight to the fifty years he has practiced, preached and breathed nuclear medicine. That same fifty years spans the era in which radioactivity has been harnessed to provide exquisite maps of physiologic function in the living human body.
Thus, the book brings the perspective of an insider, whose own contributions have been particularly influential: leader of a premier program in education and research; founding member of the American Board of Nuclear Medicine; proponent of international cooperation and the World Congress, and much more.
Because of Henry's positions and desire to meet and know colleagues throughout the world (he and his wife Anne are most gracious hosts and visitors) this autobiography is also a story of the major figures who grew the field of nuclear medicine and made the discipline into a coherent one.
The book also reflects Henry's personality: his candor and unflinching way of telling it the way he thinks it is, his punctuated use of aphorisms (some of his own making), his deep understanding of who he is, and an innocent delight in many accomplishments.
Some years ago, I suggested that Henry was a constructive troublemaker; someone who goaded us out of accepted wisdom into new, and sometimes outrageous, thinking. This volume documents his life, his philosophy, and his role in the coming of age for a remarkable medical specialty.
S. James Adelstein Chappaquiddick July 2005
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