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Finding Aids to Oral Histories in the Smithsonian Institution Archives

Record Unit 9544

Medical Imaging Videohistory Collection, 1989

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at osiaref@si.edu.
Creator:
Title: Medical Imaging Videohistory Collection
Dates: 1989
Quantity: 9 videotapes and 3 audiotapes. 11 digital video .wmv files and .rm files (Reference copies).
Collection: Record Unit 9544
Language of Materials: English
Summary:

Ramunas A. Kondratas, National Museum of American History, conducted audiotaped and videotaped interviews with Robert S. Ledley, designer of the ACTA scanner, and his associates, David Griego, Seong Ki Mun, Homer Twigg, and Robert Zeman. They discussed the history of X-ray CT imaging and the development of the ACTA scanner. Ledley also explained the activities and research projects at the National Biomedical Research Foundation (NBRF) at Georgetown University. In the audio interview Ledley reviewed his background and career. Visual documentation includes group interaction, two documentary films, components of early models of the ACTA scanner, facilities and equipment of the NBRF, and a complete CT scanning session with a patient.

Historical Note

The ACTA (Automatic Computerized Transverse Axial) scanner was developed in 1973. The introduction of this first full-body CAT (Computer Assisted Tomography)--or CT (Computerized Tomography)--scanner lead to advancement in medical imaging and diagnostic medicine, especially for non-invasive viewing of soft tissue inside the body. The machine revolutionized diagnosis in cancer, heart disease, and soft tissue irregularities by transmitting X-ray beams through transverse axial slices of the body, resulting in computerized cross-sectional images of the body part scanned. Robert S. Ledley, of Georgetown University Medical Center, designed the ACTA scanner, and it was first used in clinical operation there in 1973.

Robert Ledley received a D.D.S. degree from New York College of Dentistry in 1948 and a M.A. degree in theoretical physics from Columbia University in 1950. Shortly thereafter he worked for both the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology) and the Johns Hopkins University as a physicist and research analyst. From 1968 to 1970, he was professor of Electrical Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the George Washington University. In 1960 he founded and became president of the National Biomedical Research Foundation (NBRF). He joined the School of Medicine, Georgetown University Medical Center in 1970 as a professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. In 1974 he became a professor in the Medical Center's Department of Radiology and in 1975 was appointed director of the Medical Computing and Biophysics Division.

Homer Twigg graduated from the University of Maryland Medical School in 1951 and entered the United States Public Health Service where he received training in radiology. In 1957, he joined the Radiology Department of the Georgetown University Medical Center and was one of the first radiologists to work with Dr. Ledley in applying the ACTA scanner to clinical situations.

Robert Zeman received his M.D. from Northwestern University in 1976. In 1977 he began his residency at Yale New Haven Hospital, in New Haven, Connecticut, and was appointed assistant professor of Diagnostic Radiology at Yale University in 1981. The following year he joined Georgetown University School of Medicine as an assistant professor of Radiology and held numerous other positions there until his appointment as Clinical Director of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology in 1986.

David Griego, Georgetown University Medical Center CAT scanning supervisor and radiology specialist, and Seong Ki Mun, director of the Division of Imaging Physics were interviewed for their knowledge of current trends in the field of medical imaging.

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Introduction

The Smithsonian Videohistory Program, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation from 1986 until 1992, used video in historical research. Additional collections have been added since the grant project ended. Videohistory uses the video camera as a historical research tool to record moving visual information. Video works best in historical research when recording people at work in environments, explaining artifacts, demonstrating process, or in group discussion. The experimental program recorded projects that reflected the Institution's concern with the conduct of contemporary science and technology.

Smithsonian historians participated in the program to document visual aspects of their on-going historical research. Projects covered topics in the physical and biological sciences as well as in technological design and manufacture. To capture site, process, and interaction most effectively, projects were taped in offices, factories, quarries, laboratories, observatories, and museums. Resulting footage was duplicated, transcribed, and deposited in the Smithsonian Institution Archives for scholarship, education, and exhibition. The collection is open to qualified researchers.

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Descriptive Entry

Ramunas Kondratas, curator at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History (NMAH), interviewed Ledley, Homer Twigg, Robert Zeman, David Greigo, and Seong Ki Mun about the history of CAT scanning in general, and the development and operation of the ACTA scanner in particular, as well as Ledley's more recent work in biotechnology instrumentation. Kondratas also visually documented CAT scanning equipment, from the earliest model ACTA scanner to most recent CT scanners.

This collection consists of five interview sessions, totalling approximately 8:26 hours of recordings, and 154 pages of transcript. There are three generations of tape for each session: originals, dubbing masters, and reference copies. In total, this collection is comprised of 24 original videotapes (23 Beta videotapes, and 1 U-Matic videotape), 10 dubbing master videotapes (10 U-Matic videotapes), and 7 reference copy videotapes (7 VHS videotapes). The videotapes in this collection have been remastered digitally, with 24 motion jpeg 2000 and 24 mpeg digital files for preservation, and 11 Windows Media Video and 11 Real Media Video digital files for reference.Also included is one audio interview, totalling approximately 4:30 hours of audiotape, and 96 pages of transcript.

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Use Restriction

Restricted. The permission of Ramunas Kondratas must be obtained for commercial reproduction or broadcast.

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Preferred Citation

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9544, Medical Imaging Videohistory Collection

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Container List

Interviews

Session 1: c. 1978

Interviews

Consists of a documentary film, "The ACTA Scanner," explains the operating principles of the ACTA scanner, c. 1978, including: techniques used to convert X-ray information into images; demonstration of scanner operation with attention to gantry rotation and image manipulation. Documentary is not transcribed. The original master, dubbing master, and reference copy information listed below corresponds to the film-to-videotape transfer from original 16mm color film. The original film was deposited in the Division of Medical Sciences, NMAH.

Interviews

No Transcript, of videotape recording, 6 minutes.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total Recording Time: 6 minutes

Interviews
Original Master: 1 Beta videotape
Preservation Masters: 1 Motion jpeg 2000 and 1 mpeg digital files
Dubbing Master: 1 U-Matic videotape
Reference Copies: 1 VHS videotape, 1 Windows Media Video and 1 Real Media digital files

Session 2: 6 April 1989

Interviews

In the Medical Imaging exhibit, NMAH, featured Ledley discussing the development of the ACTA scanner, c. 1960-1975, including: research in medical imaging prior to the introduction of X-ray CT imaging; work of other researchers in the X-ray CT field; principles of X-ray CT imaging; activities at NBRF and decision to develop scanner; division of labor within scanner development team; functions of various scanner parts. Visual documentation included: original ACTA scanner with close-ups of its various components; wood prototype of scanner; Ledley's original engineering notes and mechanical drawings.

Interviews

Transcript, 1-41 pages, of videotape recording, 2 hours.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total Recording Time: 2 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 6 Beta videotapes
Preservation Masters: 6 Motion jpeg 2000 and 6 mpeg digital files
Dubbing Masters: 2 U-Matic videotapes
Reference Copies: 1 VHS videotape, 2 Windows Media Video and 2 Real Media digital files

Session 3: 5 July 1989

Interviews

In the laboratory of the National Biomedical Research Foundation (NBRF), Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C., featured Ledley describing the facilities and activities of the Foundation, c. 1960-1989, including: creation and history of NBRF; tour of office and development areas; demonstration of the simultaneous Hi-lo power microscope; demonstration of the Metachrome (automated chromosome analysis) machine; tour of the design areas, electronic shop, and computer facilities; demonstration of the V-Scan (automated chromosome analysis) machine; demonstration of the AGA (automated genetic analyzer) machine; tour of the protein database facilities; narration with transparencies covering the commercial production of the ACTA scanner. Visual documentation included: publications of NBRF; V-Scan machine; AGA machine; transparencies/slides of equipment.

Interviews

Transcript, 1-52 pages, of videotape recording, 3 hours.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total Recording Time: 3 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 8 Beta videotapes
Preservation Masters: 8 Motion jpeg 2000 and 8 mpeg digital files
Dubbing Masters: 3 U-Matic videotapes
Reference Copies: 2 VHS videotapes, 3 Windows Media Video and 3 Real Media digital files

Session 4: c. September 1984

Interviews

Consists of a documentary video of the Automated Genetic Analysis (AGA) machine video documentary developed at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., c. September, 1984, including: demonstration and narration of machine's components in operation from insertion of initial genetic sample to extraction of final data. Documentary is not transcribed. The original master, dubbing master, and reference copy information listed below corresponds to the film-to-videotape transfer. The original video was deposited at the NBRF of the Georgetown University Medical Center.

Interviews

Transcript, none, of videotape recording, 1 hour.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total Recording Time: 1 hour

Interviews
Original Masters: 1 U-Matic videotape
Preservation Masters: 1 Motion jpeg 2000 and 1 mpeg digital files
Dubbing Masters: 1 U-Matic videotape
Reference Copies: 1 VHS videotape, 1 Windows Media Video and 1 Real Media digital files

Session 5: 27 October 1989

Interviews

At Georgetown University Medical Center,Washington, D.C., featured Griego, Mun, Twigg and Zeman discussing the development of X-ray CT and other medical imaging techniques and current X-ray CT operations, c. 1970-1989, including: introduction and impact of Ledley's ACTA scanner; capabilities and applications of current X-ray CT scanners; discussion of comparative costs of various imaging modalities; applications of other imaging modalities at the Center's Imaging Physics Division; discussion of ethical issues affecting medical imaging; tour of the Center's X-ray CT facilities and procedures areas; demonstration of the Image Management and Communication System. Visual documentation included: slides of early and contemporary CT scans; a complete CT scanning session with a patient.

Interviews

Transcript, 1-61 pages, of videotape recording, 3 hours.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total Recording Time: 3 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 8 Beta videotapes
Preservation Masters: 8 Motion jpeg 2000 and 8 mpeg digital files
Dubbing Masters: 3 U-Matic videotapes
Reference Copies: 2 VHS videotapes, 3 Windows Media Video and 3 Real Media digital files

Audio interview: 16 June 1989

Interviews

At Ledley's office, NBRF, Georgetown University. Ledley discussed his background and career, including: childhood and family life; interest in physics; dentistry training; work at the National Bureau of Standards; research and publications; founding of the National Biomedical Research Foundation; development of the ACTA scanner.

Interviews

Transcript, 1-96 pages, of audiotape recording, 4 hours, 30 minutes.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total Recording Time: 4 hours, 3 minutes.

Interviews
Original Master: not available
Dubbing Master: not available
Reference Copies: 3 audiotapes