Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Documentary on Depleted Uranium and Radioactive Weapons

The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium, and the Dying Children
"An award winning documentary film produced for German television by Freider Wagner and Valentin Thurn. The film exposes the use and impact of radioactive weapons during the current war against Iraq. The story is told by citizens of many nations. It opens with comments by two British veterans, Kenny Duncan and Jenny Moore, describing their exposure to radioactive, so-called depleted uranium (DU), weapons and the congenital abnormalities of their children. Dr. Siegwart-Horst Gunther, a former colleague of Albert Schweitzer, and Tedd Weyman of the Uranium Medical Research Center (UMRC) traveled to Iraq, from Germany and Canada respectively, to assess uranium contamination in Iraq."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Legacy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Tsutomu Yamaguchi [1916-2010], a survivor of the atomic bombing of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, died recently at age 93. Although it is estimated that 165 people survived both blasts, Yamaguchi is the only one officially recognized by the Japanese government as a nijyuu hibakusha, or twice-bombed person. Late in life Yamaguchi publically advocated for nuclear disarmament through speeches, songs, and books, and his death was reported around the world, including obituaries in the New York Times and the Guardian.

The health consequences of war-time radiation exposure were profound, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths and illnesses; subsequent generations have also suffered due to genetic damage and birth defects. Special Collections at Health Sciences Library has several works related to the atomic bombings, with one of the most notable being Hiroshima Diary: The Journal of a Japanese Physician, August 6 - September 30, 1945. Published in 1955 by University of North Carolina Press, it is a firsthand account by Dr. Michihiko Hachiya, director of the Hiroshima Communications Hospital, and describes his own injuries and the mass destruction surrounding him (UNC Press republished the book in 1995 with a new foreword by John Dower).

Warner Wells, M.D., a surgeon at the UNC School of Medicine from 1952 until his retirement in 1973, edited and supervised the translation of Hiroshima Diary. Wells learned of Hachiya's diary through his work as a surgical consultant for the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, which he joined in 1950. It appeared in segments in the Japanese medical journal, Teishin Igaku, and in spring 1951, Wells met Hachiya and obtained his consent to translate and publish the diary in English. He was assisted by Dr. Neal Tsukifuji, a Japanese-American doctor, and consulted frequently with Hachiya. Wells also visited all the places mentioned in the diary, and noted this about the translation process: "Trying to relive Dr. Hichiya's experience, I succeed to the extent that I came to dream of the bombing and on occasion awakened in terror."

An account of Hiroshima from an American's perspective is Averill A. Liebow's Encounter with Disaster: A Medical Diary of Hiroshima, 1945. A physician, Dr. Liebow was a member of the Joint Atomic Bomb Commission in Japan. His diary records the formation of the Commission, the establishment of a working relation with Japanese medical investigators, and daily activities from September 18 to December 6, 1945; it also describes the preparation of the Army Institute of Pathology's report on Hiroshima that was completed on September 7, 1946.

Subject searches on Hiroshima and Nagasaki yield many resources at UNC University Libraries; some of the titles at the Health Sciences Library include:

:: Hiroshima under Atomic Bomb Attack [1954]
:: Ichiban: Radiation Dosimetry for the Survivors of the Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki [1977]
:: US-Japan Joint Reassessment of Atomic Bomb Radiation Dosimetry in Hiroshima and Nagasaki [1987]
:: Suffering Made Real: American Science and the Survivors at Hiroshima [1994]
:: Reassessment of the Atomic Bomb Radiation Dosimetry for Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Dosimetry System 2002: Report of the Joint US-Japan Working Group [2005]

With nuclear weapons a mainstay of the arsenals of the world's most powerful military forces, the threat of wartime radiation exposure continues today. Depleted uranium is also utilized in weaponry in active war zones (see, for example, the 2004 documentary, The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium, and the Dying Children, which examines the impact of radioactive weapons in Iraq). In Japan, the Radiation Effects Research Foundation is a joint Japanese-American scientific organization devoted to the study of the health effects of nuclear weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is an independent organization created by the United Nations in 1956 that was given impetus by President Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace speech to the UN General Assembly on December 8, 1953. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, opened for signature in 1968 and entering into force in 1970, is one of the main international instruments governing the use of nuclear weapons, and limits to five the number of declared nuclear weapons states: United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, and China, which coincidentally are the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. Originally intended to last 25 years, the treaty was extended indefinitely during a UN review conference in 1995.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

UNC Law School Sponsors Forum on Reader Privacy in the Digital World

Reader Privacy: Should Library Privacy Standards Apply in the Digital World?

January 22, 2010
8:30am - 12:30pm

UNC-CH School of Law
Room 4085

As reading expands from a world of print publications to electronic formats, can and should we retain traditional notions of reader privacy? Just what is the privacy we have come to expect as readers of books, and do these notions of privacy translate effectively in the world of Google Book Search, the Kindle, the Sony Reader --- or to the many pages of text we read online daily?

Keynote Speaker John Palfrey, Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources and Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and Co-Director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, introduces a discussion about these issues of the policy and law of reader privacy.

Two panels of speakers explore whether special protection for readers of library books merit recognition in the electronic environment. Speakers include Jane Horvath, Global Privacy Counsel for Google Inc.; Andrew McDiarmid, Policy Analyst at the Center for Democracy and Technology; Lili Levi, Professor of Law at the University of Miami; Annie Anton, Professor of Computer Science at North Carolina State University and Director of; Paula J. Bruening, Deputy Director of the Centre for Information Policy Leadership at Hunton & Williams LLP; and Anne Klinefelter, Director of the Law Library and Associate Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina. Moderators are Bill Marshall, William Rand Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina and David Hoffman, Director of Security Policy and Global Privacy Officer at Intel Corporation.

This event is held in honor of Data Privacy Day 2010 and is sponsored by the University of North Carolina School of Law, the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy, the UNC Kathrine R. Everett Law Library, the UNC University Libraries, the UNC School of Information and Library Science and The Privacy Projects. The Privacy Projects thanks the Official Sponsors of Data Privacy Day 2010 for their support: Intel, Microsoft, Google, AT&T, and LexisNexis.

Questions about the event should be directed to Anne Klinefelter at

Questions about Data Privacy should be directed to Jolynn Dellinger at

This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register, complete the form available online.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

2010 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the History of Medicine

The American Association for the History of Medicine's next annual meeting will be held April 29 to May 2, 2010 in Rochester, Minnesota, and a preliminary program is now available online (pdf). Local presenters and moderators include Prof. Michael McVaugh (UNC History), Sian Hunter (University of North Carolina Press), Dr. Jeffrey Baker (Duke) and Dr. Margaret Humphreys (Duke).

Dr. Keith Wailoo of Rutgers University, who will be speaking to the Bullitt Club on January 19, 2010, will be delivering the AAHM's annual Fielding H. Garrison Lecture on "The Politics of Pain: Liberal Medicine, Conservative Care, and the Governance of Relief in America since the 1950s."

Registration details for the annual meeting will be made available later on the AAHM web site. President W. Bruce Frye in a President's Message invites participants to Rochester and gives a history of the renowned Mayo Clinic. The Rochester Art Center will also be hosting a major exhibition, "Five Centuries of Medicine and Art," to coincide with the annual meeting.

Membership in AAHM is $85/year for individuals and $25/year for students.

The AAHM has recently published new issues of both its Newsletter (October 2009) and Bulletin of the History of Medicine (Vol. 83, No. 4, Winter 2009).

Dibner Library Resident Scholar Program at Smithsonian

The Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology Resident Scholar Program, supported by The Dibner Fund, awards stipends of $3,500.00 per month for up to six months for individuals working on a topic relating to the history of science and technology who can make substantial use of collections in the Dibner Library. Historians, librarians, doctoral students, and post-doctoral scholars are welcome to apply. Scholars must be in residence at the Dibner Library during the award period. Scholars wanting to do research in other areas of SI Libraries' Special Collections should apply for the Baird Society Resident Scholar Program.

The core of the holdings of the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology consists of approximately 10,000 rare books and manuscripts that were generously donated to the nation by the Burndy Library (founded by Bern Dibner) on the occasion of the nation's Bicentennial (1976). The strengths of the Dibner Library collection are in the fields of mathematics, astronomy, classical natural philosophy, theoretical physics (up to the early twentieth century), experimental physics (especially electricity and magnetism), engineering technology (from the Renaissance to the late nineteenth century), and scientific apparatus and instruments.

The rare books, which date from the fifteenth to the twentieth centuries, include significant holdings of works by Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Euclid, Carl Friedrich Gauss, Leonhard Euler, René Descartes, and Pierre Simon, marquis de Laplace, and Aristotle. Scientists represented by significant manuscript papers include Dominique François Arago, Humphry Davy, John William Lubbock, Isaac Newton, Henri Milne-Edwards, Hans Christian Øersted, Henry Hureau de Sénarmont, Benjamin Silliman, Jr., and Silvanus P. Thompson. The Dibner Library collections support the research interests of Smithsonian staff in the National Museum of American History, and provide valuable resources for the other Smithsonian museums and research units.

To be competitive, the applicant should describe in detail how he/she intends to use the collections of the Dibner Library. While the Libraries' extensive general collections may be used to support scholars' research, the focus of their projects must center around the Dibner Library's Special Collections.

To learn more about the collection, please visit the Dibner Library's website. Our holdings are searchable via the SI Libraries' online catalog, SIRIS.

How To Apply

To apply, download the application in Adobe Acrobat format (.pdf) from the link below, and return the completed application to the address below.

To have an application form mailed to you or for further information, call 202-633-3872, or email

The deadline is April 1st, 2010 for appointments during the 2011 calendar year. Applications must be postmarked by this date to be considered.

Researcher James Hansen to Speak on Global Climate Change

James Hansen, internationally recognized as a leading expert on global climate change, will speak at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, February 1, 2010.

Hansen will discuss “Global Climate Change: What Must We Do Now?” He comes to UNC as the Frey Foundation Distinguished Visiting Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. His lecture, at 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall, is free to the public and no advanced tickets are required.

A public reception and book-signing will follow the lecture. Hansen’s new book is Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity.

In 2006, Time magazine named Hansen one of the world’s most influential people. Former vice president Al Gore said about the climatologist: “When the history of the climate crisis is written, [James] Hansen will be seen as the scientist with the most powerful and consistent voice calling for intelligent action to preserve our planet’s environment.”

Hansen is director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. He is best known for his Congressional testimony on climate change in the 1980s — an early scientific voice that helped raise broad awareness of global warming. He created one of the first models of climate change about 30 years ago and has used it to predict much of what has happened since.

Elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1995, he has been an active researcher in planetary atmospheres and climate science for nearly 40 years, with the last 30 years focused on climate research.

In addition to numerous testimonies given to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, Hansen twice made presentations to former President George W. Bush’s Climate and Energy Task Force.

The Frey Foundation Professorship was established in 1989 to bring to campus distinguished leaders from government, public policy and the arts. David Gardner Frey chairs the foundation established by his parents, Edward J. and Frances Frey of Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1974. He earned bachelor’s and law degrees at Carolina in 1964 and 1967, respectively.

Hansen's visit is also in conjunction with the Curriculum for the Environment and Ecology, the Department of Marine Sciences, the Department of Public Policy, and the Institute for the Environment.

Parking for the lecture is available in commercial lots on Rosemary Street. For more information on the lecture, call (919) 843-6339 or e-mail

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Digital Driving: Don't!

The National Safety Council (NSC) announced on January 12, 2010 that an estimated 1.6 million accidents are caused annually by cell phone use or texting while driving. The NSC's estimates were calculated by statistical analysis of data on driver cell phone use from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and from peer-reviewed research on associated risks. NHTSA data show that 11% of drivers at any one time are using cell phones and another 1% are using their cell phones in ways that include texting. Cell phone use is estimated to increase crash risk fourfold, while texting increases risk eightfold.

Janet Froetscher, president and CEO of the NSC, states that:
This new estimate provides critical data for legislators, business leaders and individuals to evaluate the threat and need for legislation, business policies and personal actions to prevent cell phone use and texting while driving. There was great progress made in 2009, particularly regarding a broad recognition that texting is dangerous. We now need the same broad consensus that recognizes cell phone use while driving causes even more crashes.
The NSC web site provides much additional information concerning the risks of cell phone use and texting, including: Cell Phone Fact Sheet; Public Opinion Fact Sheet; Risk Estimate Description; NSC Estimate Summary; and Key Research Studies. See also, the official US government website for Distracted Driving.

ACLU Sues Library of Congress on Behalf of Former Guantánamo Prosecutor

On January 8, 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Library of Congress on behalf of Col. Morris Davis, the former chief prosecutor for the Guantánamo military commissions, who was terminated from his job at the Library's Congressional Research Service (CRS) because of his of opinion pieces he wrote about the military commissions system. The lawsuit charges that CRS violated Davis's right to free speech and due process when it fired him for speaking as a private citizen about matters having nothing to do with his responsibilities at CRS. [The rest of the ACLU's press release is available here].

Further information about the case as well as the ACLU's complaint are also available online.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2010 Schedule for Rare Book School

The 2010 course schedule for Rare Book School is now online. Courses will be offered at RBS's home base at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and at several other venues, including the Johns Hopkins University and Walters Art Museum (Baltimore), and (tentatively) at the Freer and Sackler Galleries (Washington, DC) and the Morgan Library and Museum (NYC).

Rare Book School offers a wide array of intensive, seminar-style courses on topics related to the history and production of the book, as well as manuscript and digital materials. Its founding director, Dr. Terry Belanger, won a MacArthur Fellowship in 2005, and retired last year. A profile of Belanger entitled, "The Book Mechanic," appeared recently in the Chronicle of Higher Education (December 6, 2009).

Rare Book School has long enjoyed an excellent reputation for the strength of its faculty and the quality of its instruction. RBS faculty member and papermaker Timothy Barrett, for example, was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2009 (see related Carolina Curator post). On September 1, 2009, Michael Suarez, S.J. succeeded Belanger as Director, and promises to build on the storied legacy of RBS.

Cushing/Whitney Medical Library Announces Research Travel Grant

The Historical Library of the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale University is pleased to announce its third annual research travel grant for use of the Historical Library. The award honors Ferenc A. Gyorgyey, Historical Librarian emeritus.

The Historical Library holds one of the country’s largest collections of rare medical books, journals, prints, photographs, and pamphlets. It was founded in 1941 by the donations of the extensive collections of Harvey Cushing, John F. Fulton, and Arnold C. Klebs. Special strengths are the works of Hippocrates, Galen, Vesalius, Boyle, Harvey, Culpeper, Haller, Priestley, and S. Weir Mitchell, and works on anesthesia, and on inoculation and vaccination for smallpox. The Library owns over fifty medieval and renaissance manuscripts, Arabic and Persian manuscripts, and over 300 medical incunabula. The notable Clements C. Fry Collection of Prints and Drawings has over 2,500 fine prints, drawings, and posters from the 15th century to the present on medical subjects. Although the Historical Library does not house the official archives of the Medical School, it does own a number of manuscript collections, most notably the Peter Parker Collection, papers of Harvey Cushing, and the John Fulton diaries and notebooks. For further information, visit the Historical Library website.

The travel grant is available to historians, medical practitioners, and other researchers who wish to use the collections of the Historical Library. There is a single award of up to $1500 for one week of research during the academic fiscal year 2010-2011 (July1-June 30). Funds may be used for transportation, housing, food, and photographic reproductions. The award is limited to residents of the United States and Canada.

Applicants should send a curriculum vitae and a description of the project including the relevance of the collections of the Historical Library to the project, and two references attesting to the particular project. Preference will be given to applicants beyond commuting distance to the Historical Library. This award is not intended for primary use of special collections in other libraries at Yale. An application form is available online. Applications are due by March 19, 2010. They will be considered by a committee and the candidates will be informed by May 14, 2010.

Ferenc A. Gyorgyey, born in Hungary, emigrated to the United States at the time of the Hungarian Revolution. He received his library degree at Southern Connecticut State University in 1961 and a master’s degree in history from Yale in 1967. Hired by Madeline Stanton as a cataloger in the Historical Library in 1962, he was named Historical Librarian when Miss Stanton retired in 1968. Known for his graciousness, devotion to patrons, a thorough knowledge of the collection, and a remarkable sense of humor, he held this position for 26 years until his retirement in 1994.

Requests for further information should be sent to:

Toby Anita Appel
John R. Bumstead Librarian for Medical History
Cushing/Whitney Medical Library
Yale University
P.O. Box 208014
New Haven, CT 06520-8014
Telephone: (203) 785-4354
Fax: (203) 785-5636

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Open Knowledge Commons To Create Digital Medical Heritage Library

The Open Knowledge Commons has received a $1.5 million dollar award from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to launch its first major collaborative digitization initiative, a digital Medical Heritage Library project.

The project’s goal is to create a permanent, freely accessible digital library of all published medical heritage literature. This first round of funding will support collaborative digitization of approximately 30,000 volumes of public domain works from the collections of some of the world’s leading medical libraries, including the National Library of Medicine, the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale University, the Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library at Columbia University and the New York Public Library.

Future plans for the project foresee the addition of other library partners and the creation of a web site for access to the shared digital collections.

The Open Knowledge Commons (OKC), a nonprofit organization based in Cambridge, MA, is dedicated to building a universal digital library for democratic access to information. OKC works to identify, instigate, and secure funding for projects that expand the digital commons and facilitate its use. Working with research libraries, cultural heritage institutions, funders, and their partners, it supports digitization of printed collections, the open availability and use of scanned and born-digital materials, and the long-term preservation of such works.

For more information, contact Maura Marx at maura at knowledgecommons dot org.

Note: This notice is from the Open Knowledge Commons website.

Monday, January 4, 2010

National Library of Medicine Solicits Student Seminar Presentations

The History of Medicine Division (HMD) of the National Library of Medicine is looking for two US-based graduate students to present their work in its seminar series in August 2010.

Seminars can be on any subject in the histories of health, medicine and the biomedical sciences. Speakers should plan to talk for up to 45 minutes, with an additional 30 minutes for questions. Please send a title, short abstract (200 words max), short CV, and contact details to David Cantor at the address below (email attachment preferred). There is no deadline, but a review of proposals will begin in May 2010, and an announcement of winners will appear on the HMD's seminar webpage.

For further information on the National Library of Medicine's rich historical resources, see the HMD web site.

David Cantor, PhD
Deputy Director
Office of History
National Institutes of Health
Bldg 45, Room 3AN38, MSC 6330
Bethesda, MD 20892-6330

Phone: 301-402-8915 (Direct); 301-496-6610 (Office)
Fax: 301-402-1434

2010 William B. Bean Student Research Award

The American Osler Society announces the availability of the William B. Bean Student Research Award award for support of research in the broad areas of medical history and medical humanities. Candidates must be currently matriculated students in approved schools of medicine in the United States or Canada. The successful applicant may be eligible to present a paper based on his or her findings at the annual meeting of the American Osler Society. The stipend for the coming year will be $1,500, and up to $750 additional may be available to support travel to the annual meeting contingent on submission of a paper acceptable to the Committee at the conclusion of the studentship.

Selection criteria for the award are as follows:

-- The project should deal with medical history and/or medical humanities;
-- The goal should be stated clearly;
-- The goal should be realistic;
-- The applicant should demonstrate familiarity with the relevant literature;
-- Originality; and
-- Scholarly approach.

A letter of support from a faculty sponsor who will assume responsibility for planning and guidance of the fellowship must accompany the application form, which may be obtained along with further information from:

Paul S. Mueller, MD
Secretary-Treasurer, American Osler Society
The Mayo ClinicMayo Building, West 17
200 First Street, SW
Rochester, Minnesota 55905
(e-mail: mueller.pauls AT

Completed applications must be received by mail (not by fax or e-mail) by 1 March 2010. Notice of award will be made by 15 May 2010.

Bullitt Club Lecture on the History of Pain Medicine

The next meeting of UNC's Bullitt History of Medicine Club will be Tuesday, January 19, 2009 at the UNC Health Sciences Library in the 5th Floor Conference Room (527). Please join us at 5:30pm for light refreshments followed by the lecture at 6pm. Meetings are free and open to the public.

Dr. Keith Wailoo, Professor of History at Rutgers, will be presenting a lecture entitled, "Over-Prescribed / Under-Medicated: The History and Cultural Politics of Pain Medicine in America."

Dr. Wailoo is Director of the Center for Race and Ethnicity and Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of History at Rutgers University. During 2009-10 he is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Princeton University. His work focuses principally on health care politics, the ethnic and racial relations of medicine, and the ways scientific and technological understandings have interacted with politics, society, and culture to shape health experiences, disease disparities, and social responses to disease in the 20th century and into the 21st century.

For further information about the Bullitt Club, including the schedule for 2009-10 and mp3 recordings of past lectures, please visit the web site.