Alan Waltar, nuclear engineer, Past President of the American Nuclear Society: The majority of our citizens are aware of the contributions of nuclear technology to the production of electricity via commercial nuclear power plants. But most are unaware that the impact of this technology is even greater for non-power applications. Medicine, agriculture, and modern industry have been substantially improved by the harnessing of radioisotopes.
John Lawrence became known as the "father of nuclear medicine." He saw opportunities for diagnostic and therapeutic uses of radiation beams and isotopes being produced through the then new cyclotron.
Many nuclear medicine historians claim that the genesis of nuclear medicine in the United States took place when John Lawrence took leave of absence from his faculty position at Yale Medical School in 1936 to visit his brother Ernest Orlando Lawrence at his new laboratory in Berkeley, California.
Medical radioisotope use to treat cancer has its origins in 1936 when Dr. Hertz spontaneously asked the President of MIT Karl Compton, "Could iodine be made radioactive artificially?"