Tuesday, January 11, 2011


My dad did his residency in Radiation Oncology and Nuclear Medicine at M.D. Anderson.  I found this in his things years ago.  It always makes me think of Apollo 13.  Those guys at NASA brought them home with less sophisticated equipment than I carry around in my pocket every day in the form of an iPhone.  They were using slide rules, not computers.  My dad used this in the 50s.  It was kind of like a slide rule for time/dosage in radiation treatments.  I remember when he got his first computer which basically did these same calculations.  It was like 6 refrigerators with humongous reels of tape.  I was amazed when I found this, because I had remembered a story he told when I was barely old enough to understand it and I didn't know what the thing looked like and had no clue there was one still in existence.  Dad's story:  Another resident came up to him and said "Hey, Ernie, have you seen this thing?  It's amazing."  He then proceeded to condescendingly show my dad how to use it.  According to my dad, his tone was kind of like my dad wasn't quite capable of grasping the intricacies of the mathematics.  My dad just listened and thanked the guy for explaining it to him.  It would have been interesting to see that other doctor's face whenever it was that he noticed the lettering on the innermost circle.  If you can't read it in this photo, it says: "Designed by E. J. Braun M.D."

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