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Radium and Cancer: a Monograph

Naturevolume 134pages791792 (1934) | Download Citation



RARE indeed is the physicist who would even attempt to write upon biochemical, patho logical and surgical phases of a complex subject in addition to his own subject. But in this book a leading surgeon of the London Hospital writes intelligently of atomic physics along with the surgical uses of radium and cancer with which he has had long first-hand experience. Books of this type, involving a bird's-eye view of a great field, are usually written in these days by the clinical method—in other words, by a group of writers each of whom contributes a chapter from his specialised store of knowledge. Sometimes a fairly successful effort is the result, and sometimes a treatise utterly lacking in unity. But not so with Dr. Souttar. Evidently he has had the spirit of unquenchable inquisitiveness into every possible ramification and mechanism of the subjects of radium and cancer. He has not been content to take radium for granted or to use it on his patients in accordance with some approved formula. With a plea for tolerance from his expert readers he launches into a discussion of the atom, the Bohr theory, the spectroscopy of X-rays and y-rays, and the whole range of such topics which have any fundamental bearing upon the general subject. These early chapters are clearly and painstakingly written and quite sufficiently accurate within every requirement of a fairly popular account. There is not the slightest earmark that these phases in which the author has been not directly trained are merely abstracted from some physics book and then hastily and thankfully dropped as he enters more familiar territory.

Radium and Cancer: a Monograph.

By Dr. H. S. Souttar. Pp. xiii + 387. (London: William Heinemann (Medical Books), Ltd., 1934.) 21s. net.

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