Friday, January 23, 2009

Citation Classic Commentaries

From 1977 to 1993, thousands of Citation Classic Commentaries appeared in Current Contents, a database of journal tables of contents originally published by the Institute of Scientific Information. The full texts of these mostly one-page articles are now available at In each article, the author of a highly-cited paper tells the story behind the research and describes how the paper came to be published. I find that these commentaries provide a glimpse into the human side of science. They offer insight into what an author thinks about his own work years after it is completed. I always enjoyed reading them, and wish they were still being written.

Many of these commentaries are related to medical and biological physics. Below I list a dozen that readers of the 4th Edition of Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology might enjoy. Each link will download a pdf of the commentary.

N Bloembergen, EM Purcell, and RV Pound. Relaxation effects in nuclear magnetic resonance absorption. Phys. Rev., 73:679-712, 1948.

EL Hahn. Spin Echoes. Phys. Rev., 80:580-594, 1950.

B Lown, R Amarasingham, and I Neumann. A new method for terminating cardiac arrhythmias. J. Amer. Med. Ass. 182:548-55, 1962.

S Meiboom and D Gill. Modified spin-echo method for measuring nuclear relaxation times. Rev. Sci. Instr., 29:688-91, 1958.

AL Hodgkin and AF Huxley. A quantitative description of membrane current and its application to conduction and excitation in nerve. J. Physiol. London, 117:500-44, 1952.

JH Hubbell. Photon cross sections, attenuation coefficients, and energy absorption coefficients from 10 keV to 100 GeV. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, August 1969. National Standard Reference Data Series Report No. NSRDS-NBS 29. 8Op.

ME Phelps, EJ Hoffman, S-C Huang and DE Kuhl. ECAT: a new computerized tomographic imaging system for positron-emitting radiopharmaceuticals. J. Nuci. Mcd. 19:635-47, 1978.

FJ Bonte, RW Parkey, KD Graham, J Moore and EM Stokely. A new method for radionuclide imaging of myocardial infarcts. Radiology, 110:473-4, 1974.

IR Young, DR Bailes, M Burl, AG Collins, DT Smith, MJ McDonnell, JS Orr, LM Banks, GM Bydder, RH Greenspan and RE Steiner. Initial clinical evaluation of a whole body nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) tomograph. J. Compur. Assist.Tomogr., 6:1-18. 1982.

JH Hubbell. Photon mass attenuation and energy-absorption coefficients from 1 keV to 20 MeV. Int. J. App!. Radiat. Isot., 33:1269-90. 1982.

PA Bottomley and ER Andrew. Magnetic field penetration, phase shift and power dissipation in biological tissue: implications for NMR imaging. Phys. Med. Biol., 23:630-43. 1978.

JW Cooley and JW Tukey. An algorithm for the machine calculation of complex Fourier series. Math. Comput., 19:297-301, 1965.

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