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 (1948) “Relaxation Effects in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Absorption,” Physical Review, Volume 73, Pages 679–712.

EL Hahn (1950 “Spin Echoes,” Physical Review, Volume 80, Pages 580594.

B Lown, R Amarasingham, and I Neumann (1962) “A New Method for Terminating Cardiac Arrhythmias,” Journal of the American Medical Association, Volume 182, Pages 548555.
S Meiboom and D Gill (1958) “Modified Spin-Echo Method for Measuring Nuclear Relaxation Times,” Review of Scientific Instruments, Volume 29, Pages 688691.

AL Hodgkin and AF Huxley (1952) “A Quantitative Description of Membrane Current and its Application to Conduction and Excitation in Nerve,” Journal of Physiology, Volume 117, Pages 500544.

JH Hubbell (1969) 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 (1978) ECAT: A New Computerized Tomographic Imaging System for Positron-Emitting Radiopharmaceuticals,” Journal of Nuclear Medicine, Volume 19, Pages 635647.

FJ Bonte, RW Parkey, KD Graham, J Moore and EM Stokely (1974) A New Method for Radionuclide Imaging of Myocardial Infarcts,” Radiology, Volume 110, Pages 473 474.

IR Young, DR Bailes, M Burl, AG Collins, DT Smith, MJ McDonnell, JS Orr, LM Banks, GM Bydder, RH Greenspan and RE Steiner (1982) Initial Clinical Evaluation of a Whole Body Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Tomograph,” Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography, Volume 6, Pages 118.

JH Hubbell (1982) Photon Mass Attenuation and Energy-Absorption Coefficients from 1 keV to 20 MeV,” Internatonal Journal of Applied Radiation and Isotopes, Volume 33, Pages 12691290.

PA Bottomley and ER Andrew (1978) Magnetic Field Penetration, Phase Shift and Power Dissipation in Biological Tissue: Implications for NMR Imaging,” Physics in Medicine and Biology, Volume 23, Pages 630643.

JW Cooley and JW Tukey (1965) An Algorithm for the Machine Calculation of Complex Fourier Series,” Mathematics of Computation, Volume 19, Pages 297301.

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