James A. Shannon buildingOFFICE OF NIH HISTORY
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH

The Office of NIH History at the National Institutes of Health exists to advance historical understanding of biomedical research within the NIH and the world. Through preserving records of significant NIH achievements, innovative exhibits, and educational programs, the Office of NIH History explores the past to enhance present understanding of the health sciences and the National Institutes of Health.

 

NEWS

A New Exhibition Celebrates the Origins of Modern Neurobiology

The NIH will honor Santiago Ramón y Cajal, the father of modern neuroscience, with an exhibit of scientist's original neural cell illustrations, to open on November 6, 2014, in the new Porter Neuroscience Research Center, Building 35 on the NIH Bethesda campus.

The illustrations, from the turn of the 20th century, never have been exhibited in North America and will be on loan from Cajal Institute in Madrid, Spain.

Cajal was the first to describe the nervous system in exquisite detail.  He found that the individual cells (later termed "neurons") typically comprise three distinct structures.  He posited that these cells function as information processing units that employ electrical impulses to communicate within networks.

To reveal these cell structures in his tissue slides, Cajal employed a variety of staining techniques-including silver chromate-pioneered by Camillo Golgi, with whom he shared the 1906 Nobel Prize.

The Porter Center houses more than 800 scientists from 10 NIH institutes in laboratories literally without walls to enhance collaboration among the NIH's diverse community of neuroscientists.  The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the NIH Stetten Museum spearheaded the Cajal exhibit.  There is great hope that the cross-pollination within the Porter facility will encourage shifts in understanding as radical as those introduced by Cajal.

In addition to Cajal's original drawings, floor tiles will reproduce tissue slides, as Cajal saw them through his microscope, and visitors will be greeted by an almost life-size photomural that captures Cajal as the artist-scientist in his studio/lab.

 

This month the Office of NIH History and Stetten Museum have picked their favorite photographs to highlight. These images depict daily life and historic moments at the National Institutes of Health. The image below was taken by NIH photographer Jerry Hecht documenting an all-day science demonstration conference at NIH on October 17, 1959. Follow us on Facebook and Tumblr.

Science teachers visit NIH
Photograph byJerry Hecht


ARCHIVES


Oral histories are added on a regular basis.

Arnold G. Kaluzny
Interview date: December 2, 2008

Walter Nelson-Rees
Interview date: December 4, 1994

The Office of NIH History holds photograph collections cataloged and uncataloged. Many can be found in Search Our Collections. To request images for use in publications or presentations contact the Office of History.

 

RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS
Recent publications by former fellows, based partly on their work as Stetten Fellows

David Cantor
, Stress, Shock, and Adaptation in the Twentieth Century. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2014.

Johanna Crane,
 Scrambling for Africa: AIDS, Expertise, and the Rise of American Global Health Science. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013.

Eric Boyle, Quack Medicine: A History of Combating Health Fraud in Twentieth-Century America. Praeger, 2013. A former Stetten Fellow, his first book was recently awarded Best Print Publication from the Archivists and Librarians in the History of the Health Sciences. Read about it at The National Museum of Health and Medicine news and events page.

 

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Office of History and Stetten Museum | Bldg 60 | Suite 230 | National Institutes of Health | Bethesda, MD 20814-1460
Phone: 301.496.6610 | Email: history@nih.gov

Last updated: 14 October 2014
First published: 2 February 2005
Permanence level:
Permanent: Dynamic Content