BERKELEY, Calif., Nov. 14 -- A memorial service will be held Saturday for Hal O. Anger, a pioneer of nuclear medicine widely credited with inventing the gamma camera, who died at at home in Berkeley on Oct. 31. He was 85.
Hal Anger is shown with one of his inventions, the positron scintillation camera, in the 1950s.
According to the Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM), which published an obituary of Anger on its Web site, Anger is a "quiet genius" who shaped the future of nuclear medicine. Anger’s contributions include instruments that allow physicians to see inside a living body in a way that is fundamentally different from x-ray technology.
His gamma camera, also known as a scintillation or Anger camera, was developed in the 1950s. Through the use of gamma radiation, it produces an image of the metabolic processes that take place within organs and cells, capturing the active processes of diseases such as cancer rather than just showing the anatomical changes that accompany a disease. According to the SNM, Anger’s hands-on approach to science also led to his invention of the well counter, used daily in nuclear medical labs around the world; the first whole-body scanner, the first positron camera and the multiplane tomographic scanner, inventions which are used today to diagnose cancer, metabolic disorders and heart disease.
Anger graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1943 with a degree in electrical engineering, and worked during World War II developing technology to jam enemy radar. After the war, Anger returned to Berkeley to work at the Ernest O. Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, where researchers were exploring the medical and therapeutic uses of radiation. He retired from the lab in 1982, after a career in which he received 15 patents, wrote numerous journal articles and book chapters and won many awards.
A memorial gathering for family, friends and colleagues is planned for Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Hotel Durant in Berkeley. For more information about Anger's inventions and career, visit: www.snm.org