Edith Quimby

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Edith Smaw Hinckley Quimby
Edith Quimby.jpg
Born (1891-07-10)July 10, 1891
Rockford, Illinois
Died October 11, 1982(1982-10-11) (aged 91)
New York City
Fields Physics, medical research
Spouse Shirley Leon Quimby

Edith Hinkley Quimby (July 10, 1891 – October 11, 1982) was an American medical researcher and physicist, best known as one of the founders of nuclear medicine.

Life and education[edit]

She was born one of three children on July 10, 1891 in Rockford, Illinois, to Arthur S. Hinkley, a farmer and architect, and Harriet Hinkley. In 1912, she graduated from Whitman College in Washington with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics. After a brief stint teaching high school, she was awarded a 1914 fellowship for her master's degree studies at the University of California. While studying for her master's, which she earned in 1916, she married Shirley Leon Quimby, in 1915. She died, 91 years old, on October 11, 1982.[1]

Career and legacy[edit]

In 1919, she and her husband moved to New York City, where she took a job at the Memorial Hospital for Cancer and Allied Diseases as assistant physicist to Gioacchino Failla; she became an associate physicist there in 1932. Her research at Memorial Hospital delved into safe doses of medicinal radiation, observing the energy emitted by potential materials for nuclear medicine as well as the amount of radiation absorbed by the body from different sources. She also studied the potential of synthesized radioactive materials for treating cancer and in other medical research applications. In 1941 she joined the faculty of Cornell University Medical College as an assistant professor of radiology. The next year, she became an associate professor of radiation physics at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. She was promoted to full professor in 1954 and retired in 1960.[1]

Quimby received many awards for her work throughout her career and participated in several scientific societies. In 1940, the American Radium Society gave her the Janeway Medal. The following year, she was awarded the Gold Medal of the Radiological Society of North America. She was elected president of the American Radium Society in 1954. In 1963, the American College of Radiology honored her with its Gold Medal. She was one of the first members of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine.[1]


  • Glasser, O.; Quimby, E. H.; Taylor, L. S.; Weatherwax, J. L. (1944), Physical Foundations of Radiology, New York: Hoeber 


  1. ^ a b c Yount 1999, pp. 177-178.
  • Oakes, Elizabeth H. (2002), International Encyclopedia of Women Scientist, Facts On File, Inc., ISBN 0-8160-4381-7 
  • Ogilvie, Marilyn; Harvey, Joy (2000), "Johanna Gabrielle Ottelie Edinger (Tilly)", The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science, ISBN 0-415-92038-8 
  • Suer, Sharon F. (1999), Proffitt, Pamela, ed., "Tilly Edinger", Notable Women Scientists, Gale Group Inc., ISBN 0-7876-3900-1 
  • Yount, Lisa (1999), A Biographical Dictionary A to Z of Women in Science and Math, Facts on File Inc., ISBN 0-8160-3797-3 
  • "Edith Hinkley Quimby 1891-1982". Contributions of 20th Century Women to Physics. UCLA. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  • Howes, R. H.; Herzenberg, C. L. (2015), "7 Other women physicists", After the War: Women in Physics in the United States, San Rafael, CA, USA: Morgan & Claypool, doi:10.1088/978-1-6817-4094-2ch7 
  • "Edith Quimby dies; Radiation expert", The New York Times, October 13, 1982 
  • McDonald, Shirley B. (1996). "Edith Smaw Hinckley Quimby". In Shearer, Benjamin F.; Shearer, Barbara S. Notable Women in the Life Sciences: A Biograhical Dictionary. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 335–339. ISBN 0313293023.