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The International Congress of Radiology (ICR) is a meeting of radiologists for the exchange of ideas and the harmonisation of international standards and practice, first held in 1925 in London and held at regular intervals since then. Since 1994 it has become a biennial event. Until 1953 each congress was organised by radiological society of the host country, but in that year, a formal organisation, the International SOciuety for Rodiology was set up to provide continuity between the congresses.

At the second congress, held in 1928 in Stockholm, three international commissions were set up - the International Commission for Radiological Protection (ICRP), the International Commission for Radiological Units (ICRU) and the International Commission for Radiological Education (ICRE). The latter two have become fully functional organisations in their own right while the latter has remained a sub-committee of the ICR.

Within years of Röntgen discovering X-Rays in 1896, they were being used for imaging fractured bones. Various societies sprung up in different countries where ideas were exchanged between like-minded people and national standards for the measurement of X-Ray intensity developed. These societies also tried to address the problems associated with the dangers of X-Rays, particularly cancer.

By the end of the First World War a number of proposals on how to measure the intensity of X-Rays had been made, but there was little agreement between the various parties concerend.[1] In 1925 the British Institute of Radiology, under the leadership of Thurstan Holland[2][3] invited delegates from a number of countries to attend the First International Congress on Radiation in London. This congress set up a framework for future meetings - future congresses would meet every three years in a different country, would be organised by the host country. The host country would nominate the chairman of the congress. It was also established that three commissions should be set up which would meet at the congresses:

• The International Commission of Radiation Units & Measures (ICRU)
• The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP)
• The International Commission on Radiological Education (ICRE)

Until the outbreak of the Second World War, congresses were held every three years. The 1940 congress was due to meet in Berlin in 1940, but was suspended due to the war. Apart from some copies of records kept by the 1973 Congress secretary-general, Benjamin Orndoff, the records of the congresss, which had been handed to the German organisers in preparation for the next congress in Germany, were lost during the Second World War.[4]

The second congress was held in Stockholm under the chairmanship of Manne Siegbahn where the three commissions proposed in London met for the first time. Subsequent meetings were held in Paris (1931), Zurich (1934) and Chicago (1937).

After the war, the British Institute of Radiology organised the sixth Congress which was held in London, exactly 25 years after the first congress and in the same hall as the first congress. A total of 3364 people from 54 countries including 1,742 radiologists registered for the congress.[5] The incumbent chairman of the ICR, Arthur C. Christie, who had been nominated thirteen years previously was unable to attend the London conference, so Orndoff, the secretary-general of that congress deputised handing the presidency to Ralston Paterson. The congress also saw a resumption of the work of the three international commissions.

At the seventh congress, held in Copenhagen in 1953, the organisational details of the conference were overhauled and an executive committee under the chairmanship of Lauriston S Taylor was set up to ovesee the organisation of future congresses and to provide continuity between congresses.

Before the Second world war, the location of the congresses was dictated largely by the places of residence of the delegates who had to travel by rail or sea - a delegate from the westermn seaboard of the United States would have to commit a month to attend a week-long ICR congress in Europe. The advent of air travel removed this restriction and subsequent congresses have since been held in many parts of the world. The following congresses have been held to date (or are scheduled):[4][6]

The 1950 congress provided an occasion for workers in the radiology industry to meet for the first time in over a decade and to discuss the direction future congresses should take. At the 1953 congress, under the guidance of Flemming Norgaard in Copenhagen the International Society of Radiology was set up to oversee the organisation of the International Congresses of Radiology rather than the ad hoc arrangement whereby the organisation of the next congress was left entirely in the hands of the host country. A permanent committee would also provide continuity between congresses. Norgard became the first secretary-general of the Society, but as a gesture to the host country, the first president of the ISR was the chairman of the organising committee of the Copenhagen ICR.[7]

After World War II, the congresses resumed where they began, in London in 1950. By now, a very few delegates braved international air travel which was beginning to replace more leisurely trains and ships. The program featured presentations of advances drawn from scientific discoveries born in wartime needs. Much was said about new megavoltage sources of x-rays and other radiation forms for cancer treatment. The cornucopia of artificial isotopes from cyclotrons and reactors promised new dimensions in organ imaging and targeted radiation treatment. After a wartime hiatus, the international commissions resumed their activities agreeing to meet in 1953.

By 1953, when the congress met in Copenhagen, there was general agreement that the ad hoc arrangement by which national sponsors passed along the burden of meetings was not satisfactory. With the leadership of Flemming Norgaard, the International Society of Radiology came into being. Bylaws were drawn up, working committees in education and meeting planning were organized, national society dues were set. Dr. Norgaard agreed to serve as the society's first secretary-general. The radiologist from the sponsoring society who had been president of a congress was, by that token, president of the ISR until the next meeting. A small executive committee was created. The president of the organizing group for the next congress was then president-elect of the international society and would become president when his congress occurred.

ISR - registered in Illinois

The International Congress of Radiology is a bi-annual convention of radiologists. [1] - Intro to early days by US agency

web page for virtual congress [2]

International Commission of Radiation Units & Measures

The International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements (ICRU) is a standardization body set up in 1925 by the International Congress of Radiology, originally as the X-Ray Unit Commmittee until 1950. Its objective "is to develop concepts, definitions and recommendations for the use of quantities and their units for ionizing radiation and its interaction with matter, in particular with respect to the biological effects induced by radiation".[8] During the first two decades of its existance, its formal meetings were held during the International Congress of Radiology, but from 1950 onwards, when its mandate was extended, it has met annually.

A hand-held gieger counter used for detecting radioactivity.

Until 1953, the president of the ICRU was a national of the country that was hosting the ICR, but in that yeat it was decided to elect a permanent commission - the first permanent chairman being Laurent Taylor who had been a member of the commission since 1928 and secretary since 1934. Taylor served until 1969 and on his retirement was accorded the position of honorary chairman which we held until his death in 2004, aged 102.[9]

The commission has a maximum fifteen members who serve for four years and who, since 1950, have been nominated by the incumbent commissioners. Members are selected for their scientific ability and is widely regarded as the foremost panel of experts in radiation medicine and in the other fields of ICRU endeavor. The commission is funded by the sale of reports, by grants from the European Commission, the US National Cancer Institute and the International Atomic Energy Agency and indirectly by organisations and companies who provide meeting venues. Commissioners, many of whom have full time university or research centre appointments, have their expenses reimbursed, but otherwise they receive no remuneration from the ICRU.

In the late 1950's the ICRU was invited by the CGPM to join other scientific bodies to work with the International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM) in the development of a system of units that could be used consistently over many disciplines. This body, initially known as the "Commission for the System of Units" (renamed in 1964 as the "Consultative Committee for Units") was responsible overseeing the development of the International System of Units (SI).[10]

In the late 1950's the ICRU started publishing reports on an irregular basis - on average two to three a year. In 2001 the publication cycle was regularised and reports are now published bi-annually under the banner "Journal of the ICRU".[11][12]

The commission has been responsible for defining and introducing the following units of measure on behalf of the industry. The number of different units for various quantities is indicative of changes of thinking in world metrology, especially the movement from cgs to SI units.[13]

Quantity Name Symbol Unit Year
Exposure (X) röntgen R esu / 0.001293 g of air 1928
Absorbed dose (D) erg•g-1 1950
gray Gy J•kg-1 1974
Activity (A) curie c 3.7 × 1010 s-1 1953
bequerrel Bq s-1 1974
Dose equivalent (H) röntgen equivalent man rem 100 erg•g-1 1971
sievert Sv J•kg-1 1977
Fluence (Φ) (reciprocal area) cm-2 or m-2 1962

The Commission's secretariat is in Stockholm and its legal status is that of of British charity (Not-for-profit organisation).

The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) is an advisory body providing recommendations and guidance on radiation protection; It was founded in 1928 at the second International Congress of Radiology (ICR) and was then called the International X-ray and Radium Protection Committee (IXRPC).[14]

Also established 1928 (http://www.who.int/ionizing_radiation/about/GI_TM_Report_2008_Dec.pdf) This reference has a good overview of structures - pg 29/30

Then it was restructured to better take account of uses of radiation outside the medical area, and given its present name, in 1950. ICRP is a not-for-profit organisation in the United Kingdom and currently has its scientific secretariat in Ottawa, Canada.

The ICRP defined the reference man in 1974.

[15]

Budget $375,000 Scientific secretariat located at Swedish Radiation Protection Authority The Swedish Radiation Protection Authority and the Radiation Protection Division of the UK Health Protection Agency (formerly the National Radiological Protection Board) both provide fully serviced offices, free of charge, for the Commission. In addition, the Swedish Radiation Protection Authority provides the services of 50% of a full-time secretarial assistant, and support to cover office expenses and incidentals. The value of the latter donated services is estimated to be in the range of US$ 12,500 per annum, although it is difficult to quantify a precise amount.

Membership of the Commission or one of its Committees is highly coveted and regarded widely as a great honour for the members as well as for their organisations/employers (which support ICRP by making the members’ time available without charge, often also contribute to their costs of attending meetings, and in many cases provide substantial additional resources without charge to the Commission). Thus, the problem is not to find candidates but to select the right ones. In addition to the obvious primary requirement,internationally acknowledged top level expertise, the Commission is working actively to ensure ethnic and gender diversity.