NRC unearths important historical artefact

Published by Mara Juneau

Published on May 23, 2017

The Ionizing Radiation Standards group at the NRC today announced the discovery of an important historical artefact. It was a typical scenario: two NRC researchers were going through an old cupboard of equipment and came across a prototype ionization chamber dating from the 1970s. However, it was not the radiation detector that caught their attention, it was the storage container that got them really excited!






Yes indeed, it is a 50-year-old Kleenex box! More specifically, it’s a 50-year-old Kleenex box marking Canada’s centennial:







This, ladies and gentlemen, is a piece of our country’s heritage that maybe even the Canadian Museum of History doesn’t own! It seems appropriate that it was unearthed just in time for Canada’s 150!

Whether the radiation detector is of any use or interest is yet to be determined.
Malcolm McEwen and Alexandra Bourgouin, NRC, Ottawa, Canada

Reminder: Search to Find Canada’s Oldest Piece of Functioning Medical Physics Equipment

The COMP Annual Scientific Meeting is coming to Ottawa July 12-15, home to Canada’s Museum of Science and Technology (also due to re-open in 2017, but only later in the year). We thought it would be fun to try to tie the two things together by running a competition to see what museum pieces are still out there in clinics across Canada.

The rules for this competition are quite simple:

  1. Find your oldest piece of equipment that is transportable (this rules out 50-year old x-ray tubes, 1930s radium sources, and the like).
  2. Test it to verify that it is working.
  3. Send in documentary evidence to prove (1) and (2).
  4. Depending on the number of entries, we may have more than one category, e.g., oldest radiation detector, oldest electrometer, oldest ancillary equipment (barometer, thermometer, etc, but no mercury thank you).
  5. The judges’ decision is perfect and final.
  6. Our ultimate aim is to get the winners pieces shipped to NRC for calibration and then displayed at the COMP 2017 ASM. We’re still working on this step.
  7. NRC staff members are not permitted to enter, due to our tendency to never throw anything away …

Please send your documentary evidence (not your equipment, just yet) to:
Malcolm McEwen, Ionizing Radiation Standards, National Research Council
1200 Montreal Rd, Ottawa, ON, K1A0R6