Benjamin "Benny" Felson (1913-1988) was a renowned Cincinnati chest radiologist who coined or popularized several of the most commonly-used terms in the everyday parlance of the English-speaking radiology community.
Benjamin Felson was born in Newport, Kentucky on 21st October 1913 but soon after his family moved to Cincinnati where he attended school and the University of Cincinnati, earning his MD in 1935. He then went on to work at the Cincinnati General Hospital first as an intern and then as a radiology resident (at the time a three year course), followed by a one year fellowship in cancer therapy at the Indianapolis City Hospital 1. His brother, Henry Felson (1907-1998), was also a radiologist in Cincinnati.
He married Virginia Raphaelson in 1937 and had five children, Steve, Nancy, Mark, Richie and Eddie 6.
He joined the army in 1942 and from 1943-1945 he was Chief of Radiology of the 28th General Hospital in Europe. He reached the rank of major 6.
Terms and signs coined and popularized include:
- Aunt Minnie (popularized the term)
- cervicothoracic sign
- congenital pulmonary venolobar syndrome
- extrapleural sign
- hilum convergence sign
- hilum overlay sign
- silhouette sign (popularized the sign)
- thoraco-abdominal sign
Returning home, after World War II, he started at the Cincinnati General Hospital in 1945 as an assistant professor, becoming Professor and Director of the radiology department in 1951, a position he held until 1973, after which time, he remained a Professor of radiology. He became Professor Emeritus in 1983, until his death from a myocardial infarction on October 22nd 1988 1,4.
He was always renowned for his excellent teaching and his superlative interpretive skills at the light box.
He was the author of five books, over 150 papers and founded the journal Seminars in Roentgenology. His lectures and writings were notable for their humor and his literary pursuits resulted in the publication of a collection of essays on Humor in Medicine.
"He was certainly the greatest radiologist of his time, and perhaps of all time. He was one of the great men of the century...More than anyone else, he enhanced the reputation and knowledge of the fledgling specialty of Radiology through his inquisitiveness and his gift for communication with the written and spoken word ", Maurice Reeder 5.
Benjamin Felson retains significant name recognition amongst the global radiology community despite his death 30 years ago, reasons include:
- perpetual popularity of signs such as Aunt Minnie and the silhouette sign, which he popularized, but did not coin
- he wrote Fundamentals of Chest Roentgenology, later renamed Chest Roentgenology, a classic text, which remains in print today (2018)
- Reeder and Felson's Gamuts in Radiology, first published in 1975, was an instant classic
- founding editor of the Seminars in Roentgenology
- co-founder of the Fleischner Society in 1969
- Benjamin Felson Chair in Radiology, established in 1987 by his alma mater, the University of Cincinnati 4
- 1. Jacobson HG. In memoriam Benjamin Felson, 1913-1988. Radiology. 1989;170 (3 Pt 1): 897-8. Pubmed citation
- 2. Felson B. Humour in medicine and other topics. Find it at Amazon.com
- 3. George PP, Irodi A, Nidugala Keshava S et-al. 'Felson Signs' revisited. J Med Imaging Radiat Oncol. 2014;58 (1): 64-74. doi:10.1111/1754-9485.12031 - Pubmed citation
- 4. Steiner RE. Obituary BEN FELSON. Clinical Radiology (1989), 411, 329.
- 5. Maurice M. Reeder. Reeder and Felson’s Gamuts in Radiology. (2003) ISBN: 9780387955889
- 6. Anon. Memorial to Dr Benjamin Felson. Semin Roentgenol. 1989;24:1-1.
- 7. Felson B. Principles of Chest Roentgenology.
Related Radiopaedia articles
History of radiology
- key milestones
- 1895: Wilhelm Roentgen detects x-rays
- 1896: Antoine Henri Becquerel discovers radioactivity
- 1896: Sydney Rowland founds the first radiology journal, Archives of Clinical Skiagraphy
- 1896: Thomas Edison invents the first commercially-available fluoroscope
- 1898: Marie Curie publishes her paper 'Rays emitted by uranium and thorium compounds'
- 1913: Albert Salomon commences research leading to mammography
- 1927: Egas Moniz develops cerebral angiography
- 1934: Frederic and Irene Joliot-Curie artificially produce radioisotopes
- 1936: John Lawrence uses phosphorus-32 to treat leukemia
- 1939: Kitty Clark publishes Clark’s Positioning in Radiography
- 1950s: David Kuhl invents Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
- 1953: Sven-Ivar Seldinger develops his famous technique
- 1957: Ian Donald invents fetal ultrasound
- 1964: Charles Dotter introduces image-guided intervention
- 1965: Benjamin Felson publishes his Principles of Chest Roentgenology
- 1972: Godfrey Hounsfield introduces the CT scanner (co-developed with Allan Cormack)
- 1977: Ray Damadian builds the first commercial MRI scanner
- 2005: Frank Gaillard creates Radiopaedia.org :)
- 2012: inaugural International Day of Radiology
key figures in the history of radiology
- Antoine Henri Becquerel
- Kathleen "Kitty" Clark
- Allan M Cormack
- Marie Curie
- Ray V Damadian
- Ian Donald
- Charles T Dotter
- Thomas A Edison
- Charles Thurstan Holland
- Godfrey N Hounsfield
- Frederick Joliot
- Irene Joliot-Curie
- David E Kuhl
- Paul C Lauterbur
- Peter Mansfield
- Egas Moniz
- Wilhelm C Roentgen
- Sven-Ivar Seldinger
- Albert Soiland
- Florence Stoney
- important figures in the history of radiology
- Nobel Prize winners in radiology
- history of modalities
- plain radiography
- nuclear medicine
- interventional radiology
- history of radiology journals
- history of radiology organizations
- United Kingdom
- United States
- pioneering radiology books