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Bracewell elected to Institute of Medicine

STANFORD -- Ronald N. Bracewell, professor emeritus of electrical engineering, has been elected a foreign associate of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He becomes the first Australian elected to the institute and the only non-American elected this year.

The institute, established in 1970, is concerned with the protection and advancement of the health professions and sciences, and the promotion of research and development pertinent to health.

A radio astronomer, Bracewell created an algorithm for reconstruction of astronomical images that was universally adopted for use in computer-assisted tomography (CAT) scanners.

A 1967 paper he co-authored on "Inversion of Fan Beam Scans in Radio Astronomy" with A.C. Riddle in the Astrophysical Journal is widely cited in the radiology and neurophysiology communities as a contribution of astronomy to cancer research. That article was based on a 1956 paper Bracewell wrote for the Australian Journal of Physics, in which he first published the projection-slice theorem, fundamental to image reconstruction.

Bracewell said that "many contributions to medicine have been made from electronics and electro-magnetic technology, such as the use of lasers for attaching retinas and electron accelerators for cancer treatment."

Bracewell maintains his interest in both medical and radio astronomical imaging. He participated in the founding of the Journal of Computer-Assisted Tomography and has served on scientific advisory boards in medical instrumentation.

Bracewell joined Stanford's electrical engineering faculty in 1955. Among his early research projects was construction of a microwave spectroheliograph - a large, complex radio telescope - that produced daily temperature maps of the sun during an 11-year solar cycle.



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