As one contemplates the rapidly moving frontiers or ever-changing “leading edge” of the discipline of radiology and medical imaging and considers the implications for health care of X-ray computed tomography, real-time ultrasound with pulsed Doppler, digital radiography, and now, nuclear magnetic resonance, one must not forget the foundations upon which these imaging modalities depend. Especially, one must not forget the personalities involved in the establishment of the subdivisions of diagnostic radiology, nuclear medicine, and radiation oncology. Historical perspective permits the younger generation to appreciate better the contribution of those who have preceded them, to cherish the accomplishments of the pioneers and to maintain the traditions of excellence that characterize Vanderbilt Medical School.
In the 1920's, Hans Geissberger joined the Radiology staff of Vanderbilt University Hospital as chief technician after immigrating to the U.S. from Remigen, Switzerland and establishing residency in Nashville, TN. While at Vanderbilt , Hans completed extensive research work concerning the use of cones and filters on the first x-ray unit acquired by the university which was one of the few in the U.S. at the time. He was active in the development of the criteria for operating x-ray equipment. Mr. Geissberger was committed to the education of the operators of x-ray equipment and served as an instructor in Vanderbilt’s training program for 37 years. He was instrumental in the establishment of the American Society of Radiology Technologists (ASRT), officially joining in 1937, and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Mr. Geissberger presented numerous scientific papers at the state and national levels and published articles in the X-Ray Technician journal. He was very active in the Tennessee Society of Radiology Technologists (TSRT) and became it's first president in 1931. "Although he was fluent in German, French, and Italian," recalls Dr. Ben Mayes, "the English language always was somewhat of a mystery to him. Much of the English that he spoke was learned from medical students and consequently was spiced by much profanity, profanity of which he was often unaware! All of us were very fond of him and he was a great technician.” Hans also served as president of the Swiss Society of Nashville in 1930 and 1931.