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Smithsonian Uses Siemens CT Scanner to Unlock Secrets of the Past

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History has pioneered the use of CT scanning technology in non-invasive scientific research. Now, with the gift of a Siemens SOMATOM Emotion 6 CT scanner from Siemens Healthcare, Smithsonian researchers are acquiring information about museum objects that is fundamentally changing the way scientists examine specimens.



"For more than a century scientists have pursued the mysteries of the natural world through the study of specimens in Smithsonian collections," said Cristian Samper, director of the National Museum of Natural History. "The presence of the Siemens CT scanner in our anthropology department has revolutionized the way we look at everything from mummies and dinosaur fossils, to the Smithsonian's priceless collection of Stradivarius violins. This donation and its importance to Smithsonian research is significant."

"Siemens Healthcare is proud and honored to have a longstanding relationship with the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History dating back to 1992," said Kulin Hemani, vice president, Computed Tomography, Siemens Healthcare USA.  "The donation of the SOMATOM Emotion 6 CT scanner will enable the Smithsonian to continue to advance its research efforts on the most important artifacts of our history."

The National Museum of Natural History is one of the world's preeminent research institutions in the field of the natural sciences. With more than 126 million specimens in its collections – the largest in the world – the museum is a repository for examples of the diversity of life on earth and humanity's common heritage. Under the leadership of anthropologist Bruno Frohlich, Smithsonian scientists and curators utilize the CT scanner on a daily basis to enrich our understanding of the natural world and our place in it.

Research in the Smithsonian CT laboratory focuses on employing the CT scanner with the objective of understanding and studying objects, secure in the knowledge that they can be used and studied again in the future.  "Most often scientific analytical research is associated with destructive methods," explained Bruno Frohlich. "Normally we have to destroy objects in order to study them. Non-destructive and non-invasive methods, such as CT scanning, not only enable us to study objects with greater attention to detail, but also ensure the preservation of the object and leaving it intact for future generations to study."

"Siemens Healthcare has many long-standing partnerships with world-class research institutions and academia to develop cutting-edge technologies for identifying disease," said Eric Spiegel, President and CEO, Siemens Corp. "Our partnership with the Smithsonian fits this paradigm as it relates to tracing our history and what occurred in the lives of our ancestors.  Equally important to us is that the results of these discoveries are shared through public trusts like the Smithsonian in order to educate and inspire the next generation of researchers and innovators."

While the CT scanner belongs to the National Museum of Natural History and has been used extensively to study the mummy collections, it is also available for use with other Smithsonian collections. "We use CT equipment to study valuable and precious objects such as the musical instruments in Smithsonian collections," Frohlich said. "Happily, after a study is completed, musicians can still play the instrument. This is a remarkable breakthrough for science and museum conservation."

Research findings made possible through the use of the new CT scanner were announced at an Oct. 27 presentation to Washington, D.C. public school elementary students at the National Museum of Natural History's public hands-on Forensic Anthropology Lab. Four high school students from the museum's youth internship program, "Youth Engagement Through Science," visited Dr. Frohlich's lab to observe the CT scanner on the mummy collection. The program included remarks by Cristian Samper, Kulin Hemani, Bruno Frohlich and Eric Spiegel.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History is located at 10th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W. in Washington, D.C. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with extended hours during the summer (until 7:30 p.m.). Admission is free. More information about the exhibition and the museum is available at, on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube or by calling (202) 633-1000, TTY (202) 633-5285.

The SOMATOM Emotion 6 CT scanner from Siemens Healthcare is designed for fast throughput and highly advanced clinical applications, featuring fast image reconstruction time and high power reserves.  Routine thin slice scanning and collimation down to 0.5mm combined with rotation times as short as 600 ms assure visualization of the finest anatomic details and excellent image quality from any viewing perspective.  The Emotion 6 scanner offers the industry's smallest footprint, while providing one of the industry's lowest power and cooling consumptions.

The Siemens Healthcare Sector is one of the world's largest suppliers to the healthcare industry and a trendsetter in medical imaging, laboratory diagnostics, medical information technology and hearing aids. Siemens offers its customers products and solutions for the entire range of patient care from a single source – from prevention and early detection to diagnosis, and on to treatment and aftercare. By optimizing clinical workflows for the most common diseases, Siemens also makes healthcare faster, better and more cost-effective. Siemens Healthcare employs some 48,000 employees worldwide and operates around the world. In fiscal year 2010 (to September 30), the Sector posted revenue of 12.4 billion euros and profit of around 750 million euros. For further information please visit:

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