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JOHN W. COLTMAN

1915–2010

Elected in 1976

“For pioneering advancements in X-ray and low-light level imaging devices,
undersea equipment, and electron tubes.”

BY MAURY FEY
SUBMITTED BY THE HOME SECRETARY

JOHN W. COLTMAN, physicist and retired research executive of Westinghouse Electric Corporation, died February 10, 2010.

John W. Coltman was born in Cleveland on July 15, 1915. His father was an analytical chemist with the National Carbon Company (which became part of Union Carbide). He obtained his B.S. degree in physics from Case School of Applied Science (now Case Western Reserve University) in 1937 and an M.S. in physics and a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from the University of Illinois in 1941. That same year he was married to Charlotte Coltman of Urbana, Illinois, and they moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he joined Westinghouse Research Laboratories.

During World War II, Dr. Coltman did research in microwave tubes for use in radar and jamming enemy radar. Later, he took charge of a group of scientists whose aim was to solve the problem of the extremely dim images then obtainable in medical fluoroscopy. The resulting development of the X-ray image amplifier provided a brightening of 500 times and revolutionized modern clinical fluoroscopy. It made possible the techniques of cine-fluorography, television fluoroscopy, digital angiography, and video X-ray recording. It is used in many surgical procedures and today is still standard



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