How Air Conditioning Changed the NICU

A wonderful historical piece from the early days of Neonatology!

Books, Health and History

By Johanna Goldberg, Information Services Librarian

We’ve entered the season of hot, humid, frizzy-headed misery outside and freezing temperatures from blasting office air conditioners inside. Which got me to thinking: What impact did air conditioning have on medicine?

Constantin P. Yaglou. From the Harvard School of Public Health 1955 yearbook. Constantin P. Yaglou. From the Harvard School of Public Health 1955 yearbook.

One man did impressive work on this front. Constantin P. Yaglou (1897–1960) was not a physician, but a professor of industrial hygiene at Harvard’s School of Public Health. Born in Constantinople, he came to the United States in 1920 and earned a master’s degree from Cornell. He joined the Research Laboratory of the American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers in 1921, where he spent five years studying the influence of humidity, temperature, and air circulation on working and resting adults. In 1925, he joined the department of industrial hygiene at Harvard.1

His cross-disciplinary collaboration with Harvard Medical School’s…

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