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Why Apollo?

The name celebrates MGH history as a nod to the Apollo Belvedere Statue in the Ether Dome.

Apollo is known as the god of medicine and healing, as well as knowledge, truth, sun and light.

The original Hippocratic Oath translated into English begins with: “I swear by Apollo, Asclepius…”

The name was selected out of more than 250 submissions to our newly-redesigned intranet naming contest. Thank you and congratulations to Lisa Ankers, senior lab and data manager in the Thadhani Lab of Clinical Research in Nephrology, who submitted this suggestion.



Historical information:

The Egyptian Mummy Padihershef may be the Ether Dome’s most famous resident, but he has a lesser-known roommate who also was an early gift to the hospital. The plaster statue of Apollo in the Ether Dome was given to the MGH by statesman and orator Edward Everett in the 1840s. It is a copy of the original Apollo Belvedere, a sculpture unearthed in Rome during the Renaissance.

Napoleon looted Rome in the early 19th century and took the Apollo Belvedere from the Vatican to the Louvre in Paris. The Louvre made and sold plaster casts of the statue, one of which Everett bought and shipped back to Boston. The English sea captain and novelist Frederick Marryat, visiting America a few years before the donation, described a visit to Everett’s home, where the statue was draped to cover its nearnakedness. Marryat decried the covering as an example of the prudishness of otherwise educated and open-minded Americans.


intranet; contest

What’s in a name

“When I think of the history of the MGH, I think of the Ether Dome. I love this room – it is filled with history in so many ways.”

And so it was the Ether Dome – and one of its residents in particular – that became the inspiration for Lisa Ankers, senior lab manager of the Thadhani Lab of Clinical Research in Nephrology, in coming up with the winning name for the MGH’s new intranet. “Ether was too obvious,” she says, “but then I thought of the Apollo statue and it just came to me.”

intranet; contest

Apollo – the god of medicine and healing, and also of knowledge truth, sun and light – is the name and face of the MGH’s new intranet. Though many know about Padihershef, the Egyptian mummy, there also resides in the Ether Dome a statue of Apollo Belvedere, given to the MGH in 1845 by statesman Edward Everett. The plaster statue is a copy of the original Apollo Belvedere, unearthed in Rome during the Renaissance, which Napoleon took back to the Louvre in Paris. The Louvre made and sold plaster casts of the statue, including this one that Everett bought and shipped back to Boston.

“When I saw the information asking staff to submit their ideas as part of an intranet naming contest, I knew the name would have to be a tie to the history of the hospital,” says Ankers. “It was the only name I came up with. When I thought of it, that was it. There are so many meanings associated with Apollo that relate to the hospital – I knew I wouldn’t think of anything better.”

Another Apollo tie? The original Hippocratic Oath, when translated into English, begins, I swear by Apollo the Healer, by Asclepius, by Hygieia, by Panacea, and by all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will carry out, according to my ability and judgment, this oath and this indenture.”

As a prize for Ankers’ name being chosen, she received a signed Julian Edelman football, which she immediately cleared a spot for in her home upon learning she won the contest. “I immediately called my husband, I could not believe it! I was completely surprised and it was such an honor. I already have a spot for it right on the mantel.”

intranet; contest; elizabeth ankers