Personalities that Shaped the Radiological Sciences

Dr. Catalin Frujinoiu
Department of Physics
Idaho State University

Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, Antoine Henri Becquerel, Marie Sklodowska and Pierre Curie launched the last century of physics into a new and exciting domain within which the framework of radiological sciences took shape. Soon after the beneficial and detrimental effects of the radiation were hypothesized, these pioneers were followed by other dedicated scientists willing to serve the good of mankind.  Among them, Louis Harold Gray (1905 – 1965), a pupil of Ernest Rutherford, established the basis of radiobiology. During this time, Rolf Maximilian Sievert (1898 – 1966) initiated one of the first radiation protection laws and founded ICRU and ICRP. By developing the new science of microdosimetry, Harald R. Rossi (1917 – 2000) dominated the biophysical aspects of radiation biology in the last quarter of the 20th century. Martin Berger (1922), the father of Monte Carlo transport methods, evaluated stopping powers that became standard reference data for radiation science. Ugo Fano (1912 – 2001) took Enrico Fermi’s advice to study the biological action of radiation and, after over 50 years of “doing physics” – Fano’s words, he made an outstanding contribution to radiological sciences. Being a faithful servant to this domain, Fano often urged his colleagues to “... make radiation research not only useful for the public but also respectable in the eyes of basic scientists”. Although much was learned from these giants, more was left to be discovered. At ISU, faculty and students, using a unique collection of particle accelerators, are engaged in an interdisciplinary project to investigate unknown aspects of radiobiology. These aspects include: dose rate effects, variation of the radiation quality factor with dose, bystander effect, and bio-responses within milliseconds.