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Lauriston S. Taylor Lecture on Radiation Protection and Measurements

Boice, John D. Jr*

doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000010
Lauriston S. Taylor Lecture

*National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 400, Bethesda, MD 20814-3095.

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

For correspondence contact the author at the above address, or email at

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(Manuscript accepted 16 August 2013)

IT IS my pleasure to welcome you to the Thirty-Seventh Lauriston S. Taylor Lecture on Radiation Protection and Measurements.

This Lecture honors Lauriston S. Taylor, who served as the first President of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) from the time of its Congressional charter in 1964 until his retirement in 1977. Prior to 1964, Dr. Taylor was the founder and Chairman of the NCRP’s predecessor national committees beginning in 1929. It is appropriate to honor his many achievements with this annual lecture in his name.

I met Laurie in 1972 at the Health Physics Society’s Seventh Midyear Topical Symposium on Health Physics in the Healing Arts held in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I was making my second presentation ever to a professional society, and I’ll never forget that he spoke with me afterward and how gracious (and encouraging) he was. The presentation was published the next year (Boice and Burnett 1973), and Laurie was responsible for it being discussed in NCRP Report No. 54 on Medical Radiation Exposure of Pregnant and Potentially Pregnant Women (NCRP 1977). For a young scientist with “zero” publications in scientific journals, Laurie provided a tremendous boost to my psyche that has never been forgotten. So for all you “senior statesmen” out there, I encourage you to inspire the next generation coming up. The impact could have unexpected consequences; i.e., 40 y after Laurie and I met, I became President of the organization he founded! Of course some of you may be thinking that not all consequences are beneficial—so time will tell.

The Taylor Lecture is given annually by distinguished scientists selected by the NCRP Board of Directors. They discuss topics of importance to radiation protection or radiation measurements. The lectures are sponsored by NCRP, they are held on the occasion of the annual meeting, and are published along with the proceedings of the annual meeting. A reception is held after the presentation and is made possible by the generous support of Landauer, Inc.

The Thirty-Seventh Lauriston Sale Taylor Lecturer is my long-time personal friend, John E. Till, who chose to speak on When Does Risk Assessment Get Fuzzy? John’s family and many friends are in attendance from all over the United States (even Montana and North Dakota!). Dr. Till is being introduced by his distinguished colleague and friend, Ward Whicker. Ward is Professor Emeritus at Colorado State University, where he taught graduate level courses in radioecology and radionuclide transport modeling for over 40 y. He is regarded as one of the founders of radioecology, the field addressing the fate and effects of radioactivity in the environment. His service to NCRP includes Council Member, Scientific Vice President, Board of Directors, and Distinguished Emeritus Member. Ward has received the Health Physics Society Award for Significant Scientific Contributions and the U.S. Department of Energy’s E.O. Lawrence Award (an honor bestowed on Richard Feynman and Murry Gell Mann, among others). In “retirement,” he guides mountain trips for the Colorado Mountain Club!

Introduction of the Taylor Lecture. (Video 1:36,

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Boice JD Jr, Burnett BM. Considerations of possible pregnancy in the use of diagnostic x-rays. In: Health physics in the healing arts. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; DHEW Publ (FDA) 73-8029; 1973: 596–604.
National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements. Medical radiation exposure of pregnant and potentially pregnant women. Bethesda, MD: NCRP; Report No. 54; 1977.
© 2014 by the Health Physics Society