The History of Radiobiology and the Contributions of L. H. Gray

by Sinclair Wynchank

Jan 1, 2009
Support for radiobiology has a long history at the Rockefeller Foundation (RF). One of the precursors of the RF's natural sciences division, which funded scientific research, was the International Education Board (IEB). It supported scientific scholars in many different nations to further world cooperation. The IEB wished to identify, or create and maintain, centres of excellence and to encourage training of young researchers in them. Many countries supplied both the centres and the young researchers. The maintenance of excellence was exemplified in two statements by the IEB's director, Wickliffe Rose. The board's aid would 'help the strong,' and its policies could 'make the peaks higher'. The IEB was a very early supporter of radiobiology and funded research in the 1920s on X-ray derived mutations of Drosophila, effects of ultra violet radiation on tissue development and work by Egor Lorenz in 1926, after he embarked on radiobiology studies. Similarly in 1932, Raymond E. Zirkle was supported for alpha particle radiobiological work and later at Berkeley, University of California, for irradiation work at the then unique and recently completed cyclotron.
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