"...a brilliant and insightful history of the many aspects of radiation protection, illuminated bycareful consideration of documents from the time as well as from major secondary sources. For the reader who is seriously interested in the history of radiation protection, the list of 457 references is, in itself, a treasure trove."
"... an absolutely riveting account."
"...a book that no radiation protection professional with a sense of history should be without."
Mike Thorne Journal of Radiological Protection December 2009
"Something I especially liked about it is the international breadth of its coverage. That, and the fact that there seemed to be something on every page that caused me to pause for a while and mull an issue over in my head."
"...deserves a place in any HP's library."
Paul W Frame Health Physics January 2010
Taming the Rays by Geoff Meggitt
Published through Lulu.com 2008
Taming the Rays is a history of the use of X-
Have a look at the opening pages and some of the chapters. You will need Adobe Acrobat.
Page numbers are absent in these selections and the list of references and the index have been omitted. But you should get some idea of the style and scope. The files will open in a new window.
Comments, corrections, suggestions and enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Century of Radiation
The explosive and sometimes reckless exploitation of Rontgen and Becquerel's discoveries
produced medical technologies that dramatically added to the diagnostic and therapeutic
tools available to physicians. But the consequences for some of the pioneers were
dreadful and it took decades to understand and control them. Later, the exploitation
of discoveries of nuclear physics led, from the 1940s, to nuclear weapons and nuclear
power with overwhelming potential for harm. The genetic damage seen in earlier animal
experiments was the first concern but, as the long-
While our understanding of how radiation damages has evolved so has our knowledge of its sources: we now know that the largest one for most people is the natural world around us. It is an understanding that has been won through undramatic work developing measurement techniques and defining key concepts and quantities. This has also given us an understanding of the effects of radioactivity taken into our bodies and this, in turn, has allowed us to compare quite different sources of radiation: medical procedures, natural radiation, nuclear power.
Measuring and understanding is one thing; control is another. The first successes
were the rather crude recommendations for the control of the exposures of early physicians.
While they reduced the horrendous acute injuries, they could not recognise the more
insidious possibilities of cancer. Their central idea was that there was a threshold
level of dose below which effects were insignificant -
You may be interested in Geoff's paper on the history of criticality safety assessment published in the Journal of Radiological Protection