Herbert Parker

Herbert M. Parker began his remarkable career in 1932 by developing, along with James R. Paterson, what ultimately became known as the Manchester System for radium therapy. Their techniques enabled physicians to arrange radium needles or tubes in configurations that would maximize the radiation dose to a tumor while minimizing that to healthy tissue. Other techniques had been developed but the Parker and Paterson system was the most comprehensive and widely used, and is considered a milestone in the field of radiology. In 1938, Parker left England for the Swedish Hospital in Seattle where he conducted research in supervoltage therapy. At the start of WW II, he joined the "Metallurgical Laboratory" at the University of Chicago and became one of the first group of radiation protection specialists to adopt the title "health physicist". Soon afterwards, Parker left Chicago for Oak Ridge where he established the health physics program at what eventually became Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In 1944 he returned to the state of Washington and established the health physics program at the Hanford Engineer Works, a program that he directed until 1956 when he became overall manager for the Hanford Laboratories. Among his many other accomplishments, he was instrumental in the development of the roentgen equivalent physical ("rep") sometimes called the roentgen equivalent parker, and roentgen equivalent biological ("reb") units, predecessors to the rad and rem. He also established the first maximum permissible concentration for a radionuclide in air: 3.1 x 10-11 uCi/cm3 for Plutonium-239.

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The Health Physics Society
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