Laurison S. Taylor

By the time Lauriston Taylor was 26 years of age, he was Chief of the X-ray group at the National Bureau of Standards and had served as one of three representatives of the United States at the Second International Congress of Radiology in 1928. At the Congress, Taylor and G. Kaye of Great Britain were the driving forces behind the creation of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), the world's most influential organization in the field of radiation protection. From 1937 to 1950, Taylor served as Secretary of the ICRP and, from 1934 to 1950, Secretary of almost as influential an organization, the International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements (ICRU). In 1953 Taylor became Chairman of the ICRU, a position which he held until 1969. A year after the Second Congress of Radiology, Taylor established and became the first president of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP), the counterpart in the U.S. to the ICRP and the scientific body from which this nation's regulatory agencies seek guidance regarding radiological protection. At the National Bureau of Standards, Taylor's activities focussed on the measurement of X rays. In fact, he is credited with building the world's first portable radiation survey meter (ca. 1929). He also built the Bureau's first free-air ion chamber, the primary device for measuring the intensity of X rays and the first such chamber to employ guard wires. The use of guard wires was a tremendous improvement because it created a more uniform electric field and greatly reduced the size and weight of these chambers. In the mid 1930's, Taylor constructed the first pressurized ion chamber in the United States which, for a time, was the only operating free-air ion chamber anywhere. When technical contributions such as these are considered together with his many other achievements, it becomes apparent that no one has played a greater role in shaping the profession of radiation protection than Lauriston Taylor.

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