The world faces a growing deficiency in the number of medical scientists who are well informed about the delayed effects of ionizing radiation. This deficiency is growing because the physicians who entered the field in the early 1950s are now reaching retirement age. No one is following them because career opportunities in human radiation biology have become less appealing than those in other fields. The excitement about research in radiation biology has diminished over the years since the dropping of the atomic bombs that ended World War II.

Yet the world continues to need such scientists. Studies following the Chernobyl accident illustrate how an oversight may occur from incomplete knowledge of the literature. In their study of intrauterine effects, the Soviets concentrated on severe mental retardation, which had been the focus in the recent medical literature. I was a member of a U.S. delegation on nuclear safety that visited the...

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