Skip Navigation

ORAU History - 1974

ORAU’s Cytogenetics Program

Staff in ORAU’s Cytogenetics Program study the effects of radiation and certain chemicals on human chromosomes.

The Institute for Energy Analysis was organized in January 1974 and worked to study and evaluate the various alternatives for meeting the nation’s energy requirements and the implications these alternatives hold for public policy. The brainchild of former Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) director, Alvin Weinberg, the institute was initially funded by the Federal Energy Administration.

Dr. William G. Pollard, ORAU’s executive director since he founded the organization in 1946, retired in 1974. He remained active in Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) activities, however, as a senior staff member with the Institute for Energy Analysis. Dr. Philip L. Johnson assumed the position of executive director.

With funding from the National Cancer Institute, ORAU and ORNL began using carbon-11 as a label for various radiopharmaceutical agents. Unlike its carbon-14 relative, carbon-11 offered the advantage of emitting gamma rays that could be measured outside of the body; therefore, compounds with carbon-11 could be used in medical scanning procedures to visualize various tissues and functional processes.

Plans began in 1974 for the development of a radiation accident treatment center equipped to handle the removal of radioactive materials on or in the body. The need for such a center grew out of the increasing use of nuclear power, which was expected to lead to the construction of many facilities where radiation accidents would be possible.

In 1974, the Special Training Division (now referred to as Radiation Sciences Training) completed participation in a joint curriculum development program with the American Institute of Physics. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the program resulted in educational modules that can be used in physics courses at community, junior, and technical colleges. ORAU developed four modules: the Geiger counter, the cloud chamber, the fluorescent lamp, and the management of nuclear data.

The ORAU clinical cancer research program was terminated in 1974. As a result, ORAU redirected its biomedical research efforts to focus on its capabilities in immunology, biochemistry, radiopharmaceutical development, and radiation biology.