Skip Navigation

ORAU's Beck and Kerr recognized by Health Physics Society for exceptional service and scientific achievement

April 30, 2014

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—ORAU employee Jack Beck has recently been named as the 2014 recipient of the Founders Award, an honor bestowed by the Health Physics Society each year to one of its members for exceptional service to the HPS and recent contributions to the Society. Retired ORAU employee Dr. George Kerr will receive the Robley D. Evans Medal, which recognizes extraordinary excellence in scientific achievement, interdisciplinary capabilities, applicability of science to real-world needs of radiation safety, and insight into simple solutions for difficult problems. Beck and Kerr will receive their awards during the Annual Meeting of the HPS in Baltimore, Md., on July 13.

An active member of the HPS for more than 45 years, Jack Beck has held many leadership roles in the professional organization and, from 1987-1990, he served on the HPS Board of Directors. Beck has been an active member of the East Tennessee Chapter of HPS and has held the positions of secretary, president-elect and president. Beck received the East Tennessee Chapter’s Distinguished Service Award in 1990 and was recognized as a fellow to the HPS in 1998.

Beck began his career in health physics in 1964 as a radiation dosimetrist for ORAU. Beck served in various health physics-related roles at ORAU from 1965-1982, including training coordinator and section leader for both emergency response and radiation epidemiology. From 1982-1991, Beck served as a radiation safety manager for the Formally Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program project, a United States Army Corps of Engineers project to manage and cleanup environmental contamination that resulted from early United States Atomic Energy Commission activities.

Beck returned to ORAU in 1991, where he served as the director for the Radiological Safety, Assessment, and Training Program. After retiring from ORAU, Beck returned to serve as a senior health physicist on the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Dose Reconstruction Project.

Beck holds an M.S. in health physics from the University of Tennessee and a B.S. in engineering-physics from the University of Chattanooga.

The author of more than 150 book chapters, technical reports and open literature publications in technical journals, George Kerr has been an active member of the HPS for 50 years. He started his career in 1964 at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the Applied Health Physics Group. Beginning in 1973, Kerr served as a U.S. consultant to the Atomic Bomb Causality Commission in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, where his team was tasked with the reconstruction of the radiation doses to atomic bomb survivors.

In the 1990s Kerr was appointed by the U.S. Department of Energy to act as coordinator of a five-year study to address the discrepancy between measured and calculated values from neutron activation at Hiroshima. The study involved more than 80 scientists and experts from the United States, Japan and Europe. Kerr received a Special Achievement Award from DOE in 2006 in recognition of his service as coordinator of the United States Working Group on the Reassessment of A-bomb Dosimetry.

Kerr began his career with ORAU in 2008, reconstructing the radiation doses of Cold War workers who filed medical claims related to their exposure. Now retired, Kerr is actively involved in the HPS and the planning of its annual meetings.

He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee in nuclear physics, an M.S. in physics from North Carolina State University and a B.S. in mathematics and physics from Morehead State University. In 2012, Kerr was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science by Morehead State University.

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Media Contacts

Pam Bonee
Work: 865.576.3146
Cell: 865.603.5142

Wendy West
Work: 865.576.0028
Cell: 865.207.7953