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Robert Loevinger

Headshot of Robert Loevinger


Robert Loevinger received his B.A. in astronomy and mathematics with minor in physics from the University of Minnesota in 1936. After getting an M.A. in astronomy and doing graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, he joined the Manhattan Project from 1941-45, where he took the first high-speed motion pictures of the first atomic bomb test in 1945. He earned his Ph.D. in physics in 1947 from the Donner Laboratory of Medical Physics at Berkeley. His thesis was on the application of the Bragg-Gray equation — which helps calculate radiation dose in an enclosed cavity — to analyze medium-energy neutrons from the Berkeley cyclotron. After working in medical physics in New York, the U.K., California and Austria, where he developed the international system of accredited laboratories for medical instrument calibrations, he returned to the U.S. to serve as chief of the Dosimetry Section at the National Bureau of Standards (NBS, now the National institute of Standards and Technology, NIST) in 1968. 

Notable honors and awards:

  • Fellow, Royal Marsden Hospital, London, 1956
  • Silver Medal, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1980 
  • Farrington Daniels Award, American Association of Physicists in Medicine, 1981 
  • Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award, Health Physics Society, 1993
  • William D. Coolidge Award, American Association of Physicists in Medicine, 1995 

Other appointments: 

  • Charter member and executive member, American Association of Physicists in Medicine
  • Assistant physicist in radiation therapy, Mount Sinai Hospital, 1947
  • Medical physicist, Stanford University Medical Center, 1957 
  • Chief, Dosimetry Section, International Atomic Energy Agency, 1965

Research interests: medical physics; medical internal radiation dosimetry; brachytherapy dosimetry; organization of national and international societies to promote quality assurance in measurements of radiation for diagnostic and therapeutic applications

Created July 26, 2019, Updated June 2, 2021