Society News Archive

18 January 2013
Honorary Doctorate for George Kerr from Morehead State University

Dr. George D. Kerr, a nationally recognized physicist, was presented an honorary doctor of science degree during Morehead State University's Fall Commencement on Saturday, 15 December 2012.

A Circleville, Ohio, native, Kerr graduated from Morehead State University (MSU) in 1962 with a bachelor of science degree in mathematics and physics. He received a master of science degree from North Carolina State University and a PhD degree in physics from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

From 1964 to 2000, he worked as a health physicist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In 2000, he formed his own consulting firm and was involved primarily in government funded studies until 2008, when he joined the staff of Oak Ridge Associated Universities as a technical specialist in health physics.

Kerr has nearly 40 years of service as a U.S. consultant for radiation dosimetry and radiation shielding to the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, now the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, studying the effects of radiation on the survivors of the atomic blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. His work has resulted in helping develop the safety standards used when people get x rays or work with radioactive materials. Kerr said that radiation protection, not only in this country but throughout the world, is essentially based on the data we have accumulated on the atomic bomb survivors.

He is the 2006 recipient of the Special Achievement Award by the U.S. Department of Energy in recognition of his outstanding service as the coordinator of the United States Working Group on the Reassessment of A-Bomb Dosimetry. He is also the 1980 recipient of the Special Achievement Award from the Health Physics Society for eight years of outstanding service as an editor of Health Physics.

A member of Sigma Phi Sigma (the Physics Honorary Society), the Health Physics Society, and the International Radiation Protection Society, Kerr is the author of more than 150 book chapters, technical reports, and open literature publications in technical journals such as Health Physics, Radiation Research, Nuclear Safety, Physical Reviews, Reviews of Scientific Instruments, Applied Physics, Radiation Protection Dosimetry, and Radiation and Environmental Biophysics.

In 2008, Kerr was inducted into the MSU Alumni Hall of Fame.

He and his wife, Sarah "Sally" Kerr, reside in Knoxville, Tennessee.

—Based on an article appearing in The Morehead News (http://themorehead, 12 December 2012.