Answer to Question #8103 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"
Category: Historical Issues/Applications
The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:
I am researching historical photos of industrial hygiene and health physics cartoons used as posters for radiation safety and awareness. I have found the cartoon character "Ray Alert" used in the 1950s–1960s by General Electric at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory and described in an article by L.J. Cherubin in the American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal (Vol. 22, Issue 1, February 1961, pages 70–74). Do you know of "Ray Alert" or other similar posters used for radiation safety?
Another location where cartoon posters were used for radiation safety was at the Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL). A collection of these posters can be found on the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) website.
These posters were produced at ORNL in 1947. The purpose of the posters was to remind personnel of radiation safety practices and also to let them know what the term "health physics" meant, i.e., radiation protection. In 1947 the term was only four years old and no less confusing than today.
You might also be interested in the entire Health Physics Historical Instrumentation Museum Collection, which can be viewed on the ORAU website.
The article by L.J. Cherubin, "Communication Media Employed in Health Physics at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory," was very interesting. The author describes challenges in reaching employees, the community, and government agencies with radiation protection messages that are the same today as they were in 1961. Members of the Health Physics Society have voted that the number one challenge facing our profession today is communications.
Ray Johnson, MS, PE, FHPS, CHP