Laudation for Prof. Xiaolin Hou: 2019 Hevesy Medal Award recipient
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Xiaolin Hou was born in Shaanxi, China. He obtained his BSc in Chemistry in 1988 from Northwest University in Xi’an, MSc in nuclear and radiochemistry in 1991 from the China Institute of Atomic Energy in Beijing, and PhD in nuclear and radioanalytical chemistry in 1998 from the Institute of High Energy Physics, Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing, China. Xiaolin joined Risø National Laboratory in Denmark in 1998 as a postdoctoral fellow and continued there first as a scientist and then as a senior scientist until 2013 when he became a Professor at the Center for Nuclear Technologies in the Technical University of Denmark (DTU; Risø National Laboratory merged with DTU in 2007). He is also a Professor at the Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Science in Xi’an and a Professor in Lanzhou University, China.
Prof. Hou has been working in the fields of radioanalytical chemistry for about 30 years. He has developed high-accuracy methods for measuring low and ultra-low levels radionuclides, namely 3H, 14C, 90Sr, 99Tc, 129I, 135Cs, 210Po, 222Rn, 226,228Ra, 234, 235,236, 238U, 237Np, 239, 240, 241Pu,241Am in the environment using innovative radiochemical separation and ultra-low beta counter and advanced ICP-MS and AMS measurement techniques. He automated his separation procedures using flow injection and coupled them with on-line ICP-MS reducing the analysis time from a week to minutes/hours, thus meeting the requirements of nuclear emergency analysis.
Prof. Hou has developed a series of methods for the characterization of radioactive waste samples and applied them for the decommissioning of nuclear facilities and waste repositories in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Australia. The list of radionuclides includes 3H, 14C, 36Cl, 41Ca, 55Fe, 63Ni, 90Sr, 93Mo, 94Nb, 99Tc, 129I,135Cs and actinides in various types of samples e.g., graphite, concrete, steels, various metals, exchange resins, etc.
Prof. Hou has developed a number of speciation analysis methods for iodine, Tc, Cs and Pu isotopes in water, air, aerosol, soils, sediments and seaweeds using chemical and biochemical separation combined with NAA, ICP-MS and AMS measurements. Using anthropogenic 129I as a tracer, he has made a remarkable contribution to the elucidation of water mass movement, interaction and circulation in North Sea, Baltic Sea, China seas, North Atlantic, Arctic Ocean, South Atlantic Ocean and even Antarctica. He is a pioneer in the application of speciation analysis of redox sensitive iodine isotopes to marine environment investigation, including conversion of iodide and iodate and their implication on the marine primary production and the bloom of marine algae in the seas. By speciation analysis of iodine isotopes (129I and 127I) in air collected in different distance from the North Sea and time series precipitations in Denmark, he investigated the re-emission of reprocessing derived 129I in the European Seas to the air, and its tracer application for atmospheric dispersion of air pollutions in a large scale from Europe to Asia. The speciation analysis of 129I in the aerosol collected from Japan immediately after the Fukushima accident and from Denmark provided new and important information on the behavior of radioactive iodine in the environment, as well as on the estimation of the consequent radiation exposure. He has supervised monitoring of the environmental radioactivity in Denmark, Greenland and Fareo Island for the past 20 years.
Prof. Hou published 222 scientific papers in refereed journals, co-authored a monograph on Chemistry and Analysis of Radionuclides, published 5 book chapters, 13 scientific reports, and presented more than 130 conference papers. He was in charge of more than 30 research projects funded by the EU, Nordic, Danish, and Chinese foundations and industries. He has taught several courses in Denmark and China on radioanalytical chemistry. He supervised 21 PhD thesis, 10 Master thesis, 5 postdoctoral fellows and 14 visiting scientists. Prof. Hou has been heavily involved in the activities of radiochemistry societies around the world. He is an associate editor of Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, guest editor and member of the Distinguished Board of Reviewers of JRNC, and member of several other journals’ editorial boards. He has served as an IAEA expert in many countries. Prof. Hou has received several honors and awards including the ”Hundred Talent” by Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2009, “Innovative Talent” by China Central Government in 2012, and Vladimir Majer Medal by Czech Chemical Society in 2019.
It is indeed a pleasure to honor Prof. Xiaolin Hou with the 2019 Hevesy Medal Award (HMA-19) in recognition of his work on the low-level determination of radionuclides using radioanalytical and mass spectrometric methods and their applications to large-scale environmental studies, and on the characterization of waste from decommissioning of nuclear facilities.
Prof. Hou was nominated by Prof. Dr. Jan Kučera (Nuclear Physics Institute, Czech Republic) and co-sponsored by Prof. Zhifang Chai (Institute of High Energy Physics, China) and Prof. Nóra Vajda (RADANAL td., Hungary).
The 2019 Hevesy Medal Award Selection Panel (HMASP-19) consisted of Prof. Amares Chatt (Dalhousie University, Canada, also Chair of JRNC Board of the Hevesy Award and Chair of HMASP-19), Prof. Tibor Braun (L. Eötvös University, Hungary, also JRNC Board of the Hevesy Award), Prof. Sue B. Clark (Washington State University, U.S.A.), Prof. Susanta Lahiri (Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, India), Dr. Richard M. Lindstrom (National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S.A.), Prof. Boris F. Myasoedov (Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia), Prof. Tomoko M. Nakanishi (University of Tokyo, Japan), Prof. Pavel P. Povinec (Comenius University, Slovakia), and Dr. Zsolt Révay (Technische Universität München, Germany, also JRNC Board of the Hevesy Award and representing RANC-2019).
Photos are courtesy of Mrs. Csengele Bognár, conference coordinator, Akadémiai Kiadó Zrt (publisher of JRNC).