Muller’s Nobel lecture on dose–response for ionizing radiation: ideology or science?
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In his Nobel Prize Lecture of December 12, 1946, Hermann J. Muller argued that the dose–response for radiation-induced germ cell mutations was linear and that there was “no escape from the conclusion that there is no threshold”. However, assessment of correspondence between Muller and Curt Stern 1 month prior to his Nobel Prize Lecture reveals that Muller knew the results and implications of a recently completed study at the University of Rochester under the direction of Stern, which directly contradicted his Nobel Prize Lecture. This finding is of historical importance since Muller’s Nobel Lecture gained considerable international attention and is a turning point in the acceptance of the linearity model in risk assessment for germ cell mutations and carcinogens.
KeywordsLinearity Threshold Hermann J. Muller Nobel Prize Risk assessment X-rays Ionizing radiation
Effort sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Air Force Material Command, USAF, under grant number FA9550-07-1-0248. The US Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute for governmental purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation thereon. The views and conclusions contained herein are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies or endorsement, either expressed or implied, of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research or the US Government.
Conflict of interest
The author has no conflict of interest.
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