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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

ODU Professor Appointed to National Academy of Sciences Board

By Irvin B. Harrell

The National Academy of Sciences recently chose Steven M. Becker, a professor at Old Dominion University, to serve on its Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board. Becker is an international authority on disaster preparedness and response, radiation emergencies and risk communication.

The Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board is part of the Division of Life and Earth Studies of the National Academy of Sciences. The academy is a private, nonprofit organization comprised of the country's leading researchers. It provides independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology.

"I am truly humbled and honored to be appointed to the board," Becker said. "I am very much looking forward to working with the other board members to help foster scientific advances and to address some of the big scientific and technical challenges facing the nation today and in the coming years."

Originally established by Congress and signed into law by President Lincoln in 1863, the academy today brings together the country's top researchers to solve complex scientific and technical problems and inform public policy decisions. Becker will serve on the board until 2021.

Becker, a faculty member in the College of Health Sciences' School of Community and Environmental Health, has had wide-ranging experience with radiological and nuclear science issues.

In 2012, he was nominated by the National Academies and appointed by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board. A year earlier, Becker served as a member of a three-person radiation emergency assistance team that was invited to Japan in response to the March 2011 earthquake-tsunami disaster and the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. He has also been a Dozor Scholar at Ben-Gurion University in Israel and a visiting fellow at the Japan Emergency Medicine Foundation and National Hospital Tokyo Disaster Medical Center.

"This is a noteworthy appointment that will showcase Dr. Becker's expertise in the area of nuclear radiation and emergency assistance work for which he is known around the world," said Dean Richardean Benjamin, of the College of Health Sciences. "We congratulate him on this appointment."

The Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board organizes and oversees independent, rigorous studies of the safety, security, technical, policy and societal issues arising from the application of nuclear and radiation-based technologies. This includes risks, benefits and/or efficacies of medical applications of radiation; biological and other effects; malevolent uses of nuclear and radiation-based technologies; and nuclear proliferation.

Other members of the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board include experts from the National Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Washington University School of Medicine and the Russian Academy of Sciences.