I'm sorry to convey the news that Ernest Sternglass died yesterday in Ithaca NY, age 91.
I'm attaching an obituary that has been prepared on his prolific life, and urge you to read it. I also urge those of you who operate web sites, or participate in social media, to circulate this. (It is already on the Radiation and Public Health Project facebook account - if we're not friends with you yet, we'd like to be).
Ernest had a remarkable life. Long before his radiation work, he escaped the Nazi terrors of his native Berlin late in 1938 to enter the U.S. His academic work at Cornell - bachelor's, master's, and doctorate - was punctuated by correspondence with Albert Einstein, who invited him to visit his Princeton home, where they spoke about some of Ernest's theories.
His work with Westinghouse included 13 patents, and he co-developed the cameras that took photos from the moon of the first moon landing, Apollo 11, in 1969. He later was a professor of physics and public health at the University of Pittsburgh.
In August 1963, he testified to the U.S. Senate in favor of the Partial Test Ban Treaty - which ended large-scale above-ground atomic tests. It didn't end the Cold War arms race, but was perhaps the greatest environmental treaty in history, drastically lowering the environmental radioactivity across the globe - perhaps saving many lives.
In the late 1960s, he was the first to attempt to calculate the victims of the bomb tests, estimating 375,000 American infants died in excess of the expected. He was blasted for daring to make such a revelation - but to this day, nobody has explained any factor accounting for the near-halt of steady declines in infant death rates during the 20th century.
Soon, he shifted his focus to the fast-expanding fleet of nuclear reactors. He wrote numerous articles, books, and editorials, lectured extensively, testified to government panels, and helped citizen groups around the nation with their efforts.
Ernest had many, many admirers. But being one of the only physicists to go public with work on health hazards of routine reactor emissions (John Gofman and Arthur Tamplin were among this very small group), he was badly criticized by physics and public health world - who insisted that "no risk" existed, without the benefit of conducting the needed studies. His brilliance was matched only by his courage. He co-founded RPHP with Dr. Jay Gould in 1989.
Even later in life, he was committed to his work. Below is a photo of the talk he gave on June 13, 2013 at our group's annual meeting in New York - 50 years since his testimony for the Treaty. Nearly age 90, he still gave strong remarks about the importance of the Treaty, and of the continued efforts to reduce exposures.
More on Ernest can be found on our web site (http://www.radiation.org).
I ask you to join me in giving Ernest his proper recognition.
With best wishes,
Radiation and Public Health Project