July 1999

K.Z. Morgan, health physics pioneer, dies
Karl Z. Morgan, called the “father of health physics” because he helped invent the field at ORNL during and just after the Manhattan Project, died in Oak Ridge on June 8.

“K.Z.” came to Oak Ridge in 1943 from the University of Chicago, where experiments with the first atomic “pile” instigated investigations into health precautions with radiation. He was health physics director at ORNL from then until 1972.

Morgan is credited with establishing a number of standards in the field of health physics, including passage of a 1968 law that required the medical profession to control X-ray radiation exposures. ORNL Review: The First 50 Years wrote that Morgan “continued to speak vigorously on his lifetime mission—reducing low-level radiation emissions from radon, medical procedures and nuclear power.”

His obituary appeared in most of the nation’s largest daily newspapers, including a New York Times piece that ran more than 700 words. He was 91.


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