[ RadSafe ] Re: Radiation Hormesis

Alan Watts wattsa at ohio.edu
Thu Dec 27 15:00:55 CST 2007


I'm also reminded of a "physics" story called . . .

Physics Saves Lives

A college physics professor was explaining a particularly complicated 
concept to his class when a pre-med student interrupted him.

"Why do we have to learn this stuff?" one young man blurted out.  "To save 
lives," the professor responded before continuing the lecture.

A few minutes later the student spoke up again.  "So how does physics save 

The professor stared at the student for a long time without saying a word. 
Finally, the professor continued, "Physics saves lives, because it keeps 
certain people out of medical school."

I guess, a good dose of Physics to want-a-be doctors (pre-med students) can 
have a hormetic effect to their profession and ultimately their patients.


Alan Watts
Ohio University

--On Thursday, December 27, 2007 10:02 AM -0800 "Brennan, Mike  (DOH)" 
<Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV> wrote:

> "All science is either physics or stamp collecting."      Ernest.
> Rutherford
> I am reminded of the story of a zoologist, biologist, and physicist each
> being asked to discuss the most important aspects of elephants.  The
> zoologist discussed the social aspects of the herd how elephants
> interact with their environment.  The biologist discussed the huge
> amount of food the elephant consumes and processes in which it is
> processed.  The physicist gets up, thinks for a minute, and starts,
> "Assume the elephant is a sphere..."
> On the topic of hormesis; I would love for someone to do some definitive
> research, well designed and meticulously controlled, that would address
> both the claims and the criticisms.  I will even allow as to how I would
> LOVE to have hormesis confirmed, if for no other reason than the
> entertainment value of watching my friends in the EPA struggle with
> setting maximum and minimum desired radon exposure levels.  Sadly, I
> have yet to see anything about such research being done.  The hormesis
> papers I've seen show as much evidence of cherry picking as the
> anti-(fill in the blank for whatever you don't like) papers.
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