In March 1958, John Thomas wrote local
members of the fledgling Health Physics Society
and other individuals concerned with radiation
safety to determine if there would be interest
in local meetings and establishment of a local
chapter. An organizational meeting was held May
13, 1958. This produced a tentative schedule of
meetings and topics and general agreement to
“proceed and see what happens.”
On November 6, 1958, the first program was
held at the University of Pennsylvania. Jesse
Lieberman described Philadelphia’s program in
radiation hazard evaluation and control.
Subsequent programs included:
R.O. Gorson “The NCRP and
Dr. Jan Lieben “The
Commonwealth’s Radiation Control Program"
Paul Klevan “The AEC
Civilian Application and Inspection Program”
Dr. H.W. Locke “Health
Physics Aspects of the Nuclear Ship
Savannah” (followed by subsequent field trip
meeting to the Savannah)
Dr. Richard Chamberlain
“Radiation Protection Efforts of the
American College of Radiology”
Also presented the film:
“Radiation: Physician and Patient” which he
was instrumental in making.
Speaker related costs were
borne by passing the hat at meetings.
At the meeting featuring Dr.
Chamberlain, on October 20, 1959, the attendees
“voted” to formally organize these activities
and apply for a charter as a Chapter of the
Health Physics Society. A steering committee
consisting of J.W. Thomas, A.R. Maass, J.
Lieberman, R.O. Gorson, and C.A. Pelletier was
charged with this task. The name “Delaware
Valley Society for Radiation Safety” was chosen
at this meeting with the intention of changing
this to Delaware Valley Chapter of the Health
Physics Society upon acceptance as a chapter.
The name was never changed for several reasons:
The DVSRS became
established before chapter status evolved.
As the DVSRS, the group
could speak out on matters relating to
radiation control in its own name rather
than as a HPS chapter.
The bother of changing
the DVSRS bank account was avoided.
A Constitution and By Laws
were drawn and became effective December 10,
1959. They particularly provided for supporting
members, interested persons who were not
sufficiently active in radiation protection to
become members of the National Health Physics
Society. The DVSRS also continued its practice
of inviting all interested persons to meetings
regardless of whether or not they were dues
The DVSRS became a Chapter of
the Health Physics Society in the Spring of 1960
with the original steering committee serving as
the first Board. The first officers were: J.W.
Thomas, President and A.R. Maass,
Several activities of the
early chapter years merit special mention:
The DVSRS sponsored
sessions at a number of Regional Fire and
Safety Conferences which were annual events
Bob Mantey organized and
directed a course in radiation safety which
was presented in conjunction with the
Engineer’s Club in Philadelphia.
Joint meetings were held
with local chapters of the AAPM and the
American Nuclear Society.
During the early Chapter
years there were only a handful of individuals
spending most of their time in radiation
protection in the Delaware Valley. Today there
are several organizations in the Delaware Valley
with more Health Physicists on their staff than
total DVSRS membership of the first chapter
John W. Thomas