BY EARLE L. REYNOLDS
P. O. Box 5199, Honolulu, Hawaii
AS is often the case when attempts are made to bridge two diverse aspects of knowledge, the chairman of a symposium such as this is faced with a problem: shall he obtain a specialist in formal evolutionary theory, who may perhaps fail to devote a proper share of his attention to ionizing radiation, or shall he invite, say, a radiation physicist, who dimly recalls having heard something about evolution when he was in high school? Or should he ask a geneticist, who might just possibly equate a minute increase in radiation with the extinction of humanity? Or a radiologist, who will sternly remind us that radiation is an indispensable boon to mankind? Or perhaps a gentleman from the government, who will cheerfully advise us to "keep smiling"?
Your chairman has solved his problem by bravely inviting a speaker who cannot qualify as an expert in any of these areas. Whether this is an elegant solution remains to be seen.
There is a large literature related to ionizing radiation,1 some of it____________________
The word "radiation," as used in the present report, does not refer to the process of the same name which has a secure place in the literature of evolution. As here used, it refers throughout to ionizing radiation or to irradiation.
The purpose of the present report is to give a brief general survey of the subject, and to offer certain opinions on the problems involved. It is hoped that the distinction between the two objectives has been clearly made.
Problems of human evolution, as they relate to ionizing radiation, are reached only by passing through a number of disciplines, with a constantly accumulating and overlapping literature. The selected list of referencs, through June 30, 1957, worked up by Little ( 1957: 1996- 2053), is very useful, as are the references listed in the recent United Nations report on the effects of atomic radiation ( 1958). A number of surveys ( Dean, 1954; Lapp, 1956; Titterton, 1956; Alexander, 1957; Schubert and Lapp, 1957; Wallace and Dobzhansky, 1959), more or less pertinent to our interests, have been written. Pauling ( 1958a) and Teller and Latter ( 1958) may be considered as representing opposing points of view.
Several periodicals, such as Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists ( Selove and Elkind, eds., 1958) and Scientific American, October 1959, have given entire issues
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Publication information: Book title: The Processes of Ongoing Human Evolution. Contributors: Gabriel W. Lasker - Editor. Publisher: Wayne State University Press. Place of publication: Detroit. Publication year: 1960. Page number: 89.
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