Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hans Svensson (1935–2011)

On January 23, 2012, I received an email message with an attachment from my former coworker Pedro Andreo in Stockholm. The attachment was a PDF file of the latest issue of European Medical Physics News [1], in which the report of interview with him [2] and a page in memory of Hans Svensson [3] were contained. Pedro is one of two authors who wrote about memories of the Swedish radiation physicist Svensson on that page.

Searching on the Internet, I found the report "Hans Svensson — In memoriam" [4] written in Swedish. According to the report, Svensson died on December 7, 2011, after a short illness. He was born on March 18, 1935, and began his academic career as a student in Lund in 1956. In 1963, he came to Umeå as a medical physicist and received his doctorate there in 1970 in the subject of radiation physics. In 1982, he became full-time professor of radiation physics associated with the mission of an operation manager, a position he held until his retirement in 2000. During his career, he had significant international commitments and received a number of prestigious awards. He has been active professor emeritus at Umeå University since 2000.

Pedro praises Svensson's work done as the Chairman of Report Committee for ICRU Report 35 [5] by the words "probably his greatest single achievement" [3]. I learned Svenssons's name well before the publication of this report, probably by ICRU Report 21 [6], which was the earlier version of ICRU Report 35 with an essentially same title as that and contained seven papers of Svensson's group in its list of references.* I talked with Svensson twice, once on a day of the International Conference on Radiation Research held in Tokyo in 1979 and next in his office at IAEA in May 1989 (the above photo was taken on the latter occasion). Both our meetings were of a short time, but I vividly remember his kindness. Indeed, it was he who gave me helpful advice to cooperate with Pedro.** I sincerely pray for Hans Svensson to sleep peacefully in heaven.

  1. European Medical Physics News, Winter 2011/12 (2012).
  2. "Pedro Andreo — the road to and through Medical Physics," ibid. p. 6.
  3. "Hans Svensson — one of the Pioneers in our field," ibid. p. 23.
  4. M. Karlsson, "Hans Svensson — In memoriam," Web page of (2012).
  5. Radiation Dosimetry: Electrons with Initial Energies Between 1 and 50 MeV, ICRU Report 21 (International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements, 1972).
  6. Radiation Dosimetry: Electron Beams with Energies Between 1 and 50 MeV, ICRU Report 35 (International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements, 1984).
* By the way, the list of references in ICRU Report 21 also contained six of our papers on the work done at Radiation Center of Osaka Prefecture; and a similar list in ICRU Report 35, five later papers on our work.
** The collaboration produced 11 papers published in refereed journals in the period 1991–1998.

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