American scientistDied when: 88 years 328 days (1066 months)
Star Sign: Libra
John William Gofman (September 21, 1918 – August 15, 2007) was an American scientist and advocate.He was Professor Emeritus of Molecular and Cell Biology at University of California at Berkeley.
Gofman pioneered the field of clinical lipidology, and was honoured with the title of "Father of Clinical Lipidology" by the Journal of Clinical Lipidology in 2007.
With and other research associates, Gofman discovered and described three major classes of plasma lipoproteins, fat molecules that carry cholesterol in the blood.
The team he led at the Donner Laboratory went on to demonstrate the role of lipoproteins in the causation of heart disease.
Gofman was instrumental in inducing the health physics scientific community both to acknowledge the cancer risks of ionizing radiation and to adopt the Linear No-Threshold (LNT) model as a means of estimating actual cancer risks from low-level radiation and as the foundation of the international guidelines for radiation protection.
However his conclusions were that the dose-response relationship was not linear, but supra-linear.Gofman's earliest research was in nuclear physics and chemistry, in close connection to the Manhattan Project.
He co-discovered several radioisotopes, notably uranium-233 and its fissionability ; he was the third person ever to work with plutonium, and, having devised an early process for separating plutonium from fission products at J.
Robert Oppenheimer's request, he was the first chemist ever to try and isolate milligram quantities of plutonium.In 1963, Gofman established the Biomedical Research Division for the Livermore National Laboratory, where he was on the cutting edge of research into the connection between chromosomal abnormalities and cancer.
Later in life, Gofman took on a role as an advocate warning of dangers involved with nuclear power.From 1971 onward, he was the Chairman of the Committee for Nuclear Responsibility.
He was awarded the Right Livelihood Award for "his pioneering work in exposing the health effects of low-level radiation" on Chernobyl disaster's area population.
In his 1996 book, Gofman claimed that exposure to medical x-rays is responsible for about 75 percent of breast cancers in the United States.
This order of magnitude has been somehow confirmed by the increase in breast cancer incidence following mammography screening in the USA and in France.