Eleanor Adair Named 2007 D’Arsonval Award

The Board of Directors of  the Bioelectromagnetics Society announced this month that Eleanor Reed Adair, a charter member of the Bioelectromagnetics Society, will receive the 2007 d’Arsonval Award in recognition of her accomplishments in the discipline of bioelectromagnetics. The award, which consists of an illuminated testimonial, a silver medallion, a silver lapel pin and an honorarium, will be formally announced at the upcoming annual meeting in Kanazawa, Japan.

Dr. Eleanor Adair earned her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and her M.A. and PhD. in physics and psychology from the University of Wisconsin. Her work in the area of bioelectromagnetics research spans nearly 50 years, beginning in 1960 with her research on the physiological effects on primates of microwave radiation at Yale University’s John B. Pierce Laboratory. Collectively, she has published over 100 scientific papers, books, book chapters, reviews and technical reports.

When IEEE Edison Medalist and first BEMS d’Arsonval honoree, Prof. Herman P. Schwan, presented an insightful overview of all the microwave/thermoregulation research with a warning that work on human exposure in the hot-spot range (0.3-3 GHz) might involve insurmountable obstacles, Dr. Adair accepted that challenge. With the support of the United States Air Force, she focused her research on the human thermoregulatory responses to microwave exposure. At the Air Force Research Laboratory in Brooks Air Force Base, Texas, Dr. Adair studied human thermoregulatory response to 100, 220, 450, and 2450 MHz exposure at power densities as high as eight times the current human exposure standards. Her research at 2450 MHz also included a comparison of the effects of pulsed versus continuous wave fields and the interaction between microwave-induced heating and metabolic heating due to exercise. Dr. Adair is one of the few scientists in the world who has studied in detail the response of humans and primates to thermal RF-field exposures. The results from Dr. Adair’s thermal regulation work form the cornerstone that anchors current human RF field exposure limits to hard science (in the 100 to 2450 MHz region of the electromagnetic spectrum).

In addition to her research, Dr. Adair has been active in the development of health and safety standards for electromagnetic energy for more than 20 years, largely through her association with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE) where she has been an active participant in the IEEE Committee on Man and Radiation for many years. She co-chaired the committee that developed the C95.1-1991 “IEEE Standard for Safety Levels with Respect to Human Exposure to Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Fields, 3 kHz to 300 GHz” and served as Vice-Chair of the main committee, formerly named “IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee SCC28.” During the late 1990’s she organized two workshops to study possible links between standards for microwaves and for lasers. She was named a Fellow of the IEEE in 1994 “for contributions to understanding the effects of radio frequency energy on biological thermoregulation and to the formulation of safe-exposure standards for man.” In 2001, she was named an Air Force senior scientist emeritus. Dr. Adair was a cofounder of the annual (Sol) Michaelson Research Conference (now in its fourteenth year) and contributed significantly to the World Health Organization EMF project, as a member of the WHO EMF Collaborating Center at Brooks AFB. Dr. Adair now lives in Connecticut with her husband, Yale physics professor emeritus Dr. Robert Adair.

– Compiled from Contributions made by James McNamee, Michael Murphy, Sheila Johnston, and Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College