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Professor Rolf Maximilian Sievert
(6 May 1896 – 3 October 1966) was a medical physicist
A physicist is a scientist who studies or practices physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena in many branches of physics spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic particles of which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole...
whose major contribution was in the study of the biological effects of radiation
Ionizing radiation is radiation composed of particles that individually have sufficient energy to remove an electron from an atom or molecule. This ionization produces free radicals, which are atoms or molecules containing unpaired electrons...
Professor Sievert (ˈsiːvəʈ) was born in Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....
. He served as head of the physics laboratory at Sweden's Radiumhemmet from 1924 to 1937, when he became head of the department of radiation physics at the Karolinska Institute. He played a pioneering role in the measurement of doses of radiation especially in its use in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...
. In later years, he focused his research on the biological effects of repeated exposure to low doses of radiation. In 1964, he founded the International Radiation Protection Association, serving for a time as its chairman. He also chaired the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation
The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation was set up by resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in 1955. 21 countries are designated to provide scientists to serve as members of the committee which holds formal meetings annually and submits a report to...
He invented a number of instruments for measuring radiation doses, the most widely known being the Sievert chamber
A Sievert chamber is a type of ionization chamber used in radiation dose measurements. It was invented by Professor Rolf Maximilian Sievert in Sweden in the years 1920-40....
In 1979, at the Conférence Générale des Poids et Mesures (General Conference on Weights and Measures or CGPM), the SI unit
The International System of Units is the modern form of the metric system and is generally a system of units of measurement devised around seven base units and the convenience of the number ten. The older metric system included several groups of units...
for ionizing radiation dose equivalent was named after him and given the name sievert
The sievert is the International System of Units SI derived unit of dose equivalent radiation. It attempts to quantitatively evaluate the biological effects of ionizing radiation as opposed to just the absorbed dose of radiation energy, which is measured in gray...