DOE Openness: Human Radiation Experiments: Roadmap to the Project
Dr. Joe Hamilton
I first met Joe when I was taken around the Berkeley Projects of the Manhattan District by Dr. Stafford Warren to introduce me to the people whose work I was to watch and monitor for radiation dangers
I learned that he ran the Donner Laboratory and was responsible for the running the 60 inch Cyclotron there. He collected the resulting radioisotopes for experimental use. His broad plan was to determine the distribution and fate of all the radioisotopes in the periodic table in animals with special attention to the transuranic elements.
He worked with Dr. Mayo Soley, internist from UCSF, on the distribution and fate of Iodine 131 in the bodies of animals. Their demonstration that this element was concentrated mainly in the thyroid led to the use of Iodine 31 as a tracer for thyroid function and as a means of treatment of hyperthyroidism and selected cases of cancer of the Thyroid. When Iodine 131 became available to me through the good auspices of Ken Scott, Mayo Soley and I collaborated for many years in the diagnosis of thyroid function and treatment of Hyperthyroidism and Cancer of the thyroid.
Joe had a small staff which included Ken Scott, a roly poly man with sharp mind and inventive bent. He was a great help to Joe Hamilton in carrying out his research and. Doing his own thing on the side.
I always visited The Donner on the two half days a week at I spent in Berkeley during the War. As director of Radiation Safety for the Manhattan Project mostly I carried a Geiger Counter and tried to point out areas of high radiation dangers to the staff. My other activities consisted of running the film badge programs, the routine blood count program.
The only time I visited Joe at his home was when he was dying. I always liked Joe and had great respect for him as a scientist.
I had my younger daughter with me on this visit and at it we met Leah Hamilton, Joe's wife. She was a fine artist who painted abstract non-representational paintings. Judy, my daughter about 10 years old, on seeing her paintings, asked her what she was doing. LeahÆs answer, "I fill space with color." I liked that and never forgot it.