45 years ago I was a postgraduate student in radiation biology with a BSc focusing on physics. I followed seminars and discussion which now are highly relevant and even hold a few. Some of the people appearing in the recent debate I have met maybe 40 years ago. I participated in experiment to study dose-mutation response down to the background. We got responses supporting effects of extremely low doses. The trick to get large experimental populations convenient was to use starch composition in pollen grains (male gametes). So no threshold was supported. But the response curves were not simple linear clearly indicating that complex mechanisms played a role. Certainly that made us think in tracks mentioned on this web.
When I made a carrier in a different field and am now retired and returning after 45 years time-out. Not very much has happened since I left the field, e.g. LNT is still a doubtful general model although it may work sometimes. Scientists must have spent much time thumb rolling the past 45 yearsJ. Opinions about the effect of low doses have widened. We thought radiation induced mutations were a bit more of a threat to the human genome than people think now. We thought Sr90 had a relatively more important influence on cancer after spreading fission products, than they who later analyzed Chernobyl effects. Less attention was focused on radon in the background radiation than now. We thought induced mutations would play a bigger role in plant breeding than they have done. Nuclear testing in the atmosphere (giving similar doses to average Swedes as Chernobyl), spread of nuclear weapons and build up of huge nuke arsenals for “Mutual Assured Destruction” were on the agenda. Of course some of the worries about nukes was their consequences in terms of ionizing radiation. We were living closer to the early times, when humans really got harmed by large doses to considerable numbers, like miners, atom bomb survivors and early physicians and scientists. Thus “we” may have overemphasized the negative effects of radiation. Nuclear bombs felt more appealing as target than environment friendly energy production. We counted with Röntgen, rad and rem. I still experience difficulties with Sievert (why pretend that a subjective index is a standard unit?). I am retired now and am not paid for anything and am not expecting anything like grants and feel quite independent. I have been a senior professor for a long time and still feel professionally bounded to objectivity and openness to additional information. As I started informing myself more just in end of March 2011, I think I look at most of the information I meet with fresh eyes (sometimes too fresh).