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Karl Z. Morgan Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS-3291

  • Staff Only

The Karl Z. Morgan Papers house a variety of materials documenting Dr. Morgan's tenure at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The collection consists primarily of documents and reports but also houses a number of road maps and travel brochures, a Monnaie de Paris Eisenhower commemorative coin, and an American bicentennial commemorative bag.

The collection also includes a report entitled The Exposure of the Population-at-Large to Ionizing Radiation that Morgan compiled in 1960 for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory as well as an undated report on the effects of radiation on the human body. The collection also houses such materials as forms, documents, and memoranda from both Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Georgia Tech, job postings compiled by the American Association of Physics in Medicine, and a collection of Morgan's contacts.

Morgan's other papers contain a handwritten note indicating that Karen Silkwood's lawyer would be calling him. Morgan testified on behalf of Karen Silkwood, a laboratory technician who reported health and safety violations at the Kerr-McGee Corporation before being killed in a car crash as she was on the way to meet with a reporter from The New York Times about her accusations.

Dates

  • 1946-1996 (bulk 1970-1991)

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

1 Linear Feet

Abstract

The Karl Z. Morgan Papers house a variety of materials documenting Dr. Morgan's tenure at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The collection consists primarily of documents and reports but also contains a number of road maps and travel brochures, a Monnaie de Paris Eisenhower commemorative coin, and an American bicentennial commemorative bag.

Biographical/Historical Note

Karl Ziegler Morgan, known as the father of health physics, was born to Jacob Levi and Elizabeth Virginia Clay (Shoup) Morgan in Enochsville, North Carolina on September 27, 1907. He earned his AB (1929) and MA (1930) degrees from the University of North Carolina followed by his PhD (1934) at Duke University. Morgan chaired the Physics Department at Lenoir Rhyne College until 1943, when he joined the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago to work on the Manhattan Project. He transferred to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1944, where he became director of the Health Physics Division and led studies on the detection of ionizing radiation. He remained in this position until 1972, during which time he also worked as a visiting lecturer at Vanderbilt University (1958-1972) and at the University of Tennessee (1965-1972). He went on to work as a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology (1972-1983), as a professor at Appalachian State University (1983-1986), and as a consultant in Atlanta. In his later life, Morgan became politically active and testified on behalf of those who had been injured by radiation, including Navajo uranium miners who were harmed when the Federal Government did not remedy known safety hazards and nearly 1200 individuals who accused the Federal Government of conducting unsafe nuclear tesing in Nevada in the 1950s. Morgan died on June 8, 1999 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Morgan was also involved in a number of professional organizations and published several books. He founded the National Health Physics Society and the International Radiation Protection Association and edited the Health Physics Journal. He also co-authored Principles of Radiation Protection: A Textbook of Health Physics and wrote his autobiography, entitled The Angry Genie: One Man's Walk Through the Nuclear Age with trial lawyer Ken M. Peterson. Additionally, he became an authority on the safe limits for radionuclides in the human body and helped set international standards for radiation exposure.

Arrangement

This collection consists of fifteen folders.

Acquisition Note

This collection is property of Special Collections.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480