Honoring a "Distinguished Intellect" this Earth Day

Thursday, April 23, 2015

We honor Dr. Hans L. Falk (1919 -1985) this Earth Day (April 22, but celebrated today, April 23, at NIH) for his significant contributions to the field of environmental health science as both a scientist and an administrator. An expert in chemical carcinogenesis, he wrote more than 100 journal articles and served as the first deputy director of science at NIEHS. NIH Medical Arts designers created this medallion as a model for the prestigious Hans L. Falk Memorial Lecture award. Learn more about Falk at http://nihrecord.nih.gov/PDF_Archive/1985%20pdfs/19850226.pdf on page 12.

Falk’s research interests included topics as varied as smoking, pesticides, and birth defects. As the first deputy director of science at NIEHS, he established one of the first health hazard assessment groups to evaluate chemical exposure risks, as well as the listing of chemicals entered into the first National Toxicology Program Report on Carcinogens.

Falk also worked with the World Health Organization (WHO) to assess the health risks of technological developments and the impact of the production and use of energy on the environment.

On his passing in January 1985, Dr. David P. Rall, NIEHS Director at the time, said, "We have lost a distinguished intellect who could both understand with total discipline the scientific complexities of questions, and then also see the broader questions in the context of policy and human values."

If you're near one of the NIH campuses today, come celebrate with us—"It's Our Turn to Lead."