Type of entity
Authorized form of name
Schull, William J.
Parallel form(s) of name
- William J. Schull, PhD
- Schull, William Jackson
- Schull, Jack
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Dates of existence
William J. Schull, PhD was an American scientist and geneticist famous for his research into the effects of ionizing radiation on the human body largely based on the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after World War II. Dr. Schull began his scientific career in radiation research in 1949 when he joined the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC), established in Japan in 1946 by the United States National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council to study the effects of the bombings in accordance with a presidential directive from Harry S. Truman. From his first post as Head of the Department of Genetics at ABCC, Dr. Schull served many decades in the elite corps of scientists conducting research into the genetic impact of irradiation on human health. A professor emeritus of The Human Genetics Center, School of Public Health, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Texas, Dr. Schull served on most of the major governmental and non-governmental committees formed throughout the 20th century to quantify the effects of ionizing radiation. He helped form the genetics department at the University of Michigan where he served as a professor from 1956 to 1972. As his career progressed, Dr. Schull frequently served in executive positions, chairing many of the governmental committees he served on and becoming a director, 1986-1987 and 1990-1991, and in 1996-1997, vice chairman and chief of research of the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF), established in 1975 as the follow-on organization to the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission. Dr. Schull was inducted into the United States National Academy of Sciences in 2001. In affirmation of his long and honorable service to the Japanese people, Dr. Schull received the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Third Class from the Emperor of Japan in 1992.
William Jackson Schull was born on March 17, 1922 to Gertrude Edna (maiden name Davenport) (1900-1938) and Eugene Shull (1896-1975) in Louisiana, Missouri. While Shull is the last name inscribed on his birth certificate, his name was changed to Schull while he was in elementary school. Dr. Schull spent most of his boyhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and graduated from that city’s Lincoln High School in 1939. In 1946, Dr. Schull earned a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1947, he earned a Master of Science in Zoology from the same university. He received a Doctor Of Philosophy in Genetics From Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio in 1949. Enlisting in December 1942, Dr. Schull served in the United States Army as a surgical technician with the 37th Infantry Division in the South Pacific until December 1945. In concert with his scientific work, Dr. Schull valued the preservation of the archival historic record and promoted the preservation of the history of the ABCC and RERF throughout his career. He died June 20, 2017, in Houston.
A detailed curriculum vitae is available for Dr. Schull in the control folder for his collection at the McGovern Historical Collection.