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Augustine Oliver Allen (1910-1988)

Augustine Allen Augustine "Gus" Allen, a founder of modern radiation chemistry, spent most of his professional career at Brookhaven National Laboratory. When he arrived in 1948, the Laboratory and the Chemistry Division were brand new, and Gus' five years of experience in radiation chemistry qualified him as an elder statesman in the field. He was already recognized internationally as "the" authority on the radiation chemistry of water and aqueous systems. During that five years he developed the theory of free-radical recombination in densely-ionized tracks. This theory has since been fleshed out experimentally and theoretically by workers in many countries and is the cornerstone of much of radiation chemistry.
Gus saw in radiation chemistry a real challenge to systematize an area that many thought of as a hopeless morass. Much of the evidence for the nature and identity of the hydrated electron was developed in his laboratory. He also made major contributions to the study of ionization in low dielectric liquids, particularly in hydrocarbons. He originated the study of radiation effects on liquids adsorbed on relatively inert solids, such as silica gel, and demonstrated for the first time that much of the energy absorbed in the solid migrates to the surface and produces disproportionate effects on the adsorbed material. He maintained a life-long interest in the application of radiation chemical studies to radiobiology and collaborated on much of the work characterizing the free radicals involved, particularly the superoxide radical.

Many of the people who worked with Gus over the years left to form their own laboratories around the world. Many others worked with him during his visits to their laboratories. Many who never worked with him remember his strong interest in discussing their work with him and appreciate his insights. We, the members of the group he founded at Brookhaven, are very pleased for this opportunity to acknowledge our debt to him.