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Memorial Tributes, Volume 12
MELVIN W. CARTER 1926–2007
Elected in 1999
“For leadership and teaching in radiation protection,health physics, and public health standards and practices.”
BY A. ALAN MOGHISSI
SUBMITTED BY THE NAE HOME SECRETARY
MELVIN W. CARTER, Neely Professor Emeritus, Georgia Institute of Technology, an internationally recognized health physicist and radiological engineer, died on August 15, 2007, at the age of 80. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1999 and participated in numerous studies and other activities of the National Academies.
From humble beginnings in East Atlanta, Georgia, Mel Carter built a career based on hard work, perseverance, loyalty, and dedication to his family. As a second-generation American, he understood the need for mentoring immigrants, and he successfully attracted scientists and engineers who immigrated to the United States after World War II to his program.
Born in 1926 in Atlanta, Georgia, to a blue-collar family (his father was a brick mason), Mel was a member of “the greatest generation.” He was raised during the Great Depression and served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. After returning to civilian life and unloading a railroad car with a shovel, he decided to pursue an education so he would not have to make a living “with his back.”
Mel studied civil engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and received a B.S. in civil engineering in 1949. Around this time, he married his wife, Anne, who helped him through his graduate education. He earned a master’s degree