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Society for Risk Analysis Inducts Five Individuals to the Pantheon of Risk Analysis

Jan. 2, 2018

The Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) announced its 2017 inductees to the Pantheon of Risk Analysis at its Annual Meeting, Dec. 10-14, in Arlington, Virginia, USA. The Pantheon recognizes luminaries and visionaries in risk analysis and illustrates how risk analysis contributes to the advance of knowledge and public good. The 2017 inductees to the Pantheon are the following: 

Economics of risk and insurance: Kenneth Arrow (1921-2017) was a Nobel-winning economist and leader in the field of economic theory. His works include contributions to social choice theory, notably “Arrow’s impossibility theorem,” and general equilibrium analysis. He provided foundational work in endogenous growth theory and the economics of information. Arrow was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal in 1957 and was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1959. He was a joint winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1972 and received the von Neumann Theory Prize in 1986. In 2004, he received the US National Medal of Science for research contributions to decisions with imperfect information and risk-bearing. In 2009, Arrow was presented with the SRA Distinguished Achievement Award and gave a presentation at the Society’s Annual Meeting.

Environmental toxicology: Rachel Carson (1907-1964) advanced the global environmental movement and stimulated the entire field of environmental toxicology. In the 1950s, Carson studied conservation with a particular interest in problems caused by synthetic pesticides. Carson’s classic book Silent Spring spurred a reversal in US national pesticide policy that led to the nationwide ban on DDT. Her work was essential to a grassroots environmental movement that resulted in the 1970 creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency along with similar agencies worldwide. Carson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by the US President Jimmy Carter. 

Technology and society: Ursula Franklin (1921-2016) contributed to the understanding of technology in its political and social contexts. Franklin described how a dominance of prescriptive technologies, those associated with a division of labor in large-scale production in modern society, discourages critical thinking and promotes rote compliance to authority. She received numerous awards for her efforts on social justice, including the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case for promoting the equality of girls and women in Canada and worldwide, and the Pearson Medal of Peace for advancing human rights. In 2012, she was inducted to the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame. 

Reproductive health: Jane Hodgson (1915-2006) made strides in reproductive health as an obstetrician, gynecologist, and reproductive epidemiologist. Her fifty-year career focused on understanding and providing reproductive health care, including access to abortions. For her work, Hodgson received the Christopher Tietze Humanitarian Award in 1981 from the National Abortion Federation as well as the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Margaret Sanger Award in 1995 and the American Medical Women’s Association’s National Reproductive Health Award in 1994. She was inducted to the International Women in Medicine Hall of Fame in 2001. 

Occupational health and safety: Frances Perkins (1880-1965) made contributions to occupational health and safety as a sociologist and workers-rights advocate, serving as the US Secretary of Labor from 1935 to 1945. Perkins executed many aspects of the New Deal, including the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Public Works Administration and the Federal Works Agency and the labor portion of the National Industrial Recovery Act. Her efforts characterized and reduced workplace accidents. She led reform of child-labor laws and, through the Fair Labor Standards Act, established minimum wage and overtime laws for workers. Her efforts resulted in unemployment benefits and pensions for elderly Americans and welfare for the poorest Americans through the Social Security Act. 

These five individuals join the 56 previous inductees of the SRA Pantheon of Risk Analysis, http://www.sra.org/pantheon-risk-analysis. Leading to the 2018 SRA Annual Meeting in New Orleans USA and the 2019 SRA Fifth World Congress on Risk in Cape Town, South Africa, the nominations for future Pantheon inductees should be sent to the Executive Secretary or to the immediate Past President of the Society.

Melanie Preve