• Rick Stieff
    It is with a heavy heart and profound sadness that I am informing our radon community of the passing of another of our industry’s early pioneers. My father, Lorin Rollins Stieff, passed away last week at the age of 97 after a prolonged illness.

    Lorin had an extremely creative mind, and had been granted numerous patents during his lifetime, some before entering college. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology, immediately went into the Navy serving as a junior officer aboard the USS South Dakota in the South Pacific, and at the conclusion of World War II attended Stanford University where he obtained a Master’s Degree in Geology. After graduating from Stanford, he went to work for the US Geological Survey and co-authored the definitive work on the characterization of the Colorado Plateau regarding uranium ore deposits – using radon gas as one of the basic “prospecting” tools. After retiring from the USGS, he went to work for the International Atomic Energy Agency – where he met and worked with Gustav Akerblom.

    The genesis of Rad Elec is an interesting story, and is closely intertwined with Lorin’s career. He was one of the “original” founders of Rad Elec and served for many years as the Chairman of its Board of Directors. After retiring from the IAEA, he founded Stieff Reseach & Development Company (SRDCO) and, among other things, set about trying to understand exactly how radon gas was being transported through the soil. He (along with Jack Dempsey) came up with the idea of using an electret ion chamber to obtain in situ field measurements using radon as a tracer gas for uranium exploration. The demand for uranium ore declined at about the same time that radon gas was being recognized as a serious health risk, and the electret ion chamber was re-designed to measure indoor radon concentrations. After Lorin and Jack submitted a proposal to New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to commercially develop an electret ion chamber, Dr. Paul Kotrappa came to the USA to work for SRDCO under the NYSERDA grant – and the rest is history.

    Lorin’s life-long goal was in the peaceful pursuit of nuclear energy. His contributions to the radon industry were often behind the scenes; however, he felt closely connected to the radon community and he attended many of the early AARST Symposiums and authored numerous publications. He was instrumental in funding and guiding Rad Elec during its early days, and devoted most of his efforts to the geological aspects of radon – radon flux measurements for uranium prospecting (in 2014 the largest new uranium deposit in the world was found using the E-PERM technology), radon flux measurements for mill tailing sites, and gamma measurements around nuclear power plants.

    Lorin was at heart a scientist. He was a creative, gentle, kind, and loving man – and he will be missed by his family and his many friends.

    Rick Stieff
  • Calvin Murphy
    Rick, I am terribly sorry to hear about your dad's passing. I was not aware of his history with radon. This is quite a tribute. - Calvin Murphy
  • William J Angell
    Rick and family, I am sorry to hear of this loss as well as Paul Kotrappa's passing. The stories you told of your dad's contributions are very important. Bill Angell
  • Adam Michels
    Rick, Very sorry for your loss. What an amazing story! Very thankful for his contributions and dedication.
  • Tammy Linton
    I am so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful tribute to your dad's life and all his accomplishments. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.
  • Chrystine Kelley
    My sincerest condolences on your loss, what a legacy he left behind! Chrys
  • Carolyn Koke
    Thank you, Rick, for sharing the story of how E-PERMs came to be. Lorin R. Stieff was one of the kindest and most intellectually curious people I have ever met. He shared his knowledge openly and encouraged scientific inquiry, especially regarding radon and electret ion chamber technology, as only a true scientist can. I was lucky to spend time Lorin, Dr. Kotrappa and Jack Dempsey in the early days of Rad Elec's growth. Their collaborative work on different applications of electret technology was vibrant and exciting. Our industry will be forever bettered by Lorin's dedication. I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to his family and friends.
  • Dave Hanneson
    It is sad to hear of Lorin's passing, but an honor to have known an worked with him.
    Projects were always interesting and informative when Lorin Stieff was involved.
    He was certainly a real visionary and a skilled organizer.
  • Nicole Chazaud
    Dear Rick and the entire Stieff Family,
    What a loss, and what a long and wonderful life! 97! I missed this posting earlier today when I wrote to you.
    You are all in my thoughts,
    Nicole Chazaud
  • Kevin M Stewart
    Such a scientist. Such a soul. In your grief, Rick, may you also feel blessed. You've reminded us of how much we unknowingly stand upon the shoulders of giants.
Add a Comment

Welcome to the Radon ListServ!

Join Radon ListServ Categories that pique your interests and area of expertise.