Improving Health Through Medical Physics

IN MEMORIUM - Edward L. Nickoloff, DSc

Mahadevappa Mahesh, PhD | Baltimore, MD

AAPM Newsletter — Volume 44 No. 3 — May | June 2019

It is with sadness I am writing this column to share the news about Dr. Edward L. Nickoloff passing away on March 11, 2019 after a long illness and also to talk about his invaluable contributions to the profession of medical physics.

Dr. Nickoloff was born in Harrisburg, PA and attended Central Dauphin High School, Carnegie Tech, Lebanon Valley College, the University of New Hampshire, where he received a Master of Science degree, and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, where he received a Doctor of Science degree with Distinction in 1977.

Dr. Nickoloff was an Emeritus Professor of Radiology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Chief Hospital Physicist at the Columbia University Medical Center for 33 years. He had lectured extensively at scientific conferences across the country; wrote two books on the subject of Radiation Physics - one of which was used extensively in Radiology Residency programs across the USA; published 150 journal articles, 57 peer reviewed journal articles, and 87 abstracts; and held 24 offices in professional organizations.

Among his many professional affiliations throughout his career, he held twenty-four positions including: President of The Radiological and Medical Physics Society of New York (RAMPS), Chairman of the American College of Medical Physicists (ACMP), and Secretary of the American Board of Medical Physics (APMP). He has been honored and given the titles of Fellow of the American College of Radiology (FACR), The American Association of Physicists in Medicine (FAAPM), The American College of Medical Physics (FACMP) and the Heath Physics Society (HPS). Throughout his career, he received dozens of honors and awards. Among them are a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Upstate NY Association of Physicists in Medicine, the AAPM Edith Quimby Lifetime Achievement Award and the Marvin Williams, M.D. Award from the AAPM/ACMP. He also received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Lebanon Valley College. The President of Columbia University awarded Dr. Nickoloff the permanent title of Professor Emeritus of Radiology and Medical Physics for his 33 years of service to the University.

A colleague of Dr. Nickoloff, Ajoy Dutta, had the following to say:
“I began working with Dr. Nickoloff in February of 1989. As I was completely new to the profession, he became my boss and mentor closely supervising my performance and fostering my growth as a physicist. In addition to teaching me the fundamental techniques of the job, he also instilled in me the ethos of putting the patient's needs and comfort level above all else. He always reminded me that our job was to give the patient the kind of care and attention we would want for our own loved ones. This meticulousness and integrity earned him an unparalleled reputation in the field and set a standard for excellence for all those who followed. Of course, after working together so closely for such a long time, I was lucky to call Ed a true friend. We travelled across the country submitting papers, and shared countless lunches, dinners, laughs and memories. I, along with all those who had the privilege of knowing him, will never forget him.”

I knew Ed for a long time, as he graduated from Johns Hopkins and worked for few years before I joined Hopkins, we always enjoyed talking about our common friends. He was very dedicated and passionate medical physicist. One distinct note I recall about his presentation was the color graphics he used. Even though it was annoying sometimes to see so many colors in his charts, his insights into the measurements were always valuable.

He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Diane (Zambetti); daughter, Andrea; son, Edward Jr., and daughter-in-law, Katarina. He was an avid reader, Jack of all trades, and outdoorsman.

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