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Alice Mary Stewart

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 13 July 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:106

Epidemiologist who showed that x rays in pregnancy caused childhood leukaemia and who took on the nuclear industry over safety issues

Alice Stewart, who retired aged 90 and who has died aged 95, was one of Britain's foremost epidemiologists. She showed that x rays in pregnancy caused childhood leukaemia. She demonstrated that low level radiation was far more serious than had been officially accepted and she championed the cause of people exposed to radiation.

The daughter of two paediatricians, Lucy and Albert Naish, who worked in the Sheffield slums, Alice was the third of eight children. She inherited from both parents a commitment to the betterment of society and a willingness to sacrifice financial gain to devote herself to the prevention rather than the cure of disease.

She was one of four women to enter the Cambridge medical school along with 300 men, who stamped their feet in unison when the women entered the lecture theatre and slammed their desk lids when they sat down. Her wide cultural …

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