Don (known as Justy) was an active member of IEEE SCC28, which developed the IEEE C95 standards, a leader in the IEEE Committee on Man and Radiation (COMAR) as well as a leader in BEMS—in fact serving as President at one time.

Publications: Justy was a leading researcher on microwave bioeffects—in particular the “behavioral” effects. His early publication: N.W. King, D.R. Justesen, and R.L. Clarke, “Behavioral sensitivity to microwave irradiation,” Science, Vol. 172, p. 398, was republished in the IEEE Reprint Volume, which I edited and was published in 1983. (He was Associate Editor and wrote the Foreword.) He published several later publications that elaborated on this subject.

Two of his cogent papers were published in Eleanor R. Adair, Editor, Microwaves and Thermoregulation, Academic Press, New York, 1983, viz: “Sensory Dynamics of Intense Microwave Radiation: A Comparative Study of Aversive Behaviors by Mice and Man”, pp. 203-230; and “The Brain is the Organ of Longevity: Introduction to G. A. Sacher’s Free-Energy Hypothesis of Life-Span Enhancement,” pp. 461-477. The first paper cited here expanded the theme of his earlier papers and the second was an example of his courageous exploration of new and even bold new ideas related to microwave energy.

SCC28: I believe that Justy was in the small group that met at the University of Washington where Bill Guy organized to develop the core basis of the ANSI C95.1-1982 standard, which included dosimetry reflecting absorption by the human body and its resonance as well as a long-term limit based on extrapolation of animal data on behavioral disruption. This made these long-term limits quite conservative since the disruption is at relatively low levels compared to levels for harmful thermal effects with possible lasting damage.

In the 1980’s he also was a member of NCRP Scientific Committee 53 and helped promulgate the two-tier framework NCRP guidelines, which included a 30 minute averaging time for the lower tier (uncontrolled environment). The NCRP guidelines, in part, served as a basis for IEEE Std C95.1-1991.

Justy supported Eleanor Adair and her support of the Pound proposal for using microwaves to heat humans to comfortable levels as a means of reducing energy consumption in the home. He was a key participant at the symposium in 1980—the Proceedings of which is cited above. He was always generously cooperative with industry in organizing seminars—e.g., at Raytheon Company or at meetings of the Electromagnetic Energy Association.

IEEE COMAR: My most memorable moments of Justy relate to his leadership in COMAR—of which he was Chairman from 1977-1980.

During his chairmanship, he organized and led a successful workshop (as part of a larger IEEE program) in the halls of Congress in 1978, cf. Justesen D.R., Guy, A. W., Osepchuk, J.M. , Sutton, C. H. and Hunt, E.L., “Workshop on Radiation,”Proc. 1978 Conference on U. S. Technological Policy, pp. 1 – 10, IEEE, NY, 1979

Also a top hallmark of his campaign to debunk irrational fears was his famous paper: Justesen, D. R., “Diathermy versus the microwaves and other radio-frequency radiations: A rose by another name is a cabbage,” Radio science, Vol. 12, May-June, 1977. In this paper he explored the ironic difference in accepting beneficial high-level radiation in diathermy while fearing very low levels from various transmitters, including the relatively benign VDT (Visual Display Terminal)—the precursor of the flat displays in modern computers. He was a defender of the C95.1 standard when it was attacked, whether from outside the IEEE by Paul Brodeur or from the inside by the fledgling Society on Social Implications of Technology.

His wisdom in dealing with these fears was well illustrated in the following anecdote. He was asked if he could guarantee the safety of children in a school building which had a low-power digital radio (DR-18) transmitter on its roof. He refused to give an absolute guarantee but the explained his refusal by making the following comparison: “I will not guarantee that the sun will rise tomorrow. And if asked which has the higher probability, the sun not rising or the DR-18 causing physical damage to the body, I would have to say that I would be less surprised by the absence of the sun.”

Justy was a true renaissance man of broad knowledge and God-given wisdom. He was a great contributor to the work, especially within the IEEE, towards a scientifically based and popularly accepted standard for the safe use of electromagnetic energy. He will be greatly missed but his ideas live on.

John M. Osepchuk, Ph. D.
November 15, 2014.