E. Gail de Planque

Eileen Gail de Planque (also Eileen Gail de Planque Burke, best known as E. Gail de Planque; 1944 September 8, 2010) was an American nuclear physicist. An expert on environmental radiation measurements, she was the first woman and first health physicist to become a Commissioner at the US government's Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).[1] Her technical areas of expertise included environmental radiation, nuclear facilities monitoring, personnel dosimetry, radiation shielding, radiation transport, and solid state dosimetry.[2][3]


Born in New Jersey and raised in Maryland,[4] Planque earned her bachelor's degree from Immaculata College (Mathematics, 1967), Master's degree from the Newark College of Engineering (Physics, 1973), and PhD from New York University (Environmental health science, 1983).[3][5] From 1967 until 1982, she worked as a physicist for the Atomic Energy Commission.[6] She joined the Environmental Measurements Laboratory, US Department of Energy as its deputy director in 1982, and was promoted to director five years later. From 1991-95, she was a member of the NRC. In 1997, Planque chaired a planning committee, Celebration of Women in Engineering, which developed conferences that encouraged women to choose careers in engineering and included the development of the website EngineerGirl.[3]

A Fellow of the American Nuclear Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Planque was also a member of the National Academy of Engineering,[7] Association of Women in Science, and the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements. She served as president of the ANS (1988–89),[4] and Health Physics Society; as well as the co-chair of Committee for International Intercomparison of Environmental Dosimeters. In the late 1970s, Planque was a US expert delegate to the international committee for Development of an International Standard on Thermoluminescence Dosimetry.[3]

Personal life

Planque was married to Frank Burke.[8] She lived in New York City,[9] and Potomac, Maryland.[10] Planque died in 2010.[11]



  1. Cox, Morgan; Richard Griffith; Hans Julius; Joe McDonald (24 December 2010). "Obituary". Radiation Protection Dosimetry. 142 (1): 3. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  2. "About NRC: Our Organization: The Commission: Former Commissioners: Dr. E. Gail de Planque". United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
  3. Wayne, Tiffany K. (2011). American Women of Science Since 1900: Essays A-H. Vol.1. ABC-CLIO. pp. 341–. ISBN 978-1-59884-158-9.
  4. "E. Gail de Planque". The Star-Ledger. September 26, 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  5. "In Memoriam: E. Gail de Planque". Health Physics Society. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  6. Lubenau, CHP, Joel O. "In Memoriam: E. Gail de Planque". Health Physics Society. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  7. "E. Planque". Forbes. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  8. "Dr. E. Gail de Planque". The Hartford Courant on. September 26, 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  9. United States. National Bureau of Standards (1976). Measurements for the safe use of radiation: proceedings of an NBS 75th anniversary symposium held at the National Bureau of Standards, Gaithersburg, Maryland, March 14, 1976. NBS : for sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Office. p. 436.
  10. Committee on the Impact of Selling the Federal Helium Reserve; Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications; Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems; Board on Physics and Astronomy; National Materials Advisory Board; National Research Council (23 May 2000). The Impact of Selling the Federal Helium Reserve. National Academies Press. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-309-07038-6.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. "GAIL DE PLANQUE Obituary". The New York Times. 2010-10-08. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
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