Steve Cleary, whose career in microwave research spanned from the military’s Tri-Service program in the late 1950s to the cell phone industry’s sham project in the 1990s, died at home on June 7 of a heart attack. He leaves his wife, Fran, four daughters and ten grandchildren. He was 79.
Cleary was a professor of biophysics at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond from 1964 to 2002. Like many other radiobiologists of his generation, he was trained at the University of Rochester. He later got his PhD at New York University under Merril Eisenbud, a former senior health official at the Atomic Energy Commission. Cleary’s doctoral thesis was the first epidemiological study of the impact of microwaves on the eyes. He detected a significant increase in the incidence of defects in the lenses of military personnel who had long-term exposure, a rare published report of an adverse finding.