Saul J. Harris was born in New York City, New York, on January 4, 1923. He received his B. S. in Physics from Queens College in 1943. He began his graduate work in Electrical Engineering at M. I. T. in 1943 but soon after entered the U. S. Army Signal Corps. Harris served in the U. S. Army from 1943 to 1946.
In 1946, Harris went to work for Western Electric Company in New York City as an engineer. From 1947 to 1951, Harris was a research associate and health physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York. From 1951 to 1955, Harris worked as a radiation physicist at the New York State Department of Labor. During this time, Harris chaired the New York State Advisory Committee that developed the first state comprehensive radiation protection code. Harris was manager of State and Local Activities at Atomic Industrial Forum, Inc., from 1955 to 1959.
In 1959, Harris received his M. S. in Industrial Management Engineering from Columbia University. From 1959 to 1961, Harris was a technical sales associate for Baird-Atomic Inc. in Valley Stream, New York. Harris worked his way up to Regional Radiological Health Representative and Acting Regional Environmental Control Director for Region II (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico) of the U. S. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare, a position that he held from 1961 to 1972. In 1963, Harris entered the graduate program in Public Administration at New York University and began work on his dissertation. He served as chairman of the New York Regional Conference on Radiological Health from 1961 to 1973 and directed New York City's Radiation Control Program from 1972 to 1975. From 1975 to 1978, Harris was the Nuclear Advisor for the National Association of Electric Companies.
A prolific author on atomic and nuclear energy, Harris wrote State Activities in Atomic Energy and The Impact of the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy on State and Local Government, published in 1958 and Nuclear Power Safety Economics, 1961.
In addition to his experience in the health industry, Saul Harris was also interested in politics. In 1978, he ran as the Republican candidate for the 5th Congressional district of Maryland, which included northern Prince George's County and the Takoma Park region of Montgomery County. Harris eventually lost the election to Gladys Noon Spellman, the Democratic incumbent. After his failed election campaign, Harris set up a St. Louis Chapter of the Health Physics Society. Until his death on October 15, 1983, in St. Louis, Missouri, Harris worked for the Union Electrical Company. Harris was married to Dorothy Davison Harris, with whom he had two sons, Mark and Robert.