Those Who Glorified the Name of Our Town (cont.)
Dr. Lew Kowarski
Doctor of Engineering, Lew
Kowarski, was a famous French physicist and engineer. He was the son of Natan
of Svintsyan (grandchild of Asher Kovarsky).
Lew was born in 1907 in
Petersburg (Leningrad). He graduated from the high school in Vilna. He
studied in various institutes of higher learning: in Belgium at G.A.N.D.
and in France in Leon and Paris. He received his degree in Chemical
Engineering from the University of Leon and received his doctorate in physics
from the University of Paris.
During the years from
1937-1940, Lew Kowarski worked as the chief assistant to Professor
Joliot-Curie, the most famous physicist in France.
With the defeat of France by
the Nazis, this citizen of our city became a world hero. He took a very
courageous step involving great personal risk. Lew saved all the patents and
the heavy water that were in French hands and transferred them, with great
difficulty involving crossing mountains and borders, to [safety in] England.
At this time, this was the only quantity [of heavy water] in the entire world,
and this material is well known for its great importance in atomic research.
As a result of his courage, he
prevented the risk of having secrets of this research leak out to the Nazis,
and it is possible that this changed the fortune of the world forever.
These details are given for the
first time by Margaret Gowing in the official report that is based on official
documents. She was the administrator of the archives of the Department of
Atomic Energy in Britain. In her book Britain and Atomic Energy:1939-45
(published at the end of 1964), she describes Britain's struggle to use the
atom in times of war, and among other things, she released details about the
scientist Lew Kowarski, who occupies an important place in this historical
event. (The information was known before but unofficially.)
In England, Lew Kowarski joined
as chief scientist/officer working in the British Department of Scientific and
Industrial Nuclear Engineering Research. His contribution is greater than
anyone else's in this area in the world to date. In addition, without this
historical fact of saving the research and the heavy water, etc., it is
possible that the atomic bomb would not have been ready until after the war.
Doctor of Engineering Lew
Kowarski, was awarded the Medal of Excellence by the French government, making
him a Knight of the Legion of Honor and giving him the position of head of the
Department of Nuclear Engineering in the Department of Atomic Energy in France.
He was responsible for building the first two French nuclear reactors
(designing the building and the layout of the lab.)
Lew was [also] in charge of
building the first Canadian reactor tshmk when he was at the
Department of Scientific and Industrial Research in Montreal (1945) and in
Cambridge, England (DZ'YR).
Dr. Kowarski wrote much about
nuclear subjects including nuclear physics, the physics of reactors, technology
of reactors, and about the organization of nuclear research. He was also a
member of The American Society of Nuclear Scientists and belonged to the
American Physics Society.
He was the
scientist/administrator of the French delegation to the European Organization
for Nuclear Research Commission of Nuclear Energy, or CERN, near Geneva,
* The initials of the name of the school. Trans.
** DZ'YR is a device used to detect radioactivity. Trans.
Engineer Yosef Polonski, the
son of a rabbi [who served] in the holy city of Svintsyan [from] 1922-32, was
born in 1913 and graduated from high school in Svintsyan, after which his
family moved to Libau, Latvia, where his father, Manus Iser, became the chief
rabbi. At that time, Yosef moved to France to study in the Technical Institute
As an engineer, he worked at
the top levels of the service for radio signals in the French Company,
Thompson-Hussin. Now he is the chief technician and administrator of the
television department of the French radio company. This department does
research, builds and plans television and radio facilities (studios, receiving
equipment, Hertz equipment) commercial, and military television as it involves
Y. Polonski was a member of the
advisory committee of the French Electronic and Radio-electric company. He was
in charge of the television courses and of the Electronic Institute in Grenoble.
He was excited about all the
questions in cellular biology, and he devoted some of his time to developing
electronic tools which combine biological sciences and electronics.
In the year 1958, he published
a detailed article on the functions of living cells and electronics in
cybernetics. He also wrote 2 papers for the Danish Academy of Sciences about
the electronics of DNA in the major molecules of genetic chromosomes.
Mr. Y. Polonski was also a
member of the International Federation for Medical Electronics and President of
the Department of Biological and Medical Electronics in the French company
Electronics and Radio and Electricity.
Professor Ze'ev (Bill) Reznick
was born in Chicago, the son of Raphael ben Ze'ev Reznick of Svintsyan. He
studied at Purdue University and at the University of Michigan. He taught in
the Technical Institute of Illinois in the United States.
National loyalty comes
naturally to the people of our city and is inherited by their children.
Israel's getting its
independence encouraged him to immigrate to Israel. He immediately joined the
academic staff of the Technion
in order to share with his people his wide knowledge of chemical engineering
and his many years of experience. Young engineering students who graduated
from the Technion tell about it. They worked with him in the field of
chemistry in the laboratories of Haifa and the Weitzman Institute of Rekhovot.
Ze'ev Reznick was appointed
vice-president of the Technion in Haifa and Dean of the Faculty of Chemical
Engineering. He is still Vice-President in Charge of Research.
He was recently appointed to
teach in the new Faculty of Chemical Engineering that was established by the
Wolfson Foundation as a special gift to Israel.
* In Haifa. Trans. Back
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