Judith Arlene Resnik (1949-1986) was born in Akron, Ohio to Jewish-Russian immigrants from Ukraine. As a child she went to Hebrew school, then attended a public high school where she was the only female student to achieve a perfect SAT score. She went on to become an electrical engineer, eventually earning a Ph.D in the subject. Resnik first worked as a circuitry designer for tech giant RCA, as well as serving as a biomedical engineer for the National Institutes of Health (at the Laboratory of Neurophysiology) and a systems engineer for Xerox. In 1978 she joined NASA, going on her first space flight in 1984 on the maiden voyage of the space shuttle Discovery. That made her the first American Jew in space and the first Jewish woman in space. She quickly became beloved by the public for her on-board humour and space acrobatics. Resnik went on her second tour in space with the Challenger in January of 1986. Sadly, the mission ended quickly when the space shuttle tragically exploded in Earth’s atmosphere, killing all 7 crew members. It took nearly 6 weeks to find the crew compartment at the bottom of the ocean floor. Resnik’s body was among those that were identifiable. She was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. That same year, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) established the Judith A. Resnik Award for outstanding contributions to space engineering. The moon’s Resnik Lunar Crater is named in her honour.
Words of the Week
A man without a woman is not a man. – Rabbi Elazar (Talmud, Yevamot 63a)
Nathan Rosen (1909-1995) was born in Brooklyn and studied at MIT during the Great Depression. While still young, he published several famous papers, including ‘The Neutron’, which predicted the structure of the nucleus a year before it was discovered. Between 1935 and 1945 he was Albert Einstein’s personal assistant at Princeton. Together, they discovered (mathematically) a “bridge” connecting distant areas of space – now called a wormhole. With Einstein’s encouragement, Rosen moved to the nascent State of Israel and joined Haifa’s Technion in 1953. He later served as President of Ben-Gurion University, founded the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the Physical Society of Israel, and the International Society for General Relativity and Gravitation. Aside from all this, he is most famous for coming up with the well-known “EPR Paradox” together with Einstein and a fellow Jewish scientist named Podolsky (hence “EPR”).
Boris Yakovlevich Podolsky (1896-1966) was born in Russia to a poor Jewish family which immigrated to the U.S. in 1913. He served in the US Army and worked as an electrical engineer before returning to school and earning a PhD from Caltech. In 1933 he was given a fellowship at Princeton, which led to his collaboration with Einstein and Rosen on the EPR Paradox. Interestingly, some have suggested that Podolsky was a Soviet spy, codenamed “Quantum”, and helped the Soviets start their nuclear program during World War II. His major legacy, however, is in the great work he did on solving various complex physics problems of the day.
Words of the Week
Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think. – Albert Einstein