Eugene I. Rabinowitch: A prophet of photosynthesis and of peace in the world

Abstract

More than 45 years have passed since Eugene I. Rabinowitch died, on May 15, 1973, at the age of 75, but many still remember him as a photosynthesis giant, the author of a 2000-page “Bible” on photosynthesis, a great chemist and physicist, a discoverer of several basic photoreactions, one of the founders of modern biophysics, a peacemaker, a poet, an architect, an artist, a wonderful human being, and above all a great mentor. Sir John Rotblatt cited Eugene Rabinowitch, together with Bertrand Russell, for their key contributions that led to the Nobel Peace Prize awarded in 1995 jointly to Rotblatt and the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs “for their efforts to diminish the part played by nuclear arms in international politics and, in the longer run, to eliminate such arms.” Already in 1965, Eugene Rabinowitch had received the prestigious Kalinga Prize from UNESCO “in recognition of his work to encourage international cooperation among scientists and to bring to light the potential dangers of science to the public.”

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Fig. 1

(source: Rabinowitch Family Archives)

Fig. 2

(source: Rabinowitch Family Archives)

Fig. 3

(source: Rabinowitch Family Archives)

Fig. 4

(source: Govindjee Family Archives; Fig. 1 (top) in Govindjee 2019)

Fig. 5

(source: Govindjee Family Archives; Fig. 2 in Eaton-Rye 2018)

Fig. 6

(source: Govindjee Family Archives; for another picture with Ted Mar, see Fig. 2, 3rd row, left in Eaton-Rye 2007)

Notes

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Material shows three additional photographs of Eugene Rabinowitch: Figure S1 (a 1925 photograph when he was a student in Germany); Figure S2 (a 1957 photograph showing him sizing up his height with that of Rajni (Govindjee’s wife), at her wedding reception; and Figure S3 (a 1964 photo of Eugene receiving a Honorary Degree at Dartmouth).

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Acknowledgment

We thank Barbara Zilinskas to have suggested changes in an earlier version of our manuscript that led to improvement of our presentation. We are equally grateful to Robert Blankenship and to Julian Eaton-Rye for important suggestions.

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Govindjee, Papageorgiou, G.C. & Govindjee, R. Eugene I. Rabinowitch: A prophet of photosynthesis and of peace in the world. Photosynth Res 141, 143–150 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11120-019-00641-w

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Keywords

  • James Franck
  • Robert Emerson
  • Chlorophyll
  • Photogalvanic effect
  • Difference absorption spectroscopy
  • Bulletin of Atomic Scientists
  • Kalinga Award