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    The Polish Nobel Laureates series: Jerzy Charpak

    Jerzy Charpak, also known as Georges Charpak, was a Polish-born French physicist, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his invention and development of particle detectors, in particular the multiwire proportional chamber in 1992. Charpak’s family moved from Poland to Paris when he was seven years old, beginning his study of mathematics in 1941 at the Lycée Saint Louis. The actor and film director André Charpak was his younger brother.

    Interview with Professor Georges Charpak by Joanna Rose, science writer, 6 December 2001. 

    Charpak didn’t really speak Polish. He learned the language during his school days, but later he did not use it and spoke mostly French. During World War II, he was active in the resistance movement. For this activity, the Vichy France government authorities sentenced him to 2 years’ imprisonment. His biography also includes the time spent in the German extermination camp in Dachau, where he stayed from 1944 to 1945. One year after the end of the war, Charpak was granted French citizenship. In France, he attended secondary schools in Montpellier and Paris.

    In France, Charpak was a very strong advocate for nuclear power. Charpak was a member of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. In 1959, he joined the staff of CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Geneva, where he invented and developed the multiwire proportional chamber. The chamber was patented and that quickly superseded the old bubble chambers, allowing for better data processing.​ Later, in 1980, Georges Charpak became professor-in-residence at ESPCI in Paris. He developed and demonstrated the powerful applications of the particle detectors he invented, most notably for enabling better health diagnostics there. Also, he was the co-founder of a number of start-up in the biolab arena, including Molecular Engines Laboratories, Biospace Instruments and SuperSonic Imagine – together with Mathias Fink.

    We encourage you to check the rest of the articles regarding the Polish Nobel laureates series:  

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    THE POLISH NOBEL LAUREATES SERIES: ALBERT A. MICHELSON

    THE POLISH NOBEL LAUREATES SERIES: WŁADYSŁAW REYMONT

    THE POLISH NOBEL LAUREATES SERIES: ISIDOR ISAAC RABI

    THE POLISH NOBEL LAUREATES SERIES: TADEUSZ REICHSTEIN

    THE POLISH NOBEL LAUREATES SERIES: ANDRZEJ SCHALLY

    THE POLISH NOBEL LAUREATES SERIES: MENACHEM BEGIN

    THE POLISH NOBEL LAUREATES SERIES: ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER

    THE POLISH NOBEL LAUREATES SERIES: CZESŁAW MIŁOSZ

    THE POLISH NOBEL LAUREATES SERIES: ROALD HOFFMANN

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