Enabling Scientific Advances

Isidore Poppick was born to immigrants from the Ukraine. He received a degree in Chemistry from the City College of New York (CCNY). While at CCNY, he was involved in the study of nuclear fusion with some of the most prominent nuclear scientists at the time. He had a published paper as an undergraduate in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Following graduation, he joined the Air Force where he served in the Pacific Theater. Returning from the war effort, he began to apply for jobs. Aware of antisemitism, Isidore changed his name to Martin Pope. He applied for a job with American Cyanamid using both names. He cited his publication on his Isadore application, but not on his Martin application. Isidore was told there were no positions available while Martin was given an application.

Martin took a job with Balco Research Laboratories as a research scientist. He took time off from Balco to get a Ph.D. and then returned to Balco. While Martin’s work at Balco was successful and led to two patents, he wasn’t happy with the pressure to produce commercial work

Martin joined New York University (NYU) as a research scientist. He was a very productive scholar who shunned publicity. His research contributed fundamental understanding in several areas of science. Martin commented on his research: “I did not have the faintest idea that it would become of worldwide importance.” In fact, scientists using his basic research won Nobel Prizes.

In spite of Martin’s lack of interest in the commercial use of his work, the work that he did can now be found in devices such as digital cameras, mobile phones, solar panels, and TV’s. While his work became a commercial success he never sought any financial benefit from it.

Martin passed away at the age of 103 and remained active for most of his life. Martin Pope, like many hidden heroes, shunned publicity. Their passion is their work and they don’t need to be motivated by external recognition. They have their own sense of achievement.

* * *

The Seven Social Sins are:

            Wealth without work
Pleasure without conscience
Knowledge without character
Commerce without morality
Science without humanity
Religion without sacrifice
Politics without principle
– Frederick Lewis Donaldson (Minister)

How To Use

Useful guides for incorporating messages into discussion.