Browse Prior Art Database

Biographies: Jan A. Rajchman

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129658D
Original Publication Date: 1990-Mar-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 8 page(s) / 35K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

ERIC A. WEISS: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

In an earlier issue of this journal, we reported on the fact that Jan A. Rajchman, a 40-year RCA veteran and inventor of magnetic core memories, died of heart failure in April 1989 in Princeton at the age of 77.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 11% of the total text.

Page 1 of 8

THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1990 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

Biographies: Jan A. Rajchman

ERIC A. WEISS, EDITOR

An Interview with Jan Rajchman

In an earlier issue of this journal, we reported on the fact that Jan A. Rajchman, a 40-year RCA veteran and inventor of magnetic core memories, died of heart failure in April 1989 in Princeton at the age of 77.

In that report, it was indicated that Radchman had given an interview in 1973 which contained an overview of his accomplishments at RCA, and that we hoped to reprint sections of that conversation as a tribute to him. The following (reprinted with permission from RCA Engineer, Vol. 19, No. 2, Aug./Sept. 1973) provides us with striking examples of Rajchman's imaginative inventions and illustrates his joyful spirit.

Early Schooling

Refresh us, Dr. Radchman, on your early life and education.

I was born in London of Polish parents. At an early age, we moved to Geneva, Switzerland, where I had my early education including high school, of course in the French language. Later I attended the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, where I graduated in electrical engineering in late 1934 (the studies there being in German).

How did you decide to come to America?

This was the period of the great depression, and jobs were difficult to obtain for young graduates either in Europe or the U.S.A. In my case there was the further complication of being a Polish citizen (though I could have claimed to be a British Subject by birth). I was a foreigner in Switzerland where I was educated.

However, in a sense, I was lucky in that I knew what I wanted in life -- that is to do inventive research work. I think I had a lot of enthusiasm and many ideas, including some on new ways of transmitting television. Also, I was very fascinated by Dr. Zworykin's publications on the iconoscope. So at the age of 24, I decided to go to America and try to work for Zworykin at the laboratories of RCA. To me the laboratory of RCA was an industrial laboratory devoted to the concept of inventive research and was most appealing among the laboratories based on this concept being pioneered in America because of the audacity with which it was promoting electronics, then the newest of all technologies that promised to make television a reality.

With the help of my family I came to America as a classical immigrant. And like many before me, I am very grateful, as eventually I found in America not only the life work I was aspiring to but also a country I could call my own. But I am ahead of my story.

This was the Spring of 1935. Almost immediately I went to RCA in Camden, N.J. where I was interviewed by Dr. Irving Wolff, E.W. Kellogg, P.G. Cooper, and C.M. Burrill. I was told that I was

IEEE Computer Society, Mar 31, 1990 Page 1 IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 12 Number 2, Pages 137-146

Page 2 of 8

Bio...