Kistiakowsky, George Bohdan

Kistiakowsky, George Bohdan [Кістяковський, Юрій; Kistjakovs’kyj, Jurij], b 18 November 1900 in Kyiv, d 7 December 1982 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. Physical chemist; member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States (vice-president, 1965–71) and full member of the Shevchenko Scientific Society; son of Bohdan Kistiakovsky. He fled from Ukraine after the Bolshevik takeover and obtained a PH D from the University of Berlin (1925). He immigrated to the United States and taught at Princeton University (1926–30) and at Harvard University, where he became professor of chemistry in 1938, chairman of the Chemistry Department (1947–50), and professor emeritus in 1971. Kistiakowsky was the chief of the explosives division of the National Defense Research Committee during the development of the atomic bomb (1944–6), for which he developed the detonator. In addition to his academic work, much of it related to explosives, he often advised the federal government, serving as science adviser to President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1959–61) and as a member of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (1961–9), where he devoted all of his efforts to the prevention of nuclear war through arms control. He received numerous awards and honorary degrees, and published over 150 articles, mainly in the areas of chemical kinetics, thermodynamics of organic molecules, molecular spectroscopy, and shock and detonation waves.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]

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