Thursday, December 6, 2012

Joseph Tykociner

Photo Credit: University of Illinois Archives
I first met Joseph Tykociner when I was a graduate student at the University of Illinois. I had enrolled in his seminar course on Zetetics in 1967, which was shortly before his death in 1969 when he was well into his 90s.  He was a frail old man, but he was fascinating, both in terms of his own personal background, and in the contents of the seminar course.

Of course, you should know that he is generally credited as being the first person to successfully put a sound track on film.  He had also been responsible for early work with Marconi in the first transatlantic wireless radio wave communications in 1901, and successfully worked for the Russian Navy on the establishment of wireless communications for their fleet in 1904.  I remember the day we were invited to his house and he showed us the medal he received from the Czar of Russia for his achievements.

Can you imagine this, here we stand in 2012 and I am talking about conversations with a person who was doing pioneering work at the end of the 19th century.

As I got to know him better, my admiration of his achievements grew immensely.  I think the best way to communicate my experiences with him is to first cover his lifelong accomplishments, and then the content of the seminar I participated in, before continuing on to his contributions to humankind.

I'm gong to deal with this post differently than other posts. I am going to just post this part out now and then modify it as I collect my thoughts on the rest of the post.  If you want to add something about him (information about him, while available, is not the most detailed) just send an email or comment on it below and I will incorporate it, if appropriate.

I found a good biography on him in an article in Gazeta: Newsletter of the American Association of Polish-Jewish Studies, 2006 vol. 13, no. 3.

I have a copy of his book Outline of Zetetics somewhere around here. I will dig that out also. It has been more than a few years since I have looked in there. I notice that while Amazon still lists the book, they say that it is out of print and they do not have any copies for sale. Yet, when I did a search on , Amazon has one used copy at $150. I guess I was right that the book is a treasure.

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