Stamatios Krimigis Gives Lecture at Panchiaki Centennial Symposium
By Catherine Tsounis
He is a humble, simple person who enjoys communicating with the average person. His simple, down to earth language gives one the impression he is an average Greek-American. He never gives one the impression he is one of the greatest scientific minds of mankind. His space accomplishments are in the textbooks of our youth. In the mid to late 1970s, I was teaching Honors Science courses to junior high school students in the New York City school system. The science curriculum guide explicitly described the work of Dr. Stamatios Krimigis for an enrichment activity. I decided to teach a lesson on the material furnished in the curriculum book. His work on the solar system left an impression on my students, including his unique Greek name. A young American scientist recently told me “I would like to make a mark on scientific research as Dr. Stamatios Krimigis.”
The community of New York City had the unique honor of meeting Dr. Krimigis at the Panchiaki Korais Society, Inc. Centennial Symposium. The event was held on the occasion of its 100th Anniversary, 1912-2012, ON October 13th. The topic was Milestones in History: United States and Greece on Saturday, October 14th, at the Chian Federation, 44-01 Broadway, and Astoria, New York. Dr. Krimigis, of the Academy of Athens and Johns Hopkins University-Applied physics laboratory,’ topic was “Key Science Milestones and their Relevance to Chios”. Dr. Nikos Sergis of the Academy of Athens collaborated on the research.
New Yorkers had the honor of listening to Dr. Krimigis at the July 22nd, 2006 Annual Sophocles and Louisa Zoullas Hellenic Lecture hosted by Kimisis Tis Theotokou Greek Orthodox Church of the Hamptons. The lecture was entitled “Space and Beyond”. Dr. Peter Michalos, whose Chiote grandfather was one of the 6′ 7″ Evzone guards of the Greek Nation, Rev. Alexander Karloutsos and Nick Zoullas, were instrumental in presenting this outstanding lecture. For more information, visit https://www.helleniccomserve.com/tsouniskrimigis.html.
“Mitrodoros of Chios in the 4th century B.C. wrote in his manuscript “About Nature” ‘To hypothesize that Earth is the only inhabited place in the infinite universe is as irrational as to believe that in an entire field sowed with wheat only one seed will sprout.’ Oenopides of Chios (-450 B.C.) was the first to estimate the obliquity of the elliptic (the angle between Earth’s rotational and orbital axes). He derived a value of 24o while today we know this tilt to be 23.4o. In geometry, he introduced and established the difference between a theorem of geometry and a geometrical problem.”
Dr. Krimigis pointed out that “Throughout the centuries Chios, due to its location, has been a strategic objective of the Great Powers of each era. So, it was a member of the Delian League, an ally of Sparta, then of the Athenians (B’ Athenian Alliance), then Macedonia, Rome, Byzantine Empire, Genoa, and Ottoman Turks before its liberation on November 11, 1912. In most cases Chios, because of its commercial fleet, was a source of wealth for the allies/occupiers, and because of that it avoided major destruction (until 1822). The map of ancient Greece and vicinity at about 433 B.C. shows Chios is located in the center of the Hellenistic world, and is equidistant from the major commercial centers of that epoch.”
The scientist described the destruction of Chios that left 15% of the population. “Despite this catastrophe, within less than 20 years, Chios managed to recover and restore educational activities that went beyond elementary level. In 1840, Vrontados had a well-organized school where Mathematics and Nautical Arithmetics were taught by Georgios Skellas.” He is an ancestor of our koumbari, the late Thimoclea and Steve Skellas. I relayed this news to my cousin Jimmy who lives in Florida.
The scientist explained “A few years later, in 1852, Nautical Mathematics and Compass Use and Calibration are among the courses taught in the School of Vrontados by Antonios Patronas, with a detailed syllabus. They received recognition by the Observatory of Athens for contribution to navigation measurements.” My neighbor Virginia Tripolitis of Mattituck, New York asked “send me articles on Vrontados.” This is the final word on Vrontados contribution to science.
The story of a Chioti child sold into slavery was described. “Alexander Paspatis (1814-1891) was a medical doctor, epidemiologist and historian,” said Dr. Krimigis. “At the age of 8, he escaped the 1822 slaughter and was sold a slave in Smyrni. His own mother managed to buy him! She gave him for adoption to Marshall P. Wilder from Boston. He was educated as an epidemiologist in Amherst College and in Paris and Italy. He was the first to organize proper medical and financial hospital archives with detailed annual reports. He introduced statistical methods to study the spread of epidemic diseases and published significant results on cholera and tuberculosis. He spoke 16 languages!
George Pitaoulis (1871-1922), a medical doctor, served as Director of the Skylitsio Hospital (1904-1908). In November 1912, he participated in the battle of Epos in Chios, where he organized the medical support for the Greek troops, turning the church of St. George in Vrontados and schools in the broader area into a military hospital network.”
Dr. Krimigis described the career of King Otto’s personal doctor, Ioannis Vouros (1808-1885). “He was born in Chios of Chian parents,” explained the scientist. “He was educated in Chios, Chalki, Vienna and Paris, with support from A. Korais. He became the first Professor of Medicine in the newly established National University (1837). He created the first health legislation in Greece and is considered the founder of the medical system of liberated Greece.
Among other studies, he wrote the Pharmacopoeia, a pharmacy guide that was used for decades.”
“Blood Donation and blood transfusion in Greece was established by 2 Chiotes,” Dr. Krimigis. “Mathios Makkas (1879-1965), medical doctor, hematologist was the founder and organizer of the Blood Donation Service for the Greek Red Cross (1935). He served at Bonn University. Dr. Makkas is considered the father of blood donation in Greece. During World War II, he introduced the portable wooden blood freezers that were used in the Greek-Albanian front, saving countless lives. Mikes Paidousis (1906-1975), a medical doctor and hematologist was born in Kampos, Chios. He co-founded with Makkas the Blood Donation Service for the Greek Red Cross (1935). He was the first Director. In 1939, he performed the first blood transfusion with preserved blood in Greece. Dr. Paidousis received the Medal for Distinguished Service and the Hellenic War Cross.” Information on these doctors must be derived from Greek sources.
“Dimitris Pikionis (1887-1968), an architect, artist, academician is famous for his preservation work around the Acropolis,” he said. “He was a prolific writer….In 1966, he was elected a member of the Academy of Athens. He was the first Greek architect to support that Architecture is Art and Poetry. He used to say: ‘What we do has to be beautiful as well. The scorpion, for instance, is completely self-sufficient and perfect from a constructional point of view. Yet, humans think it disgusting and unnecessary, despite its constructional perfection.’”
His parents, Petros Pikionis and Maria Syrioti, were Chians….
Charalampos Bouras (1933- ), an architect in archaeological architecture studied in Thessaloniki and Paris. A professor of the History of Architecture (1966-2000), he has supervised the restoration of the Acropolis temples for the past 37 years (volunteer work).
In 2003, he was awarded Commander of the Order of Phoenix by the President of the Hellenic Republic for his exceptional work in the Acropolis.”
An amazing mathematician, Constantin Carathéodory (1873-1950), was described. “His Mother, Despina Petrokokkinou, came from a well-known family of Chios,” described the speaker. “Throughout his career Carathéodory collaborated with many famous colleagues:
Einstein, Minkowski, Hilbert, Klein and Schwarz. His great contribution was to the theory of real variable functions, calculus of variations and measure theory. His other famous theorems in mathematics include: Carathéodory theorem (convex hull); Carathéodory kernel theorem;
Carathéodory’s theorem (convex hull); Carathéodory’s theorem (measure theory);
Carathéodory’s existence theorem; Carathéodory’s extension theorem; Borel–Carathéodory theorem; Carathéodory-Jacobi-Lie theorem and Carathéodory kernel theorem……Axiomatic Formulation of Thermodynamics…Principle of Carathéodory …Geometrical Thermodynamics.
In 1919 E. Venizelos invited him to submit a plan for the creation of the Ionian University at Smyrna. In 1920 Carathéodory was appointed Dean of the Ionian University. He helped establish a modern institution which, however, never admitted students. During the catastrophe of Smyrna (1922), Carathéodory managed to save part of the library and was himself rescued at the last moment. He brought many university books to Athens, where he stayed until 1924 teaching at the University and Technical School. He was a member of the Academy of Athens since its foundation (1924).” Drama. A movie can be made on Dr. Carathéodory’s life.
Dr. Krimigis concluded his lecture by describing naval science. “Modern ship bridges sometimes look more like a NASA mission control room! Once upon a time being a kapetanios (captain) was relatively simple. Nowadays, it takes a scientist to make a captain or a professional in shipping. Chios continues to be the heart of Greece’s naval activity. The Department of Shipping, Trade and Transport of the University of the Aegean is based in Chios, in line with the great naval tradition of the island. Mathematics, Computer Science, Advanced Statistics, Informatics are among the courses offered in the 4 year undergraduate program. Post graduate and PhD programs are also offered. Do they do research? Are they any good?
Their Research Awards include: 2006 Lloyd’s List Award for Maritime Innovation for the Floating Autonomous Desalination Unit program and RegioStars Award 2008 on Energy Efficiency and renewable energies for the Floating Desalination Unit program. Their international patents are the following: (WO/2007/096680) Stable floating structure with limited oscillations and (WO/2007/096679) System for energy recovery and reduction of deposits on the membrane surfaces in (variable power and variable production) reverse osmosis desalination systems.”
Dr. Krimigis concluded his unique PowerPoint presentation with the following conclusions:
• Chios’ ancient tradition in learning and innovation was continuous through, and after the liberation of 1912.
• Renown doctors, architects, artists and mathematicians evolved from the diaspora as well as from the island, but always excelled on the Greek as well as the world stage.
• Although this talk only highlighted a few of the scientists who have passed on, there exists a plethora of academicians, professors, and researchers, who are contributors to science, technology, and innovation on every continent.
• Two examples: Aristides Patrinos, managed the Human Genome Project for the US Dept. of Energy; Nicholas Negroponte, cofounder and first Director of the MIT Media Laboratory (One Laptop per Child)
• This “pursuit of excellence” (Αιέν αριστεύειν) was first enunciated in Homer’s Iliad and befits, appropriately, the essence and the spirit of Chians throughout the ages wherever they may reside or grow up.”
Special thanks are extended to Dr. Krimigis for his detailed PowerPoint information that is the basis of this article. The information can be part of a university course on men of science from Chios. Panchiaki Korais Society must be commended in bringing a scientist on the same level as Albert Einstein to a middle class Greek-American community in Astoria. All present had the unique honor of communicating with a modern scientist whose contribution has safeguarded our country’s scientific eminence in world civilization.
A member of Panchiaki Korais Society is renown in the medical profession. Dr. Fotis Benetos is a kidney stone specialist. He is sought after in the treatment of kidney stones. He opened the unit at North Shore/LIJ twenty five years ago. “He is the cement that holds the NSLIJ unit intact”, said urologist Dr. Robert Waldbaum, according to a Panchiaki Society member. He has successfully treated 25,000 suffering patients. Dr. Benetos is a champion of Hellenism. He has inspired youth to study the modern Greek language in local colleges. His Godfather, Dr. Fotis Papadopoulos was principal laryngologist for 39 years, from 1963 to 2002 at Skilitsiou Hospital, Chios. Dr. Papadopoulos is the image of a traditional, island doctor: one who cares more for his patients than for the acquisition of material wealth or personal well-being. All the persons described in Dr. Krimigis’ lecture have one common purpose: the conclusion of the Hippocratic Oath that states “if I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.”
Dr. Stamatios (Tom) M. Krimigis is a Greek American scientist in space exploration. He has contributed to the majority of the United States’ unmanned space exploration programs of the solar system and beyond, according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stamatios_Krimigis. The scientist has contributed to exploration missions to almost every planet of our solar system, primarily in the Voyager 1 and 2 Program. He was born in 1938 in Vrontades, Chios. He attended the University of Minnesota, earning his Bachelor of Physics in 1961. He completed his Master of Science at the University of Iowa in 1963 and his Ph.D.in 1965 in Physics. He was a student of James Van Allen, the man 1959 Time Magazine credited as most responsible for giving the U.S.’s “big lead in scientific achievement.”
He is Head Emeritus of the Space Department Applied Physics Laboratory at John Hopkins University. Dr. Krimigis is a member of the Academy of Athens, Greece, where he has the Chair of Science of Space. He is President of the Greek National Council for Research and Technology. Dr. Krimigis has been the Principal Investigator for MIMI on Cassini-Huygens, the Low Energy Charged Particle Experiment (LECP) on Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 for the CPME on Explorer 47. He is Co-Investigator for LAN/HI-SCALE on Ulysses polar orbiter, EPIC on Geotail, EDP for Galileo mission, TRD on Mariner 3 and for the LECR on Mariner 4. Dr. Krimigis has also worked on the Advanced Composition Explorer experiment for the Explorer 50, the Mariner 5, MESSENGER AND New Horizons Programs. For his official biography, visit the Chian Federation website at https://www.chianfed.org/mos/content/view/101 and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stamatios_Krimigis.
The Panchiaki Society Board of Directors and Members include: Stelios Gerazounis, President; George Vasilakis, 1st Vice President; Nick Menis, 2nd Vice President; Evangelia Klidas, General Secretary; Stanley Neamonitis, Treasurer; Christos Stratakis, Esq. Legal Advisor.; Members, Anthony Almyroudis, Antonios Fegoudakis, Vasilios Gerazounis, Stavros Karatzas, John Klidas, Costas Kojes, Mary Kojes, Demitrios Kontolios, Simone Moraitis-Lago, George Pappas, Costas Parthenis, Petros Parthenis, James Psaltakis, Capt. Stelios Tatsis, Capt. Takis Tsevdos; Honorary Presidents, Dr. Theodore Kalamotousakis and Emmanuel Moraitis.
The Centennial Committee and members are the following persons : Honorary Chairpersons: Matrona Xylas Egon, Angeliki Frangou, John C. Hadjipateras, Antonios Harokopos: Christopher Stratakis, Esq. Chairman; Capt. Stelios Tatsis, Co-Chairman; Armodios Papagianakis, Treasurer; Members Amalia Bournia, Stelios Gerazounis, Costas Kojes, Mary Kojes, Dimitrios Kontolios, Athena Kromidas, Hon. Matthew Mirones, Stanley Neamonitis, Costas Parthenis, Dimitrios Psaltakis, Dr. Nicholas Rallis and Elisavet Tzoumaka.
Photo 1 – Dr. Stamatios Krimigis with writer.
Photo 2 – Dr. Krimigis, Koula Sophianou, Consul General of Cyprus, Mrs. Christopher Stratakis.