PerspectiveRetrospective

Georges Charpak (1924–2010)

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Science  29 Oct 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6004, pp. 604
DOI: 10.1126/science.1198962

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Summary

Georges Charpak was 7 years old in 1931 when his parents, Maurice and Anna, decided to leave their village in Poland and move to Paris. “I have a wonderful memory of my primary school,” he often said, “where French quickly began to take over from the Polish of my youth, and where I set about indiscriminately devouring everything that came my way: mathematics, history, science, literature…Very soon, I felt that I had a debt to an education system that had given me so much.” Brilliant studies, then war, the German occupation, and the French Resistance (he had a false identity card, and was arrested and deported to the Dachau concentration camp). All this made his youth an adventure worthy of a novel, in which conviction and courage went face to face with tragedy.