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ZUBER Dr. NOVAK ZUBER Novak Zuber, a native of the former Yugoslavia who fought with the Balkan Air Force on the side of the Allies in World War II , died October 3, 2013 in Gaithersburg, MD, at age 90, after spending his life as a pioneer in thermal dynamics and safety of nuclear reactors and a top expert at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The son of a prominent Montenegrin family, Zuber did not return home after World War II as the Soviet Union moved to occupy Eastern Europe, staying instead in Rome to study engineering. When his funds ran out in Italy, he joined the merchant marine instead of going home, because "Tito and his communist henchmen did not have a value system that was congruent with mine," Zuber said in 1990, when he received the Technical Achievement Award from the Thermal Hydraulics Division of the American Nuclear Society. His colleagues and admirers say he "jumped ship" from the Liberty shipwhere he worked as a wiper. But Zuber wryly disputed that description ofjumping ship in the same speech, saying he just "didn't re-embark after my two weeks shore leave expired." He wanted to go to school and get an education, and with the help of anaunt who lived in California, Mrs Therese Cheyovich- Kerze, he enrolled inthe engineering department at the University of California in Los Angeles. To support himself, he had to work jobs for cash given his questionable immigrant status."I worked on a chicken farm cleaning you-know-what; I worked as adishwasher, gardener, washed cars, etc.," he said. He received his bachelor's in 1951, his master's in 1954 and his doctoratein 1959. He worked from 1958-1960 at Thompson Ramo-Woolridge Corporationin Los Angeles; and at General Electric Company in Schenectady, NY, froM 1960-1967i, doing research into the "two-phase flow program" and the thermodynamics of rocket propulsion. He taught at New York University from 1967-1969 and at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA, from1969-1974. In 1974, he moved to Rockville, Maryland, where he lived until the time of his death. He worked for the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 1974-1991, where he developed a method of measuring the emergency core coolant systems of nuclear reactors that had to be demonstrated by anoperator before it could be licensed. "The value of this revision to the US economy has been estimated at 8 billion dollars," according to the biographical resume attached to some of his personal papers.The University of California in Los Angeles is planning a special libraryin honor of Novak Zuber and his work. "He was a true pioneer in the field of two-phase flow and heat transfer, beginning his illustrious engineering career with the development of a hydrodynamic theory for peak nucleateboiling and minimum film heat fluxes and his 'Drift Flux' model," accordingto a profile written by two UCLA colleagues, Ivan Catton and Vijay K Dhir, after his death. Zuber was married twice. The first marriage ended in divorce, and the second one in the death of his wife, Joan, in 1985. He has no children, and is survived by a cousin, Iliya Cheyovich in Yorba Linda, California; and a niece and a nephew in Belgrade, Serbia. Services private.Services private.
Published in The Washington Post on Dec. 15, 2013