SAUL ARONOW

Aronow, Saul
Husband, Father, Physicist, Political Activist
was born on October 4, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York, the fourth child of Minnie (Mirel) and Abraham Aronow, a clothing manufacturer, lover of music and chazan. They lived in the Lower East Side, Brooklyn, and Far Rockaway. Saul's early interest in science and math led him to study engineering at Cooper Union where he met Alice Pearlman, an art student who also lived in Brooklyn. He graduated in 1939 and married Alice on February 12, 1942, the beginning of 71 years of shared life and enjoyment. Saul enlisted in the Army, and was assigned to the Signal Corps. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and served in the Midwest supervising the manufacture of radio equipment for the military. After the war he and Alice moved to Watertown, Massachusetts. Despite a growing family, they were active in the Progressive Party presidential campaigns for Henry Wallace in 1948 and Vincent Hallinan in 1952, where Saul was the Massachusetts state coordinator, and continued their work in a wide variety of union, racial justice, and disarmament campaigns. Because of their great love of singing and folk music, they were founding members of the Folksong Society of Greater Boston. Saul, Alice, and their six children eventually outgrew their veteran's housing in Watertown and in the early '60's they moved to Newton Corner. After the war, Saul returned to Harvard to earn a Ph.D. in Applied Nuclear Physics. Upon graduation in 1956, he joined the Physics Research Lab at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) as a faculty member of Harvard School of Medicine. He was the engineering leader on the team that developed an early positron scanner for mapping the location and size of brain tumors, the precursor of many of the radioisotope imaging devices now in wide use. The late 1950's were also a time of the Cold War and the nuclear armaments race. Working with a group of physicians who founded Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), Saul interpreted the physics for a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine that described the impact that an atom bomb exploding in Boston would have on the surrounding area and its effect on medical services. The publication of this article and the subsequent book format became part of the anti-nuclear armament movement and the PSR organization was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for its work. When he retired from MGH in 1982 he continued his career in teaching, consulting and serving on committees of national professional standards organizations. Among these activities were several years volunteering with Project Hope to develop the abilities of young engineering students in Jamaica to maintain and repair donated medical equipment, as well as supporting the continuing education of engineers in the Food and Drug Administration. In his later retirement, he became active in the restoration and rebirth of the Adams Street Shul, Congregation Agudas Achim Anshei Sfard. the oldest synagogue in Newton, built by Italian Jewish immigrants in the 1900's. Saul served as a Board member for many years and because of his knowledge of electricity and engineering, became the chief "fixer-upper." Saul passed away on February 11 after a brief stay at Newton Wellesley Hospital. Funeral services at Brezniak-Rodman Chapel, 1251 Washington St. West Newton at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, February 13, 2013. Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to one of Saul's cherished humanitarian social organizations, Doctors Without Borders at doctorswithoutborders.com/donate. He is survived by his Alice and his children Victor, Frederick, David, Nathan, Louisa and Jessie; 11 grandchildren and a great grandchild. A complete obituary can be found at
brezniakrodman.com.
Brezniak-Rodman Chapel
brezniakrodman.com
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Published in The Boston Globe on Feb. 13, 2013