Sunday, November 8, 2015

Professor Diogenes Angelakos (1919-1997): Survived Unabomber attack

Diogenes Angelakos (Photoson left by Peg Skorpinski-; photo of right by Michael Colbruno)
Diogenes Angelakos, was a professor emeritus of electronic engineering at the University of California at Berkeley who survived an attack by the Unabomber. Angelakos was recognized one of world's foremost experts on the complex nature of the scattering of electromagnetic waves, microwaves and antennas.

He served as director of the Electronics Research Laboratory at Berkeley from 1964 to 1985 and was credited with building the small departmental research group into one of the university's largest research laboratories, with a yearly budget of some $35 million. 

On the morning of July 2, 1982 while lounging in a room near his laboratory he noticed an oddly shaped silver cylinder that looked like a turpentine can, studded with gauges and dials. After grabbing the handle a pipe bomb placed inside the cylinder exploded, sending shrapnel through his right hand and into his face. His injuries required surgery to repair the tendons in his hand and he retained permanent powder burns on his fingers as a reminder of the explosion. He avoided more serious injuries, or even death, when a gasoline component of the bomb failed to ignite. 

Ted Kaczynski while a UC Berkeley professor (left) and during his arrest (right)
The bomb was later determined by Federal law-enforcement officials to have been designed by Theodore Kaczynski, the serial bomber known as the Unabomber. Kaczynski engaged in a nationwide bombing campaign against people involved with modern technology, planting or mailing numerous homemade bombs, ultimately killing a total of three people and injuring 23 others. He also is known for his wide-ranging social critiques, which opposed industrialization and modern technology while advancing a nature-centered form of anarchism.

Dr. Angelakos's life was touched by the Unabomber's violence again three years later when a 26-year-old Berkeley graduate student, Air Force Captain John Hauser, was badly maimed by another bomb left in his laboratory's building. Angelakos, who was working nearby at the time, was one of the first on the scene after the explosion. Hauser lost the use of his right hand and arm and his sight in his left eye.

In an 1993 interview with The New York Times, he said he blamed injuries he received in the bombing for robbing him of precious time with his wife, Helen, who died of cancer shortly after the explosion. He died of prostate cancer 15 years after the attack.

Sources: NY Times, Univ of California Berkeley, Wikipedia

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