Published in The Coast Star on December 21, 2000 by Desiree A. DiCorcia
Best known for his fun-loving sense of humor and sheer brilliance, Dr. Stanley Kronenberg, the “mad scientist” renown for his breakthrough discoveries in the field of radiation technology at Camp Evans, recently passed away.
“I admired him immensely, he was a dedicated, great researcher who did terrific things for the United States,” said Director of the Information Age Learning Center at Camp Evans, and Restoration Advisory Board [RAB] member Fred Carl.
“It is a rare thing that a father of science is alive today and working in Wall,” said Mr. Carl. At the time of his death, Dr. Kronenberg was considered the pioneer. and worldwide expert on nuclear-radiation technology.
To his colleagues, Dr. Kronenberg will be remembered for his insatiable curiosity, brilliance, and fun-loving sense of humor. During his illustrious career, he published over 100 papers and received 22 patents.
“We will miss Dr. Kronenberg. We were looking forward to the day he selected a cartoon likeness of himself to be used to explain physics concepts to elementary students at the Camp Evans Science Center. I know he would have enjoyed it,”paid Mr, Carl.
Mr. Carl explained that Mr. Kronenberg was not only a leading researcher in the field of science, but a lot of fun, too. In fact, it was Dr. Kronenberg who deemed himself the mad scientist of Camp Evans while horsing around with his clerk. .
It happened while he was updating his entrance badge. Dr. Kronenberg decided to put “mad scientist” as his title and the clerk just typed in what was on the form and his badge that year read “mad scientist.”
“Everyone enjoyed the joke and it just stuck,” said Mr. Carl. .
Mr. Carl explained that Dr. Kronenberg truly loved his work, and often said that he would never retire.
“He lived the mantra of every physics teacher, `Physics is Fun: .When a group of Wall High School physics students visited his laboratory at Camp Evans, the students were so impressed,” said Mr. Carl.
From his research lab at Camp Evans, Dr. Kronenberg’s research was utilized in space, on the battle, field, and by an ailing head of state.
“Dr. Kronenberg had an excellent sense of humor and could explain detailed topics with amusing stories. He had witnessed a number of the 1950’s atomic bomb tests, he helped track the Soviet satellite Sputnik, had discussions with Albert Einstein, and was at Camp Evans the day Senator Joe McCarthy visited,” said Mr. Carl.
While he was a grad student, Dr. Kronenberg’s research was utilized by President Dwight D. Eisenhower when he needed heart medication, explained Mr. Carl.
Later, his research at Camp Evans helped track Sputnik after it was launched in 1957 by the Soviet Union.
Edward Groeber, radiac product manager for nuclear, chemical, biological defense systems serve as Dr. Kronenberg’s boss at the time of his death. The two had been friends for over 30 years.
Mr. Groeber fondly recalled Dr. Kronenberg’s innate curiosity and brilliance.
Specifically, Mr. Groeber marvelled over Dr. Kronenberg’s briliance from both a practical and theoretical standpoint. He explained that the doctor had the rare ability which most scientific theorists lack of taking an idea and making it a reality, by using his hands.
For example, Dr. Kronenberg laboratory at Camp Evans was be known by the public for its pool of radioactivity, which he, of all things, went fishing in. The pool of radioactivity contained a 20-foot water buffer which acted like a radiation shield. The pool of radioactivity glowed so bright that one could read a newspaper over it in the dark. It was at this pool that Dr. Kronenberg used a fishing rod to determine the effects of radiation upon dangling electronic equipment.
The doctor was also known for his basement lab which featured an elaborate Egyptian-style painting and heiroglyphics.
Dr. Kronenberg created the mural, which depicted the trail of a deceased queen as she tried to enter the land of the dead. The background for the mural contained heiroglyphics.
Dr. Kronenberg was hired in 1953 by the US Army Corps, Fort Monmouth, as a member of the Nucleonics Division and in 1962 became the director of the division. He headed the organization for 21 years. He worked out of Camp
Evans until it was shut down by the Army.
In this capacity, he participated in many atmospheric and later underground nuclear weapon testing as project officer and conducted experiments to obtain early radiation history of exploding nuclear weapon.
Dr. Kronenberg also operated closely with the Defense Nuclear Agency, the Department of Energy, and NIST. He also developed numerous novel systems to measure nuclear radiation doses and dose
rates and held many patents in these areas.
Dr. Kronenberg was born in Krosno, Poland on May 3, 1927. He studied physics and chemistry at the University of Vienna, Austria, specializing in quantum mechanics and nuclear physics. He obtained his doctorate from the University of Vienna in 1952.
During his career with the Army, he published approximately 100 scientific papers in the area of nuclear radiation physics and is recognized worldwide as an expert in his field. He also served since 1959 as consultant to FEMA and maintains close professional ties with the Nuclear Radiation Physics Group at NIST. He was also the US Representative to the NATO Research Group.Dr. Kronenberg was the recipient of numerous honors and awards during his career, including the Meritorious Civil Service Medal, three Department of the Army Research and Development Achievement Awards, and the’ FEMA Outstanding Public Service Award.