Michael Crichton

Best known for his work in the science fiction, medical fiction and thriller genres The best-selling author, physician, producer, director and screenwriter, John Michael Crichton MD sadly died November 4, 2008. He was Born October 1942, and was raised on Long Island, in Roslyn, New York. From a young age Crichton showed a keen interest in writing and at the age of 14, he had a column related to travel published in The New York Times. He enrolled at Harvard College in 1960 as an undergraduate studying literature and obtained his bachelor’s degree in biological anthropology summa cum laude in 1964 and was initiated into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He received a Henry Russell Shaw Traveling Fellowship from 1964 to 1965 and was a visiting lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom in 1965.Crichton later enrolled at Harvard Medical School, when he began publishing work under the pen names “John Lange” & “Jeffrey Hudson”( a famous 17th-century dwarf in the court of Queen consort Henrietta Maria of England). His novels are usually within the action genre and heavily feature technology and epitomize the techno-thriller genre of literature, often exploring technology and failures of human interaction with it, especially resulting in catastrophes with biotechnology. Many of his future history novels have medical or scientific underpinnings, reflecting his medical training and science background.

In 1966 Michael Crichton published his first novel Odds On under the pseudonym of John Lange. Which concerns an attempted robbery in an isolated hotel on Costa Brava, which is planned scientifically with the help of a critical path analysis computer program, however unforeseen events get in the way. Then In 1967 he published Scratch One, which concerns A handsome, charming and privileged Chap named Roger Carr, a who practices law, as a means to support his playboy lifestyle than a career. Who is mistaken for an assassin after being sent to Nice, France, and finds his life in jeopardy, implicated in the world of terrorism. In 1968, he published two novels, Easy Go and A Case of Need, Easy Go relates the story of Harold Barnaby, a brilliant Egyptologist, who discovers a concealed message while translating hieroglyphics, informing him of an unnamed Pharaoh whose tomb is yet to be discovered. A Case of Need, is a medical thriller in which a Boston pathologist, Dr. John Berry, investigates an apparent illegal abortion conducted by an obstetrician friend, which caused the early demise of a young which earned him an Edgar Award in 1969. In 1969, Crichton published three novels. The first, Zero Cool, dealt with an American radiologist on vacation in Spain who is caught in a murderous crossfire between rival gangs seeking a precious artifact. The second, The Andromeda Strain, follows a team of scientists investigating a deadly extraterrestrial microorganism that fatally clots human blood, causing death within two minutes. In 1969, Crichton published the Venom Business which concerns a smuggler who uses his exceptional skill as a snake handler to smuggle rare Mexican artifacts while importing snakes to be used by drug companies and universities for medical research. Crichton also wrote a review for The New Republic (as J. Michael Crichton), critiquing Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut.

In 1970, Crichton published three more novels: Drug of Choice, Grave Descend and Dealing: or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues with his younger brother Douglas Crichton. “Dealing”, was written under the pen name ‘Michael Douglas’, using their first names. This novel was adapted to the big screen and set a wave for his brother Douglas as well as himself. Grave Descend earned him an Edgar Award nomination the following year. He also worked at Boston City Hospital, and graduated from Harvard, obtaining an MD in 1969, after which he undertook a post-doctoral fellowship study at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, where he experimented with astral projection, aura viewing, and clairvoyance, coming to believe that these included real phenomena which other scientists had dismissed as paranormal.

In 1972, Crichton published two novels. Binary, which concerns a villainous middle-class businessman, who attempts to assassinate the President of the United States by stealing an army shipment of the two precursor chemicals that form a deadly nerve agent. He also published, The Terminal Man, which concerns psychomotor epileptic sufferer, Harry Benson, who after suffering seizures conducts himself inappropriately and blacks out, only to wake up hours later with no knowledge of what he has done. Believed to be psychotic, he is investigated by the medical profession who implant electrodes in his brain with novel results. The novel was also adapted into a film starring George Segal, Joan Hackett, Richard A. Dysart and Donald Moffat, released in June 1974.

In 1975, Crichton wrote the historical novel The Great Train Robbery, which concerns the Great Gold Robbery of 1855, a massive gold heist, which took place on a train traveling through Victorian era England. The novel was also made into a 1979 film directed by Crichton himself, starring Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland. And was nominated for Best Cinematography Award by the British Society of Cinematographers, also garnering an Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Motion Picture by the Mystery Writers Association of America. In 1976, Crichton published Eaters of the Dead, a novel about a tenth-century Muslim named Ahmed ibn Fadlan who travels with a group of Vikings to their settlement and recounts his journey north and his experiences with the early Russian peoples, whilst the remainder is based upon the story of Beowulf, culminating in battles with the ‘mist-monsters’, or ‘wendol’, a relict group of Neanderthals. The novel was adapted into film as The 13th Warrior, In 1980, Crichton published Congo, which centers on an expedition searching for diamonds in the tropical rain forest of Congo. The novel was loosely adapted into a 1995 film, starring Laura Linney, Tim Curry, and Ernie Hudson. In 1987 Crichton published Sphere, a novel which relates the story of psychologist Norman Johnson, who is required by the U.S. Navy to join a team of scientists assembled by the U.S. Government to examine an enormous alien spacecraft discovered on the bed of the Pacific Ocean. The novel was adapted into a film in 1998, starring Dustin Hoffman as Norman Johnson, (renamed Norman Goodman), Samuel L. Jackson, Liev Schreiber and Sharon Stone.

In 1990, Crichton published the novel Jurassic Park. A cautionary tale Which features a biological preserve” created by Billionaire John Hammond Housing genetically recreated dinosaurs including Dilophosaurus, Velociraptor, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, and Tyrannosaurus rex, which all manage to escape and cause chaos. Director Steven Spielberg then learned of the novel in October 1989, while he and Crichton were discussing a screenplay that would become the television series ER and Crichton’s novel Jurassic Park, and its sequels, were made into films starring Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant, Laura Dern as Dr. Ellie Sattler, Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm (the chaos theorist), and Richard Attenborough, as John Hammond, the billionaire CEO, of InGen.

In 1992, Crichton published the novel Rising Sun, an international best-selling crime thriller about a murder in the Los Angeles headquarters of Nakamoto, a fictional Japanese corporation. The book was instantly adapted into a film, released the same year of the movie adaption of Jurassic Park in 1993, and starring Sean Connery, Wesley Snipes, Tia Carrere and Harvey Keitel. His next novel, Disclosure, published in 1994, addresses the theme of sexual harassment previously explored in his 1972 Binary. Particularly sexual politics in the workplace, emphasizing an array of paradoxes in traditional gender functions, by featuring a male protagonist who is being sexually harassed by a female executive. The novel was made into a film the same year by Barry Levinson, and starring Michael Douglas, Demi Moore and Donald Sutherland. Crichton then published The Lost World in 1995, as the sequel to Jurassic Park. It was made into a film sequel two years later in 1997, again directed by Spielberg and starring Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Vince Vaughn and Pete Postlethwaite. In 1996, Crichton published Airframe, an aero-techno-thriller concerning a quality assurance vice-president at the fictional aerospace manufacturer Norton Aircraft, who investigates an in-flight accident aboard a Norton-manufactured airliner.

Then In 1999, Crichton published Timeline, a science fiction novel which tells the story of a team of historians and archaeologists studying a site in the Dordogne region of France, where the medieval towns of Castelgard and La Roque stood. They time travel back to 1357 to uncover some startling truths. The novel, addresses quantum physics and time travel.A film based on the book was released in 2003, directed by Richard Donner and starring Paul Walker, Gerard Butler and Frances O’Connor. In 2002, Crichton published Prey, another cautionary tale Which features a Nanorobotics company called Xymos, which is testing a revolutionary new medical imaging technology based on nanotechnology. Unfortunately Xymos is sabotaged by a rival company, MediaTronics with disasterous consequences. In 2004, Crichton published the novel State of Fear, this concerns eco-terrorists who attempt mass murder to support their views. Michael Crichton’s final novel was Next, This follows transgenic animals, in the quest to survive in a world dominated by genetic research, corporate greed, and legal interventions, wherein government and private investors spend billions of dollars every year on genetic research. Michael Crichton’s final novels Pirate Latitudes and Micro were both published posthumously.

Crichton also wrote the non-fiction book Five Patients, which recounts his experiences of practices in the late 1960s at Massachusetts General Hospital and the issues of costs and politics within American health care. The book follows each of five patients through their hospital experience and the context of their treatment, revealing inadequacies in the hospital institution at the time, which also includes abrief history of medicine up to 1969. Then In 1983, Crichton authored Electronic Life, a book that introduces BASIC programming and defined basic computer jargon, which was intended to introduce the idea of personal computers to a reader who might be unfamiliar and using them at work or at home for the first time.

Cliché Day

Cliche Day takes place annually on 3 November. A cliché is a phrase used over and over and over and over, or an element of artistic work that occurs in films or music just as often. The word “cliché” is derives from French. In printing, “cliché” came to mean a stereotype, electrotype or cast plate or block reproducing words or images that would be used repeatedly. It has been suggested that the word originated from the clicking sound in “dabbed” printing (a particular form of stereotyping in which the block was impressed into a bath of molten type-metal to form a matrix). Through this onomatopoeia, “cliché” came to mean a ready-made, oft-repeated phrase that no thought was put into writing, and that definition has stuck, and the word “cliché” can be used both as an adjective and a noun.

In phraseology, the term has taken on a more technical meaning, referring to an expression imposed by conventionalized linguistic usage. The term is frequently used in modern culture for an action or idea that is expected or predictable, based on a prior event. Typically pejorative, “clichés” may or may not be true. Some are stereotypes, but some are simply truisms and facts. Clichés often are employed for comic effect, typically in fiction. Most phrases now considered clichéd originally were regarded as striking, but have lost their force through overuse. The French poet Gérard de Nerval once said, “The first man who compared woman to a rose was a poet, the second, an imbecile.” A cliché is often a vivid depiction of an abstraction that relies upon analogy or exaggeration for effect, often drawn from everyday experience. Used sparingly, it may succeed, but the use of a cliché in writing, speech, or argument is generally considered a mark of inexperience or a lack of originality.

Thought-terminating clichés, also known as thought-stoppers, or semantic stopsigns, are words or phrases that discourage critical thought and meaningful discussion about a given topic. They are typically short, generic truisms that offer seemingly simple answers to complex questions or that distract attention away from other lines of thought. They are often sayings that have been embedded in a culture’s folk wisdom and are tempting to say because they sound true or good or like the right thing to say.

Some examples are:

  • “Stop thinking so much”,
  • “here we go again”
  • “what effect do my actions have?”

The term was popularized by psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton in his 1961 book, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of “Brainwashing” in China. Lifton wrote, “The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating cliché. The most far-reaching and complex of human problems are compressed into brief, highly reductive, definitive-sounding phrases, easily memorized and easily expressed. These become the start and finish of any ideological analysis”. Sometimes they are used in a deliberate attempt to shut down debate, manipulate others to think a certain way, or dismiss dissent. However, some people repeat them, even to themselves, out of habit or conditioning, or as a defense mechanism to reaffirm a confirmation bias.

Holidays for November 3 are

  • National Sandwich Day
  • World Numbat Day
  • World Jellyfish Day
  • National Housewife Day
  • Digital Scrapbooking Day.
  • Give Someone a Dollar Today Day.
  • National Bison Day
  • Cliche Day

Bob Kane (Batman)

Best known as the co creator of Batman artist Bob Kane sadly died 3 November 1998. He was born October 24, 1915 in New York City, New York. His parents, Augusta and Herman Kahn, an engraver, were of Eastern European Jewish descent  A high school friend of fellow cartoonist and future Spirit creator Will Eisner, Robert Kahn graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School and then legally changed his name to Robert Kane. He studied art at Cooper Union before “joining the Max Fleischer Studio as a trainee animator in the year of 1934”.

He entered the comics field two years later, in 1936, freelancing original material to editor Jerry Iger’s comic book Wow, What A Magazine!, including his first pencil and ink work on the serial Hiram Hick. The following year, Kane began to work at Iger’s subsequent studio, Eisner & Iger, which was one of the first comic book “packagers” that produced comics on demand for publishers entering the new medium during its late-1930s and 1940s Golden Age. Among his work there was the funny animal feature “Peter Pupp” — which belied its look with overtones of “mystery and menace” published in the U.K. comic magazine Wags and reprinted in Fiction House’s Jumbo Comics. Kane also produced work through Eisner & Iger for two of the companies that would later merge to form DC Comics, including the humor features “Ginger Snap” in More Fun Comics, “Oscar the Gumshoe” for Detective Comics, and “Professor Doolittle” for Adventure Comics. For that last title he went on to do his first adventure strip, “Rusty and his Pals”.

Bob Kane then created Batman when, following the success of Superman, the editors at National Comics Publications (the future DC Comics) requested more superheroes for its titles. the character is also referred to by such epithets as the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, and the World’s Greatest Detective. Batman was inspired by the Scarlet Pimpernel (created by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, 1903), Zorro and pulp heroes like Doc Savage, The Shadow, Dick Tracy, and Sherlock Holmes. Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27, in 1939 in the story, “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate”, which was originally written in the style of the pulps. the character was also a master sleuth. Batman’s secret identity is Bruce Wayne, a wealthy American playboy, philanthropist, and owner of Wayne Enterprises. After witnessing the murder of his parents Dr. Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne as a child, he swore vengeance against criminals, an oath tempered by a sense of justice.

Batman proved a hit character, and he received his own solo title in 1940 while continuing to star in Detective Comics. By that time, Detective Comics was the top-selling and most influential publisher in the industry; Batman and the company’s other major hero, Superman, were the cornerstones of the company’s success. The two characters were featured side-by-side as the stars of World’s Finest Comics, (World’s Best Comics) whose Creators included Jerry Robinson and Dick Sprang. Elements were gradually added to the character and the artistic depiction of Batman evolved. Batman’s utility belt was introduced in Detective Comics #29 (July 1939), followed by the boomerang-like batarang and the first bat-themed vehicle, the Batplane, in #31 (Sept. 1939). The character’s origin was revealed in #33 (Nov. 1939), establishing the brooding persona of Batman/ Bruce Wayne, who after witnessing his parents’ tragic murder at the hands of a mugger vows to avenge their deaths by spending the rest of his life fighting criminals”.

Bruce Wayne trains himself physically and intellectually and crafts a bat-inspired persona to fight crime. Batman operates in the fictional Gotham City with assistance from various supporting characters, including his butler Alfred, police commissioner Gordon, and vigilante allies such as Robin. Unlike most superheroes, Batman does not possess any superpowers; rather, he relies on his genius intellect, physical prowess, martial arts abilities, detective skills, science and technology, vast wealth, intimidation, and indomitable will. A large assortment of villains make up Batman’s rogues gallery, including his archenemy, the Joker.

In 1940 Batman’s junior counterpart Robin was introduced in Detective Comics #38 and The first issue of the solo spin-off series Batman also introduced two of his most persistent enemies, the Joker and Catwoman. By 1942, the writers and artists behind the Batman comics had established most of the basic elements of the Batman mythos. In the years following World War II, DC Comics “adopted a postwar editorial direction removing the bleak and menacing social commentary in favour of lighthearted juvenile fantasy and Batman was instead portrayed as a respectable citizen and paternal figure that inhabited a “bright and colorful” environment.

During the Silver and Bronze ages of the 1950s and early 1960s Batman became one of the few superhero characters to be continuously published. In the story “The Mightiest Team in the World” in Superman #76 (June 1952), Batman teams up with Superman for the first time and the pair discover each other’s secret identity. World’s Finest Comics was subsequently revamped so it featured stories starring both heroes together, instead of separate Batman and Superman stories. The characters of Batwoman and the pre-Barbara Gordon Bat-Girl were also introduced to allay the allegation that Batman and Robin were gay, and the stories took on a campier, lighter feel. In the late 1950s, Batman stories gradually became more science fiction-oriented, And New characters such as Batwoman, Ace the Bat-Hound, and Bat-Mite were introduced. Batman’s adventures started to include odd transformations or bizarre space aliens. In 1960, Batman debuted as a member of the Justice League of America in The Brave and the Bold #28 (Feb. 1960), before appearing in several Justice League comic series. By 1964, sales of Batman titles had fallen drastically and DC was planning to kill Batman off altogether. In response editor Julius Schwartz made drastic changes, beginning with 1964’s Detective Comics #327 (May 1964), when Schwartz introduced more detective-oriented stories. The Batmobile was redesigned, and Batman’s costume was modified to incorporate a yellow ellipse behind the bat-insignia. The space aliens, time travel, and characters of the 1950s such as Batwoman, Ace, and Bat-Mite were retired. Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred was killed off and a new female relative for the Wayne family, Aunt Harriet, came to live with Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson.

Batman made his television debut in 1966. This had a profound influence on the character. The success of the series increased sales throughout the comic book industry. Elements such as the character of Batgirl and the show’s campy nature were introduced and Alfred returned. Predictably Although both the comics and TV show were initially successful the camp approach eventually wore thin and the show was canceled in 1968, and the Batman comics themselves also lost popularity.

In 1966, Kane retired from DC Comics, choosing to focus on fine art. As Kane’s comic-book work tapered off in the 1960s, he parlayed his Batman status into minor celebrity. He enjoyed a post-comics career in television animation, creating the characters Courageous Cat and Cool McCool, and as a painter showed his work in art galleries, although some of these paintings were produced by ghost artists. DC Comics named Kane in 1985 as one of the honorees in the company’s 50th anniversary publication Fifty Who Made DC Great. In 1989, Kane published the autobiography Batman and Me, with a second volume Batman and Me, The Saga Continues, in 1996. Kane worked as a consultant on the 1989 film Batman and its three sequels with directors Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher. Stan Lee interviewed Kane in the documentary series The Comic Book Greats.

Batman has become An American cultural icon garnering enormous popularity and is among the most identifiable comic book characters. Batman has been licensed and featured in various adaptations, from radio to television and film, and appears in merchandise sold around the world, such as apparel, toys, and video games. The character has also intrigued psychiatrists, with many offering interpretations of his psyche. In 2015, FanSided ranked Batman as number one on their list of “50 Greatest Super Heroes In Comic Book History”. Kevin Conroy, Rino Romano, Bruce Greenwood, Peter Weller, Anthony Ruivivar, Jason O’Mara, and Will Arnett, among others, have provided the character’s voice for animated adaptations. Batman has been depicted in both film and television by Lewis Wilson, Robert Lowery, Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck.

Henri Matisse

French artist Henri Matisse sadly passed away on November 3rd 1954. Born 31 December 1869 in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, Nord, he is known for his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. Matisse was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter commonly regarded, along with Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, as one of the three artists who helped to define the revolutionary developments in the plastic arts in the opening decades of the 20th century, responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture. Although he was initially labelled a Fauve (wild beast), by the 1920s he was increasingly hailed as an upholder of the classical tradition in French painting. His mastery of the expressive language of colour and drawing, displayed in a body of work spanning over a half-century, won him recognition as a leading figure in modern art.

Matisse was also recognized as a leader of an artistic movement known as Fauvism which began 1900 and continued beyond 1910. The leaders of the movement were Matisse & André Derain; who were friendly rivals, each with his own followers. Other members were Georges Braque, Raoul Dufy and Maurice de Vlaminck. The Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau (1826–1898) was the movement’s inspirational teacher who pushed his students to think outside of the lines of formality and to follow their visions. In 1905, Matisse and a group of artists exhibited together & The paintings expressed emotion with wild, often dissonant colours, without regard for the subject’s natural colours. Matisse showed Open Window and Woman with the Hat at the Salon. Matisses’s fondnes for bright and expressive colour became more pronounced after he spent the summer of 1904 painting in St. Tropez with the neo-Impressionists Signac and Henri Edmond Cross. In 1904 he painted the most important of his works , Luxe, Calme et Volupté. In 1905 he travelled southwards again to work with André Derain. His paintings of this period are characterized by flat shapes and controlled lines, and use pointillism in a less rigorous way than before.

Around April 1906 he met Pablo Picasso, & The two became lifelong friends as well as rivals and are often compared; one key difference between them is that Matisse drew and painted from nature, while Picasso was much more inclined to work from imagination. The subjects painted most frequently by both artists were women and still life. Matisse and Picasso were first brought together at the Paris salon of Gertrude Stein and her companion Alice B. Toklas, who became important collectors and supporters of Matisse’s paintings during the first decade of the 20th century. They also collected many paintings by Renoir, Cézanne, and Picasso at the Salon. Gertrude Stein’s two American friends , the Cone sisters Claribel and Etta,also became major patrons of Matisse and Picasso, collecting hundreds of their paintings. The Cone collection is now exhibited in the Baltimore Museum of Art.

In 1917 Matisse relocated to Cimiez on the French Riviera, a suburb of the city of Nice. His work of the decade or so following this relocation shows a relaxation and a softening of his approach. After 1930 a new vigor and bolder simplification appeared in his work. American art collector Albert C. Barnes convinced him to produce a large mural for the Barnes Foundation, The Dance II, completed 1932; the Foundation owns several dozen other Matisse paintings. This move towards simplification and a foreshadowing of the cutout technique are also evident in his painting Large Reclining Nude.In 1941, he underwent surgery and started using a wheelchair, and was cared for by , Lydia Delektorskaya who was formerly one of his models, Then With the aid of assistants he set about creating cut paper collages, often on a large scale, called gouaches découpés. His Blue Nudes series feature prime examples of this technique he called “painting with scissors”;

During World War II Matisse, was shocked to learn that his daughter Marguerite, was active in the Résistance and had been captured & tortured in Rennes prison and sentenced to the Ravensbrück concentration camp, but avoided further imprisonment by escaping from the Ravensbrück-bound train and survived in the woods until rescued by fellow members of the Resistance. In 1947 Matisse published Jazz, a limited-edition book containing about one hundred prints based on his colorful paper cutouts accompanied by his written thoughts. In the 1940s he also worked as a graphic artist and produced black-and-white illustrations for several books and over one hundred original lithographs at the Mourlot Studios in Paris. Matisse was much admired and repeatedly referred to by the Greek Nobelist poet Odysseas Elytis. Elytis was introduced to Matisse through their common friend Tériade, during the work on the Cutouts. Matisse had painted the wall of the dining room of Tériade’s residence, the Villa Natacha in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

In 1951 Matisse finished designing the interior, the glass windows and the decorations of the Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence, often referred to as the Matisse Chapel. This project was the result of the close friendship between Matisse and Sister Jacques-Marie’ He had hired her as a nurse and model in 1941 before she became a Dominican nun and they met again in Vence and started the collaboration. In 1952 he established a museum dedicated to his work, the Matisse Museum in Le Cateau, and this museum is now the third-largest collection of Matisse works in France. Matisse’s final work was the design for a stained-glass window installed at the Union Church of Pocantico Hills near the Rockefeller estate north of New York City. “It was his final artistic creation; the maquette was on the wall of his bedroom when he died in November of 1954 of a heart attack at the age of 84. He is interred in the cemetery of the Monastère Notre Dame de Cimiez, near Nice. A large amount of Nazi plundered art worth €1bn in Munich, including lost works by Picasso and Matisse, has also recently been discovered.

Leon Theramin

Pioneering Russian inventor Léon Theremin sadly died 3 November 1993. He was born Lev Sergeyevich Termen in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire in 15 August 1896 into a family of French and German ancestry.He had a sister named Helena.He started to be interested in electricity at the age of 7, and by 13 he was experimenting with high frequency circuits. In the seventh class of his high school before an audience of students and parents he demonstrated various optical effects using electricity.By the age of 17 he was in his last year of high school and at home he had his own laboratory for experimenting with high frequencircuits, optics and magnetic fields.

His cousin, Kirill Fedorovich Nesturkh, then a young physicist, and a singer named Wagz invited him to attend the defense of the dissertation of professor Abram Fedorovich Ioffe. Physics lecturer Vladimir Konstantinovich Lebedinskiy had explained to Theremin the then interesting dispute over Ioffe’s work on the electron.On 9 May 1913 Theremin and his cousin attended Ioffe’s dissertation defense. Ioffe’s subject was on the elementary photoelectric effect, the magnetic field of cathode rays and related investigations. In 1917 Theremin wrote that Ioffe talked of electrons, the photoelectric effect and magnetic fields as parts of an objective reality that surrounds us everyday, unlike others that talked more of somewhat abstract formula and symbols. Theremin wrote that he found this explanation revelatory and that it fit a scientific – not abstract – view of the world, different scales of magnitude, and matter. From then on Theremin endeavoured to study the Microcosm, in the same way he had studied the Macrocosm with his hand-built telescope. Later, Kyrill introduced Theremin to Ioffe as a young experimenter and physicist, and future student of the university.

Theremin recalled that while still in his last year of school, he had built a million-volt Tesla coil and noticed a strong glow associated with his attempts to ionise the air. He then wished to further investigate the effects using university resources. A chance meeting with Abram Fedorovich Ioffe led to a recommendation to see Karl Karlovich Baumgart, who was in charge of the physics laboratory equipment. Karl then reserved a room and equipment for Theremin’s experiments. Abram Fedorovich suggested Theremin also look at methods of creating gas fluorescence under different conditions and of examining the resulting light’s spectra. However, during these investigations Theremin was called up for World War I military service.Despite Theremin being only in his second academic year, the deanery of the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy recommended him to go to the Nikolayevska Military Engineering School in Petrograd (renamed from Saint Petersburg), which usually only accepted students in their fourth year. Theremin recalled Ioffe reassured him that the war would not last long and that military experience would be useful for scientific applications.

Beginning his military service in 1916, Theremin finished the Military Engineering School in six months, progressed through the Graduate Electronic School for Officers, and attained the military radio-engineer diploma in the same year. In the course of the next three and a half years he oversaw the construction of a radio station in Saratov to connect the Volga area with Moscow, graduated from Petrograd University, became deputy leader of the new Military Radiotechnical Laboratory in Moscow, and finished as the broadcast supervisor of the radio transmitter at Tsarskoye Selo near Petrograd (then renamed Detskoye Selo).

During the Russian civil war, in October 1919 White Army commander Nikolai Nikolayevich Yudenich advanced on Petrograd from the side of Detskoye Selo, apparently intending to capture the radio station to announce a victory over the Bolsheviks. Theremin and others evacuated the station, sending equipment east on rail cars. Theremin then detonated explosives to destroy the 120 meter-high antennae mast before traveling to Petrograd to set up an international listening station. There he also trained radio specialists but reported difficulties obtaining food and working with foreign experts who he described as narrow-minded pessimists. Theremin recalled that on an evening when his hopes of overcoming these obstructing experts reached a low ebb, Abram Fedorovich Ioffe telephoned him.[Ioffe asked Theremin to come to his newly founded Physical Technical Institute in Petrograd, and the next day he invited him to start work at developing measuring methods for high frequency electrical oscillations.

The day after Ioffe’s invitation, Theremin started at the institute. He worked in diverse fields: applying the Laue effect to the new field ofX-ray analysis of crystals; using hypnosis to improve measurement-reading accuracy; working with Ivan Pavlov’s laboratory; and using gas-filled lamps as measuring devices. He built a high frequency oscillator to measure the dielectric constant of gases with high precision; Ioffe then urged him to look for other applications using this method, and shortly made the first motion detector for use as a”radio watchman”.while adapting the dielectric device by adding circuitry to generate an audio tone, Theremin noticed the pitch changed when his hand moved around.

In October 1920 he first demonstrated this to Ioffe who called in other professors and students to hear. Theremin recalled trying to find the notes for tunes he remembered from when he played the cello, such as the Swan by Saint-Saëns. By November 1920 Theremin had given his first public concert with the instrument, now modified with a horizontal volume antenna replacing the earlier foot-operated volume control. He named it the “etherphone” to be known as the Терменвокс (Termenvox) in the Soviet Union, as the Thereminvox in Germany,and later as the “theremin” in the United States. Theremin went to Germany in 1925 to sell both the radio watchman and Termenvox patents to the German firm Goldberg and Sons. According to Glinsky this was the Soviet’s “decoy for capitalists” to obtain both Western profits from sales and technical knowledge.

During this time Theremin was also working on a wireless television with 16 scan lines in 1925, improving to 32 scan lines and then 64 using interlacing in 1926, and he demonstrated moving, if blurry, images on 7 June 1927.After being sent on a lengthy tour of Europe starting 1927 – including London, Paris and towns in Germany– during which he demonstrated his invention to full audiences, Theremin found his way to the United States, arriving on 30 December 1927 with his first wife Katia.He performed the theremin with the New York Philharmonic in 1928. He patented his invention in the United States in 1928 and subsequently granted commercial production rights to RCA.Theremin set up a laboratory in New York in the 1930s, where he developed the theremin and experimented with other electronic musical instruments and other inventions. These included the Rhythmicon, commissioned by the American composer and theoristHenry Cowell.In 1930, ten thereminists performed on stage at Carnegie Hall. Two years later, Theremin conducted the first-ever electronic orchestra, featuring the theremin and other electronic instruments including a “fingerboard” theremin which resembled a cello in use.Theremin’s mentors during this time were some of society’s foremost scientists, composers, and musical theorists, including composerJoseph Schillinger and physicist (and amateur violinist) Albert Einstein. At this time, Theremin worked closely with fellow Russian émigré and theremin virtuoso Clara Rockmore.

Theremin was interested in a role for the theremin in dance music. He developed performance locations that could automatically react to dancers’ movements with varied patterns of sound and light.Theremin abruptly returned to the Soviet Union in 1938. At the time, the reasons for his return were unclear; some claimed that he was simply homesick, while others believed that he had been kidnapped by Soviet officials. Beryl Campbell, one of Theremin’s dancers, said his wife Lavinia “called to say that he had been kidnapped from his studio” and that “some Russians had come in” and that she felt that he was going to be spirited out of the country. Many years later, it was revealed that Theremin had returned to his native land due to tax and financial difficulties in the United States.However, Theremin himself once told Bulat Galeyev that he decided to leave himself because he was anxious about the approaching war.Shortly after he returned he was imprisoned in the Butyrka prison and later sent to work in the Kolyma gold mines. Although rumors of his execution were widely circulated and published, Theremin was, in fact, put to work in a sharashka (a secret laboratory in the Gulag camp system), together with Andrei Tupolev, Sergei Korolev, and other well-known scientists and engineers.]The Soviet Union rehabilitated him in 1956.

During his work at the sharashka, where he was put in charge of other workers, Theremin created the Buran eavesdropping system. A precursor to the modern laser microphone, it worked by using a low power infrared beam from a distance to detect the sound vibrations in the glass windows. Lavrentiy Beria, the head of the secret police organization NKVD(the predecessor of the KGB), used the Buran device to spy on the British, French and US embassies in Moscow.According to Galeyev, Beria also spied on Stalin; Theremin kept some of the tapes in his flat. In 1947, Theremin was awarded the Stalin prize for inventing this advance in Soviet espionage technology.Theremin invented another listening device called The Thing. Disguised in a replica of theGreat Seal of the United States carved in wood, in 1945 Soviet school children presented the concealed bug to U.S. Ambassador as a “gesture of friendship” to the USSR’s World War II ally. It hung in the ambassador’s residential office in Moscow, and intercepted confidential conversations there during the first seven years of the Cold War, until it was accidentally discovered in 1952. After his “release” from the sharashka in 1947, Theremin volunteered to remain working with the KGB until 1966. By 1947 Theremin had remarried, to Maria Guschina, his third wife, and they had two children: Lena and Natalia.

After working for the KGB, Theremin worked at the Moscow Conservatory of Music for 10 years where he taught, and built theremins,electronic cellos and some terpsitones (another invention of Theremin).There he was discovered by Harold Schonberg, the chief music critic of The New York Times, who was visiting the Conservatory. But when an article by his hand appeared, the Conservatory’s Managing Director declared that “electricity is not good for music; electricity is to be used for electrocution” and had his instruments removed from the Conservatory. Further electronic music projects were banned, and Theremin was summarily dismissed. In the 1970s, Léon Theremin was a Professor of Physics at Moscow State University (Department of Acoustics) developing his inventions and supervising graduate students. After 51 years in the Soviet Union Theremin started travelling, first visiting France in June 1989 and then the United States in 1991, each time accompanied by his daughter Natalia. Theremin was brought to New York by filmmaker Steven M. Martin where he was reunited with Clara Rockmore. He also made a demonstration concert at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague in early 1993 before dying in Moscow, Russia in 1993.