In Memoriam: Victor Rabinowitch

By , July 11, 2019

It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Dr. Victor Rabinowitch, member of the Bulletin’s Board of Sponsors and son of Bulletin co-founder Eugene Rabinowitch.

Dr. Rabinowitch was trained as an ecologist and received his doctorate in the unlikely combination of zoology and international relations. He was an active participant in the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs for more than 30 years.

“His dedication to his family was something special to behold,” said Rabinowitch’s son, Peter. “His dedication to the Bulletin and its mission was almost equally as remarkable.”

“Vic’s concern with the problems associated with the impact of science on society was highly informed and apparently genetic, given who his father was,” said Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin. “He joined us for the Bulletin’s 70th anniversary in Chicago, and I was delighted when he joined us in DC this past January at the Doomsday Clock announcement. We will greatly miss his presence.”

Rabinowitch’s dedication to science and diplomacy went beyond his involvement with the Bulletin. For over twenty-five years, he was associated with the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council (NAS/NRC); he was director of the NAS Board on Science and Technology for Development and was executive director of the Office of International Affairs of the NRC; he served concurrently as the director of the NAS Committee on International Security and Arms Control. He was appointed vice president for Programs of the MacArthur Foundation and then senior vice-president before retiring in 2000.

“Victor served as a senior vice president at MacArthur, overseeing all of the foundations programs,” said Adele Simmons, former president of the MacArthur Foundation. “He led work supporting independent research projects at Russian universities and also in human rights. He was smart, strategic, and passionate…a very special person and colleague.”

George Lopez, Hesburgh Professor of Peace Studies, Emeritus at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame, was interim executive director of the Bulletin in 1997 and chaired the Board of Directors from 1998 to 2003. “Vic’s enduring support for the Bulletin pushed many of us to a higher performance level,” Lopez stated. “He was an empowering mentor and his efforts had a Midas touch – efforts he created or joined were enduring successes. Executives of his ilk have been few and now, sadly, we are one less.”

Rabinowitch served on the Bulletin’s Board of Sponsors for over a decade. He passed away on July 1, 2019 and is survived by his beloved wife, Mary Martha (Marti); sons Nikolai, Peter (Olivia) and Alexander (Kimberly) Rabinowitch; stepsons Andrew and Steven Treichel; grandchildren Kolya, Katia, Lexa, Natasha and Tori Rabinowitch; and twin brother Alexander and his wife Janet Rabinowitch.


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