Stephen Cohen received his B.A. in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Rice University in Physical Chemistry, focusing on small-molecule chemistry on single-crystal germanium surfaces. At Nottingham University in the UK, he was a research associate, studying free-jet spectroscopy of aromatic molecules. Dr. Cohen was a postdoctoral associate at Lehigh University, with the Naval Air Warfare Center in Warminster, PA, investigating anti-corrosion treatments for aerospace aluminum alloys, and at Rutgers University, performing non-linear spectroscopy on polymers. He has taught general and physical chemistry at The College of New Jersey and Mercer County Community College. More recently, he was a science writer for Kaplan, Inc., and is now the Technical Writer for HORIBA Jobin Yvon in Edison, NJ. At the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Cohen studied Yiddish for two years, and now raises his children in a Yiddish-speaking household. He is a member of Yugntruf (Youth for Yiddish) and the League for Yiddish, as well as the ACS (Editor of the Trenton Section’s The Alembic from 1999-2003), the Royal Society of Chemistry, the AVS, and the Society for Technical Communication. He has published articles and lectured on a number of topics, from peer-reviewed scientific research, history of science, and science humor, to Hebrew calligraphy, genealogy, and religious studies.
Dos besere lebn durkh khemye: Chemical Literature in Yiddish
Chemistry is usually studied in one of the principal languages of chemical research (e.g., English, Russian, German, French, Japanese, etc.). For marginalized or minority groups, their only exposure to higher education may not be available in these languages. Yiddish, the language of the poor and segregated Eastern European Jews, has a highly developed fictional, political, religious, and theatrical literature, but also includes little-known scientific writings, mostly from Eastern Europe and United States. This talk presents a brief background concerning Yiddish and Eastern European Jewry, and a rationale for and history of 20th-century chemical works in Yiddish. Examples of these works will be shown, including textbooks for the serious student and interested layperson, a teachers' guide, reference works and technical glossaries, chemical propaganda, and news articles making use of chemical ideas. Recent efforts to revitalize technical Yiddish will be mentioned.