By Kari HawkinsFebruary 12, 2018
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- In his 73 years on Earth, Dr. Stanley Kronenberg seemed to enjoy everything about being a nuclear physicist.
His love of nuclear-radiation research kept him in the science laboratory at the Communications-Electronics Command at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, during a 47-year career that resulted in the publication of nearly 100 papers on nuclear radiation, 39 nuclear-related patents, and a reputation as one of the leading authorities in nuclear radiation and detector technology.
Kronenberg died Dec. 9, 2000. But his contributions to nuclear radiation detection built the foundation for the field and remain valid today, and led to his nomination 17 years later for the Army Materiel Command's Hall of Fame. He was posthumously inducted Feb. 6 at Army Materiel Command headquarters.
"Seldom have individuals given so much of themselves as did Stanley," said Maj. Gen. Robert Nabors, CECOM's commander at the time of Kronenberg's death.
"The 47 years he served Fort Monmouth, the U.S. Army and his country speak to his extraordinary dedication. A renowned physicist and senior researcher, he was so much more to those he touched."
When he wasn't working in the lab, Kronenberg was making a name for himself through his paintings of Egyptian and Mayan hieroglyphics murals on his laboratory's walls. Just 10 months before his death, he painted a mural depicting seven Mayan gods creating the universe.
He was also known for his talents as a watchmaker, machinist and mechanical designer. He collected Polish postage stamps, and was an international expert on stamp authentication. He authored more than 100 publications on stamps and related subjects.
But, among the scientists he worked with, he was best known as the nuclear physicist who wore an identity badge that said "mad scientist."
This is Kronenberg's second induction into an Army Hall of Fame. He was first inducted posthumously in the inaugural year of CECOM's Hall of Fame in 2016.
According to his nomination packet, Kronenberg was born in Krosno, Poland, in 1927, and received his doctorate in physics from the University of Vienna in 1952. His thesis was on atomic weapon design.
His career began in 1953, when the State Department brought him to the United States as a nuclear research scientist at the Army's Nuclear Radiation Laboratory, Fort Monmouth. He was one of the few people in the U.S. who could design, arm and disarm a nuclear weapon.
From the 1960s through 1970, he devised and carried out radiation experiments for every atomic bomb test in the Pacific, then at most of the aboveground nuclear tests in Nevada, and at some of the underground tests. In one aboveground bomb test in Nevada, he climbed a tower to disarm a nuclear weapon that had misfired.
Kronenberg served as the director of the Evans Laboratory nuclear radiation division from 1962-83, where research helped to create devices for the Army to measure Soldiers' exposure to radiation, and to test radiation's effects on materials used in military equipment and supplies.
One of Kronenberg's lasting contributions to U.S. atomic bomb research was the experiment he designed in 1968 to measure the radiation in the environment following a nuclear explosion with the SEMIRAD (Secondary Emission Mixed Radiation Dosimetry) detector, which he also invented. The highly classified data significantly contributed to the U.S. effort in nuclear weapons design.
In 1983 Kronenberg abdicated his management position and turned his attention solely to radiation research. Among his accomplishments, Kronenberg designed, in only a few days, a simple modification used on 15,000 radiation dosimeters to protect them against the effects of humidity so they could be used to track personal radiation exposure for Soldiers deployed in Operation Desert Storm.
Kronenberg received numerous honors and awards, among them the Meritorious Civil Service Medal (1966); four Department of the Army Research and Development Achievement Awards (1968, 1971, 1972 and 1976); and the Federal Emergency Management Agency Outstanding Public Service Award (1986).