Zalman Shapiro, American chemist, Died at 96


Zalman Mordecai Shapiro was born on May 12, 1920, in Canton, Ohio, and died on July 16, 2016.

He was an American chemist and inventor.

Shapiro received 15 patents, including a 2009 patent on a process to make commercial production of diamonds cheaper, and played a key role in the development of the reactor that powered the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, the Nautilus.

His parents were Abraham and Minnie (née Pinck) Shapiro.

Zalman graduated from Passaic High School in New Jersey as the valedictorian in 1938.

Shapiro attended Johns Hopkins University, earning B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in 1942, 1945, and 1948, respectively.

Following his education, Shapiro relocated to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and started a career in engineering and chemistry. He worked for Westinghouse Electric and the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory, where he worked on developing the fuel for the first commercial nuclear power plant, the Shippingport Atomic Power Station.

Zalman founded Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp. (NUMEC) in Apollo, Pennsylvania in 1957 to develop improved methods of processing nuclear fuel.

Zalman Shapiro passed away at 96 years old.