MinskMinsk is the capital city of Belarus. It is one of the two major cities between Moscow and Berlin. The city buildings were completely destroyed during World War II, but the war could not change the spirit and imaginations of the citizens of Minsk. I have some photos to show you. Before this, did you know two important Americans had their family roots in Minsk?
- David Sarnoff was the Steve Jobs plus Bill Gates during the period 1920-60.
We all know Maxwell discovered theoretically electromagnetic radiation and
electromagnetic waves. Guglielmo Marconi proved that wireless communication
is possible based on Maxwell's theory. David Sarnoff started as a personal
messenger to Marconi, and created and led the world of consumer electronics
until the age of color TV (1915-1960). In 1915, nobody had a radio receiver.
Sarnoff came to New York from Minsk when he was 15 years old.
Click here for a detailed story.
- Richard Feynman was and still is an important figure in modern physics. He was born in the United States, but his father came from Minsk. Did you know this?
Everybody likes to talk about Feynman. If you have your photos with Feynman and an interesting story to tell about him, come to my webpage. I will be happy to add your photos and stories to my Feynman page.
I went to Minsk in 1994, 1996, 2002, 2004, and 2011 to attend conferences, but I have not yet been able to find how this city was able to play its role in producing the talents of Sarnoff and Feynman. This however does not prevent me from showing you some of the photos I took during my visits to the city. Perhaps, I could find out this source of talents while editing this webpage.
- In 1994, I was one of the fifteen American physicists to be invited to a
workshop organized by
Lev Tomil'chik (Stepanov Institute of Physics) and
(Belarus State University). In 2004, I met both of them again in Minsk,
and we had a photo together.
At that time, Belarus became independent from the Soviet Union, and the country's economy was chaotic. Yet, their physicists were eager to establish connections with their American colleagues. However, they could not arrange conference facilities within the city of Minsk. The conference was held at a military base which used to serve as the conference center for the Warsaw Pact nations. It was fun to live in the base with Belarusian soldiers. I was given one of the luxury suites which used to accommodate those communist generals. Indeed, this gave me an excellent opportunity to take photos with those soldiers. Click here for my photos with Russian soldiers.
- During my second visit in 1996, the conference was held in the city, and I
could visit shops and restaurants. I could also speak with students and
merchants. Unfortunately, my camera did not work well, and I could not take
too many photos.
I asked my colleagues what is the best industrial product from Minsk. They said the Zenit camera. Since I had a great respect for Russian cameras from my high school years, I decided to buy one, and I paid US$60 for it.
Here are some of the photos I took with this Zenit camera.
- Deer crossing the Street, Greenbelt (Maryland).
- Swimming Ducks and ripples.
- Myself at an Annapolis restaurant (1996).
- Two Comedians at a Renaissance festival near Annapolis (Maryland).
- Artillery Re-enactment of Washington's Independence War. Once every year, there is a three-day meeting of battle re-enactments at the Mt. Vernon ground. There are 70 regiments of re-enactment army throughout the United States, and they assemble here to show their talents and dedication to General George Washington.
Minsk Opera and Ballet Theater. Belarusians are very proud of this
cultural center. I went there during my first visit to Minsk in 1994, 1996, and
- Entrance to the Minsk Opera House. People are dressed nicely (1994).
- Spanish Dance in Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. This photo was taken while the dancers were acknowledging the applause after the performance of the Spanish dance in Minsk's opera house (May 2002).
- Two Opera Singers for the Minsk Opera (2011). I met these ladies at the Belarusian National Museum. It was a pleasure to talk about music and their opera group, and their opera house.
- Alexander the Great with his Doctors
in the National Museum of Arts. This museum has many items that cannot be
seen at other places.
- German Officers being
escorted by communist guerillas during the Great Patriotic War
(World War II). The woman fighter in this painting is carrying a
Shpagine machine gun. I know how to operate the Shpagine with a
drum-like magazine. How many of you have seen this machine?
- Fidel Castro's Bust. Castro was a great hero for the Soviet Union. The ideology is not a serious issue these days, and Castro is admired by many people in the United States, as a long-living ruler of Cuba standing up against the powerful neighbor. He served eleven U.S. presidents since 1959, and most of them pledged to get rid of him. I was the first-year graduate student when Castro took over the Cuban government in 1959, and I am still publishing papers. Please admire me!
- Korean Copper Printing Plate, telling Koreans love to write and print. They developed their own printing technology. I was very happy to see this item, because it was telling about myself.
- Chinese Musicians. I met these musicians in this art museum. They came here for a special Chinese program.
- Ceramic Jar dedicated to Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, and the Soviet Union.
- German Officers being escorted by communist guerillas during the Great Patriotic War (World War II). The woman fighter in this painting is carrying a Shpagine machine gun. I know how to operate the Shpagine with a drum-like magazine. How many of you have seen this machine?
- The Svislach River runs through the
city of Minsk. It becomes very wide and becomes like a lake at the center
of the city. Indeed, the city of Minsk was created by the settlers on the
banks of this lake during the 10th Century.
- On the northern side of this lake, there is a tall building used as the Hotel Belarus. I stayed in this hotel in 2004 while attending one of the QOQI conferences.
- On the south side of this lake, there is a huge building called "Minsk City Heros."
- Between these two huge artificial structures, there is a beautiful park around the lake (wide river).
- Ducks on this lake-side park.
- Russians get married on Saturdays.
A newly-wed couple and the family members are walking around this park.
- Along this River, Minsk is an old city with many traditional buildings.
- Along this River, Minsk is a modern city, with many modern buildings.
- Along this River, Minsk is an old and new city with many churches and monasteries.
- Along this River, Minsk is a developing city with many buildings going up.
- Vladimir Lenin stands tall in front
of the government buildings at the Independence Square (2011).
- In 1994, I was there to have a photo with Lenin. At that time, it was expected that the statue would be gone. I was very happy to be there again in 2011, to see that it was well preserved.
- Leninism is alive and well in Minsk (2011).
- Independence Square. Underneath this square is a big underground shopping center. The mushroom-like glass structures provide natural day light to the underground plaza.
- This Church is another landmark
at the Independence Square. The building was originally built for a Roman Catholic
church, but it served different purposes in the past depending on the political
climate. The building now is a Catholic church, serving its original purpose.
- Belarus State University is near the Independence Square. It was a Sunday afternoon, and students are in a festive mood.
- Another Photo of Students going through energy-dissipating processes, in preparation for another week of study.
- Entrance to Belarus Academy of Sciences. This Academy building tells Belarusians are giving a top priority to their science research.
- Closer View of the Entrance. I was here
in 1994, and came again in 2011 to attend the Fedorov Centennial Symposium.
- Fedorov Centennial Conference Sign at the entrance to the Academy Building.
- Conference Secretaries ready to help the
- Sergei Kilin giving a welcoming speech in Russian.
- Gerd Leuchs was the first recipient of
of the Fedorov Prize. Segei Kilin is awarding the prize.
- Backyard Park of the Academy is an art gallery.
- Professor Sergei Kilin is very proud of this piece of art and invited us to have a photo together. He asked me to post this photo in my website, and I did.
- The Academy Library is the most important source of wisdom in Belarus.
- Entrance to the Library
- Sergei Kilin and his Family (2004).
Professor Kilin is of course the leader of the conference series
called QOQI (International Conference Quantum Optics and Quantum Information).
Its 13th meeting took place in Kiev in 2010. We expect the 14th meeting
will be held at another interesting place.
- I was one of those invited to his
house after the 2004 QOQI meeting. The conference was held at the
Hotel Belarus in Minsk.
- Gerd Leuchs received the first Fedorov prize from Kilin (Minsk 2011).
- with Conference Participants (Minsk 2002). Barry Sanders can be seen in this photo.
- with Alexander Nizovtsev and Luis Sancez-Soto
in Minsk (2004).
- Alexander Nizovtsev works closely with Kilin. Whenever I attend the QOQI conference, Kilin is too busy, but I can talk with Nizovtsev on various issues. He likes my webpages. When I went to Minsk in September of 2011, he was kind enough to take me and my wife to the airport after the Fedorov conference. He was driving his son's car, presumably better than his own. He was very happy to tell me his son studied in the United States and works for a company in Moscow engaged in international trades.
- These Two Ladies from Kilin's research group are familiar to those attend his QOQI conferences. They are Raisa Zaporozhchenko and Tatiana Karlovich (younger lady). They wanted to be on my webpage since we took this photo in 2004.
- Both born in North Korea. I met this Belarusian physicist during the the Fedorov Symposium (2011). He was born in North Korea while his father was a Soviet Air Force pilot serving in North Korea from 1945-49. I was born in Korea before the country was didided in 1945. I was in the North then, but my pro-American family moved to the South in 1946, before Kim Il-Sung set up his dynasty in 1948. Click here for my Korean background.
This image is from the Feynman Computing Center at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia, Illinois, USA.
- I was one of those invited to his house after the 2004 QOQI meeting. The conference was held at the Hotel Belarus in Minsk.
- Feynman's Father came from
Minsk. What aspect of the Minsk culture did Feynman inherit? Feynman is known
as a person who speaks his mind. Did this culture come from Minsk?
- David Sarnoff also came from Minsk, and was a creative business man in the United States. He also spoke his mind, but he was a blunt talker to his colleagues. He had many personal enemies. This is the reason why he is not as famous as Thomas Edison or Henry Ford.
- I do not mind telling physics
stories embarrassing to others, and I regard myself as a person who speaks his
mind. Even these days, my papers get two or three referee rejections before
they become journal articles. It took me eight years to publish
this article constraining an
illustrative example of
Feynman's rest of the universe.
- However, the city of Minsk seems to be consistent with my straight-talk habit.
Thus, Feynman's culture of speaking his mind could be traced to Minsk.
Indeed, during my recent visit to the city (September 2011), I enjoyed talking
with many people (physicists or non-physicists) in Minsk. One of the young
conference participants asked me how I could talk to everybody in a strange city.
I told him "I speak my mind." After saying this, I thought about Feynman.
- In order to be creative, you have to be honest to yourself. To be so, you should be able to speak your own mind. This is what Feynmanism is all about.
copyright@2011 by Y. S. Kim, unless otherwise specified.