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Jacques Pankove
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Jacques Pankove

Jacques I. Pankove, 93, of Princeton Junction died July 12, 2016. Born in Chernigov, Ukraine, to Evsey and Miriam Pantchechnikoff, he and his parents immigrated to Constantinople, Turkey, in 1923 to flee Czarist Russia. A year later, the family immigrated to Marseilles, France, where they lived for nearly 20 years until the Nazi invasion. He moved in 1942 to Oakland, Calif., and later lived in Boulder, Colo., before moving to the Princeton area in 2010. 

Dr. Pankove was a Distinguished Engineering Alumnus of the University of California at Berkeley for his achievement in the discovery of Light Emitting Diodes, which transformed the world of luminescence. His scientific pursuit of LEDs and many other devices started at the RCA Lab in Princeton, where he spent most of his scientific career. 

He earned his BS in electrical engineering in 1944 and MS in electrical engineering in 1948 from University of California at Berkeley, followed by a PhD in physics from University of Paris in 1960. He returned to Berkeley in 1968 as a visiting McKay Lecturer and, using his class notes, authored a seminal textbook Optical Processes in Semiconductors in 1972, which was subsequently translated into several languages. He was a prolific inventor, author, and speaker and served as an editor of several research journals. He was awarded over 90 U.S. patents. 

Upon his retirement from RCA in 1985, he relocated to Boulder for a joint appointment to the Solar Energy Research Institute and the Department of Engineering and Computer Science at University of Colorado. He was later appointed to a research chair at the university’s College of Engineering. In 1998 he received a Rank Prize in Optoelectronics. Later he was Professor Emeritus and founded the Boulder research company Astralux. 

He served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in the Philippines. 

A creative artist, he took classes in print making, sculpture, and painting from the Princeton Art Association, which he supported over many years. 

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Ethel, two sons, Martin (Caroline) of Alexandria, Va., and Simon (Melissa) of West Windsor; a sister, Lili Good of Oakland; and two grandchildren. 

Services were held July 15 with arrangements by Orland’s Ewing Memorial Chapel, Ewing.

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