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Igor Gamow - Famous Inventor

: Igor Gamow
: 4-November-1935
: United States
: University of Colorado Boulder
: Inventor

About Inventor

Rustem Igor Gamow is a former microbiology professor at the University of Colorado and inventor. His best known inventions include the Gamow bag and the Shallow Underwater Breathing Apparatus.

Rustem Igor Gamow was born to George Gamow, the celebrated cosmologist and physicist, and ballet dancer Rho Gamow. Finishing high school at age 17, he joined the National Ballet Company. He held such jobs as breaking horses, delivering packages by motorcycle, and teaching karate before enrolling in the University of Colorado Boulder ("CU-Boulder") in 1958, where his father taught physics, microbiology and microphysics.

Gamow worked on Phycomyces blakesleeanus during a postdoc under Max Delbrück at Caltech. At CU-Boulder, he did Phycomyces research for over twenty years, mainly on the avoidance and anemotropic responses, helical growth, and cell-wall mechanical properties. He also studied the infrared-detectors of the Boa constrictor.

An avid outdoorsman, Gamow developed many inventions for safety in outdoor activities. His first important one, patented in 1990, was the Gamow bag enabling mountain climbers to avoid altitude sickness by raising the surrounding pressure. Sir Edmund Hillary, the first expedition leader to summit Mount Everest, wrote him in congratulation. Another was the Shallow Underwater Breathing Apparatus ("SUBA"), a pressurized snorkel system permitting swimmers to breathe easily as deep as ten feet under water.

Igor Gamow continues to work in bionics, on an orthopedic knee brace that stores energy within a spring from the hamstring and redirects it to the quadriceps.


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