A POLISH CHEMIST AND LCD SCREENS

WITOLD IWAŃCZAK

Liquid crystals are liquids partly arranged in order and created by anisometric molecules. These substances can be defined differently as organic and organometallic chemical compounds. This state is distinguished by unique connection of a typical feature of liquid which is liquidity, with orderliness typical for crystalline structures.

Chemistry and LCD

The liquid-crystal state appears in a range of temperatures, characteristic for a particular substance, but in the range from -5°C to 55°C. In a lower temperature the substance turns into crystalline state, whereas in the higher one – it is in a liquid state. We have three basic types of the liquid-crystalline substance: neumatic, smectic and cholesteric. Liquid crystals are often used in the form of a thin layer placed between two electrodes. A group of scientists in the company Radio Corporation of America, which was run by Barton, dealt with possibilities of lowering temperature of melting of known nematics through adding small amounts of various organic substances to them. These were those works which were successfully completed and the whole team of researchers run by George Heilmer created the first LCD screen in 1968.

Childhood in Poland and the war

Lucjan Antoni Bartoszewicz was born in Vilnus on 27 March 1921 as a son of Wacław Bartoszewicz and Jadwiga from Wirpsz family. He had a younger brother Zbigniew. After the Soviet attack on Poland in 1939 he was sent to Siberia and imprisoned in the Soviet camp of compulsory work in Workuć, in north of the Arctic Circle. After the attack of Germany on the USSR in 1941 Bartoszewicz was released from the camp and joined the second Polish Corpus. Being in the Polish Army of gen. Władysław Anders he went along the route to Near East. At that time he finished non-commissioned officer training. He fought in Northern Africa and Italy, among the others in Monte Cassino, for which he was awarded with the Cross of Valours. After the war he stayed in Italy where in the years 1946 – 51 he studied chemic engineering at the polytechnics in Turyń. During his studies he met his future wife – an Italian woman, Carolina Salerano, whom he married in 1949. In December 1951 he, his wife and his daughter Elena Bartoszewicz emigrated to the USA where they changed their surname into Barton.

Scientific work in the USA

In 1952 Lucian began work in Thiokol Chemical Corporation and in 1955 he began working in an exploration laboratory of Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in Princeton in New Jersey where he worked for 25 years. He dealt with photoconductors and television kinescopes as well as liquid-crystal substances. He also studied at the Chemistry Department of Rutgers University in New Jersey, from which he graduated in 1957. In the 60s of the last century he joined a team working on practical using a substance of nematic proprieties, that is, liquid crystals. In the team there were also: George Heilmeier, Louis Zanoni, Joel Goldmacher and Joseph Castellano. The works were being carried out in two directions. The group of Heilmeier, a chief of the whole team, were searching for synthetic nematics maintaining their parameters in the room temperature, but it was the group run by Barton which managed to achieve the demanded effect and on 28 May 1968 in Rockefeller Center in New York the RCA company presented a few devices in which the LCD screen had been applied. Those were an electronic watch and a small flat screen on which a fragment of TV picture was displayed. In reports on that event press predicted that ‘applying that invention will help thin TV screen to appear which can be hung on the wall like pictures’.

Barton was the author or co-author of many scientific books of great significance for development of technology of holographic memories and liquid-crystal screens. He gained at least 6 American patents. He had been awarded for his exploration work many times. However there are two most important awards. The first of them was David Samoff Outstanding Team Award in Science in 1969, granted for ‘basic research of liquid crystals and defining a way of using them to build screens. In 2006, he, Heilmeier and Zanonim were granted Milestone Award by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), for their contribution in elaborating technologies of the liquid-crystal display.

Retirement and family

Barton really missed his homeland and was trying to be in touch with his family. When the war ended, he had to find it first. His brother Zbigniew Bartoszewicz lived with his family in Poland, whereas in the United States, in Kentucky, his cousin Andrzej Czerwiński lived with his family. His daughter Elena and her husband Donald and children – Marisa and Jospeh live in Charlottesville in Virginia. In 1980, having retired, Lucian and his wife Carolina moved to Florida and settled down on Sanibel island, where they enjoyed long walks on the beach. Barton had been going swimming and cycling till his late age. He was a fervent fisherman. When his wife died in 1997, he moved to Fort Myers, also in Florida. He lived there for 12 years and at the end of his life he moved to his daughter in Charlottesville. Lucian Barton (Bartoszewicz) died on 15 June 2009 in the local hospital at the age of 88. He was a great promoter of the exceptional role of Poland in the history of the world and his personal savings let him be generous for lots of people. He was not keen on popularity.

Translated by Aneta Amrozik

Niedziela 12/2018 (25 III 2018)

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Lidia Dudkiewicz • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl