Rustem Igor Gamow (Georgetown, D.C., November 4, 1935), son of physicist George 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.
- U.S. Patent 4,974,829—Hyperbaric chamber
- U.S. Patent 5,109,837—Hyperbaric chamber
- U.S. Patent 5,193,530—Underwater breathing apparatus
- U.S. Patent 5,360,001—Hyperbaric chamber closure means
- U.S. Patent 5,367,790—Shoe and foot prosthesis with a coupled spring system
- U.S. Patent 5,398,678—Hyperbaric chamber and exercise environment
- U.S. Patent 5,467,764—Hypobaric sleeping chamber
- U.S. Patent 5,580,094—In-line skate walking guard
- U.S. Patent 5,701,686—Shoe and foot prosthesis with bending beam spring structures
- U.S. Patent 5,947,116—Underwater breathing apparatus with pressurized snorkel
- U.S. Patent 6,029,374—Shoe and foot prosthesis with bending beam spring structures
Termination at CU
In 2002, a former assistant of Gamow’s filed a lawsuit against the University alleging sexual harassment and sexual assault from seven women. After the lawsuit was filed, CU began to take steps to fire the professor. In 2004 the CU Board of Regents unanimously upheld the recommendation to fire Gamow for "moral turpitude." Professor Gamow also filed a lawsuit against CU in an attempt to be reinstated.
In May 2006, CU lost the lawsuit that had been filed by Gamow's former assistant and was ordered to pay her $285,000 plus attorney's fees.
In September 2011, Igor Gamow released an open letter addressing some misconceptions about events leading to his termination from the University of Colorado.
- Gamow, George: My World Line: An Informal Autobiography, The Viking Press, New York, 1970, page 106.
- Gamow's personal homepage
- MIT inventor of the week
- ExplorerWeb profile and interview
- Fear and Groping In Boulder Denver Westworld June 1996 article, this article contains three sexual harassment stories, scan down to the heading 'Freshman Disorientation' for the one referencing Igor Gamow
- Isn't It Romantic Denver Westworld July 1996 article, documents an accusation of sexual harassment that was not upheld by university review despite finding the accuser 'credible' and recommending that Igor Gamow take four hours of sexual-harassment training
- The Smutty Professor Denver Westword May 2006 article on Gamow's problem with sexual harassment that resulted in his dismissal from the University of Colorado
- Open Letter to the Editor of the Boulder Daily Camera Igor Gamow, January 2007