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|Born||October 18, 1922|
|Died||January 1, 2007
White Plains, New York
|Occupation||Scientist, chemical engineer|
|Known for||The Manhattan Project|
Education and early career
Leon was a graduate of Columbia College (BS) and Columbia School of Engineering and Applied Science (MA, PhD), majoring in Chemical Engineering, a career he selected at the age of 13 while a student at Stuyvesant High School in New York City. While a graduate student at the Columbia School of Engineering, he was personally selected by the Dean, John R. Dunning, to join the Manhattan Project, the US atomic bomb development program. After an assignment at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, he moved his family to Los Alamos, New Mexico, where he eventually became an engineering design supervisor for one of the atomic weapons then under development. He then accepted assignments at the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and The Pentagon in Washington before moving into the private sector.
Post war career
In the mid-1950s, he joined the Nuclear Development Corporation of America in White Plains, New York, entering the emerging field of computer technology and development. Following stints in management at several large technology companies including Union Carbide, Teleregister, Western Union, General Precision Laboratories, and IBM where he was Manager of Advanced Applications Development, he became an independent consultant, working for both government clients including Oak Ridge National Laboratories and commercial clients including Mini-Computer Systems of Elmsford, NY.
On the side, he formed his own technology consulting and design company (Metroprocessing Corporation of America) to explore and exploit the emerging technology of touch-tone dialing (now used for push-button telephones). His goal was to make Metroprocessing the single source of information on the application of the twelve button touch tone telephone to private companies and public agencies.
In the mid-to-late 1950s, Leon volunteered at the Civil Defense Filter Center in White Plains, helping track and identify aircraft flying over the New York metropolitan area. He devoted much of his free time to the study of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs). He convinced a Congressional Committee to force the Air Force to permit him to publish and distribute, in its entirety, the Air Force's Project Blue Book Special Report No. 14, the primary source book on the Air Force’s findings related to UFO’s.
Leon died in White Plains Hospital on New Year's Day 2007. His ashes are buried in White Plains, New York, He is succeeded by his wife, Doris, his 3 children (Ed, Carole, and Martha), his two granddaughters (Leah and Rachel), and his three great-grandsons (Alex, Wesley, and Nathan).
- Local newspaper in White Plains, New York - Obituary on January 7, 2007