In Memoriam: Stanley Sajnacki
Posted: August 17, 2010
Stanley Sajnacki, who joined the Reactor Division as a pile operator D on February 4, 1952, died on December 3, 2009, at the age of 85. He had retired as a nuclear operator A on August 29, 1986, then returned as a temporary nuclear reactor operator from March 4, 1987, until September 15, 1989.
Three colleagues sent these remembrances of Sajnacki and his valuable contributions.
Remarks from Daniel Slatkin, Medical Department retiree.
Stan operated research reactors at Brookhaven for nearly 47 years, from
1952 through 1989. I remember him respectfully and fondly not just as a
reactor operator, but as a member of our boron neutron capture therapy
(BNCT) research team during the eighties. He personally checked the
Brookhaven Medical Research Reactorís (BMRR) basement plumbing and made
preventive maintenance adjustments with meticulous care, promptly. I
recall a lightning strike on the cylindrical enclosure during one of our
experiments (Proc. Nati. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 85, pp. 4020-4024, June 1988).
The four boron rods fell and we were shut down immediately. Calmly and
carefully, Stan checked the integrity of circuits, plumbing, and
cooling flows, then pulled the rods back up one by one slowly, but in
a timely manner, so we could resume our irradiations at 3 MW within
the hour. He was our master of operations at the BMRR .... not only
good-hearted and courteous, but eager to help as a team player.
I do not have the expertise to evaluate Stanís technical skills,
but I tried to emphasize the consequences of his work -- citing him
explicitly in a lecture I gave last August at the Canadian Light
Source(Microbeam Radiation Therapy (MRT) - Historical Perspective,
August 27, 2009). I believe Stan would have been pleased to know that
his early contributions, in part, enabled clinical BNCT to be pursued
actively overseas recently, especially in Finland, reportedly with some
success in palliating devastating cancers of the head and neck.
From Henry Hauptman, Staff Services Division
Stan was a very skilled reactor operator and he was able to keep the BMRR
operating reliably and at little cost. Stan had a great work ethic and was
essentially his own supervisor. Most reactor operators would have needed or
wanted a great deal of supervision. Stan saw what needed to be done and did
it within the limit established for the reactor. He always kept the needs of
the experimenters in mind and tried to help them.
John Kalef-Ezra wrote:
I had the pleasure of knowing Stan and collaborating with him. He was a great
man, one of the kind of human being that is hard to find nowadays.
Last Modified: August 17, 2010