Nicholas Leibovic’s Biography
K. Nicholas Leibovic was born in Lithuania on June 14, 1921 to parents who were both dentists. He was sent to a German gymnasium in Klaipeda (Memel), but when Hitler came to power in Germany, Jewish students were forced to leave school and Leibovic went to England in January 1939 to finish his schooling. When war broke out in Europe and Hitler attacked the Soviet Union, his parents embarked upon an odyssey which finally ended in Samarkand where his father died. After the war his mother and two sisters returned to Lithuania. Leibovic worked tirelessly through political channels to get them out of the USSR. Finally, with the help of Richard Crossman, a prominent British politician, and through the British prime minister’s office of Harold Macmillan, his mother was allowed to leave, one of a group of 12, as a gesture of goodwill by Stalin to Macmillan.
Leibovic began his graduate studies at Trinity College, University of Cambridge, where he got his degree in Engineering and proceeded to Birkbeck College, University of London, where he obtained his degree in Mathematics. After working in teaching and industrial research in England, he moved to the United States in 1960. He worked at the Westinghouse Research Laboratories in Pittsburgh where he got immersed in research on cybernetics and then came to Buffalo, joining the faculty in the Department of Biophysics at the New York State University at Buffalo in 1963. In addition to his professorship in biophysics he was adjunct professor of ophthalmology, assistant director of the Center for Theoretical Biology, an influential voice in the Center for Cognitive Science, as well as serving on numerous university committees until his retirement as professor emeritus in 1996.
In 1944 Leibovic married Marianne Karpf with whom he had three sons. After her death in 1998 he married an old friend, Vera Coppard, in 2005, who passed away in 2017. “Although there were times when the outcome of the war was a frightening uncertainty, although I was separated from my family and was tormented by the uncertainty of their whereabouts and even whether they were alive, I myself was never in a concentration camp and never suffered the physical tortures and death of millions of other unfortunate innocents. I was a witness but not a victim. That was my fate.”