Humanitarian Awards 2011


Dr. Baroukh Beroukhim

May 19, 2011

Dr. Baroukh Beroukhim is a world-renowned physicist, educator and philanthropist. He was born on January 12, 1912 in Tehran, Iran to parents Asher Beroukhim and Aalieh Ghatan. His father, Asher, was one of the most reputable merchants in Tehran. The couple gave birth to six children (four sons and two daughters), who went on to reach high levels of education and obtain doctorate degrees.

From early on, Dr. Beroukhim had a penchant for learning and was known as the best student in his class. With an average grade of 19.75 out of 20, he completed his preliminary studies at the well-known Alliance High School where he obtained a degree in French. In 1929, he participated in an exam that paved the path for his profound career. The exam results demonstrated his skills in the fields of Medicine, Engineering and Science and earned him an introduction to the Reza Shah Pahlavi, who was impressed by Dr. Beroukhim’s talents. Dr. Beroukhim was then sent, with just one hundred other students, to Europe to further his studies.

In 1935, Dr. Beroukhim received his Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from France’s Strasbourg University, the institution where Louis Pasteur conducted his research.

Shortly after, he attended Montpelier University and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in physics as the first step toward attaining a doctorate degree in the field. His extraordinary talent and significant research in the area of Physics of Light earned him great respect in the eyes of his peers and superiors. Finally, after years of studying, he completed his doctoral dissertation on “Diffusion of Light in Chloure-d’Ethyle” with Honors and was granted the doctoral degree he so deeply deserved.

In 1943, shortly after he returned to Iran, Dr. Baroukh Beroukhim married Ezat Laed. The couple raised four children — Dr. Bijan, Dr. Behrooz, Dr. Benjamin and Dr. Kamran — who are all among the most outstanding and skillful physicians in the society.

Dr. Beroukhim first taught at the Teachers Higher College of the University of Tehran, which was the only institute for higher education in the country at the time. He was later drafted and joined the Military Officers School where he taught in the Aviation and Officers Schools while completing his military service, and was hired by Iran’s Ministry of Education to work in Alborz High School, which continues to be one of the best schools in Iran to this day. He also taught physics in French at Le Lycee Razi (the Razi School) for thirty-six years.

His dedication to education prompted him to join Iran’s Service of Education. However, he was disappointed with what he discovered. To his surprise, Dr. Beroukhim found there were no student textbooks on physics. His solution was to write a series of comprehensive physics and chemistry textbooks which were widely used and to this day, after half a century since their publication, continue to be used by Iranian students.

Dr. Beroukhim’s constant service to academia garnered him various awards from Iran’s imperial court and numerous scientific and educational medals in recognition of his contribution to society and for his scientific and educational services. Despite the Iranian revolution, Dr. Beroukhim and his family chose to reside in Iran for two years before opting to leave their homeland for a calmer way of life in the United States. Although of advanced age and facing the challenges of adjusting to a new environment, this active and energetic man did not remain idle.

He taught Farsi in Los Angeles from 1980 to 1995 and in 1990, he helped establish the Magbit Foundation, where he served on the Board of Trustees, Board of Directors and the Executive Board for many years. Among his other achievements are the establishment of the “Anjoman-i-Sokhan” (Speech Society) and the “Bonyaad-i-Farhang-e-Iraniya” (The Iranian Educational and Cultural Foundation).

Dr. Beroukhim’s other accomplishments include serving as the principal of the Kourosh School for boys and girls as well as the Etefagh School and he is credited with being one of the founders of the Azar Educational Group. It was due to his unbridled enthusiasm and efforts that the educational authorities of the cities of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills agreed to recognize and accept Farsi as a second language for students.

Dr. Beroukhim is always ready, willing and able to help students. He has been a constant friend of all students, regardless of age, in need of assistance and guidance. His services and favors are invaluable and have repeatedly been appreciated and cited by authorities in Beverly Hills. In recognition of his efforts, Mr. Allan Alexander, then Mayor of Beverly Hills, proclaimed September 23, 1995 as Iranian Education Day.

So rarely does an individual come into this life whose work affects the lives of countless other people the way Dr. Baroukh Beroukhim’s work has affected others. The world is better off for knowing him. His legacy will live on forevermore.