Home Famous Ukrainians Quiet Ukrainian behind IBM, Apple success: Lubomir Romankiw

Quiet Ukrainian behind IBM, Apple success: Lubomir Romankiw


Lubomyr Romankiw was born in 1931 when the city of Zhovkva was part of Poland. After WWII, the Romakiw family traveled to Munich, where Lubomyr finished the 4th and 5th grades of a local Ukrainian school. After two years in Germany, the family moved to a relative who lived in the Canadian province of Alberta. Lubomyr managed to quickly overcome the language barrier and discovered that he was better than many Canadian graduates in physics and mathematics. Although he wanted to become an architect, the tuition was too expensive, so Lubomir had to settle with Chemical Engineering. He rated second in his class of forty students. In just one year of work at a chemical plant, he became a deputy director, but he desired to learn more. With recommendations from the dean of the University of Alberta, Romankiw entered the famous MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received his master’s degree and became a Doctor in Metallurgy and Materials Science. When all the 16 companies he sent his CV to replied that they were ready to hire him, Lubomir chose IBM.

Mostly like a personal experiment, Romankiw started to create a small floppy drive, only 5 inches in diameter. And so it came as a pleasant surprise when Steve Wozniak showed great interest in that work. If a disc drive can be so small, a portable computer on its basis can be built as well, – was the idea. What seemed incredible at first, was realized in just two years. That is how the age of personal computers started.

Lubomyr Romankiw, the inventor of Thin Film Magnetic Heads was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Washington together with Steve Jobs.

These are Dr. Romankiw’s words in one of his interviews: “When you start your PC, seven of my patents are at play. When you first push the key and an image flashes on the screen, it is also my invention – magnetic heads that make a recording on the disk. The heads I designed are thinner than human hair. When you type letters, it is also my work.”

Lubomyr Romankiw was an active member of Plast – the Ukrainian division of the scout organization. In Plast, he climbed all the steps to the very top: cub leader, educator, messenger, rover, kosh leader, and stanitsa leader. Already as its chairman, he successfully negotiated the inclusion of Plast in world scouting. He admitted: Plast self-organized me and gave me a certain way of thinking, the Ukrainian patriotism. My parents said: “You cross the front doorstep and you are already in our Ukraine. There is a strange world beyond that doorstep. But our Ukraine is also here… For me, a Primary Plast Scout is an honorary title. This is the person who makes the highest value judgments and controls that the organization is moving in the right direction – in a way that is the best for Plast and the youth of Ukraine”. Dr. Romankiw visited Ukraine very often, almost annually, until 2013, when doctors did not recommend him to fly anymore. 

Dr Roamnkiw as a leader of the Plast



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Exit mobile version