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2.1.Autobiography and future plans of Leonid
I, Leonid Leites, was born April 29, 1932 in Moscow. Jew. I have not ever belonged to any parties. Don’t have any brothers or sisters. My whole life I was incredibly lucky – with parents, relatives, with teachers, co-students, colleagues and friends, and since 1987 – with a wife.
Our Leites clan originates from Mstislavl, Mogilev district (gubernia) in Belorussia. There are more than 450 known descendants of my great-great-great-grandfather Sholom (including spouses). Grandfather Gershen (1860 – 1947), tanner, moved to Gomel. He had 6 children, which stayed friends with each other for their whole life. In my father’s and mine generations there are a lot of scientific fellows and Doctors of science (the next degree after PhD) among Leiteses, including women. It’s an interesting fact, that none of the female Leiteses that became Doctors of science did not take their husband’s last name, even though all of them were married. Most well known Leiteses from our clan are economist and publicist Kusel Leites (1882 – 1955), who lived in Finland, Germany, Denmark, France and USA, in 1939 he published an article predicting holocaust; his son, political analyst, Nathan Leites (1911 – 1987), who lived mainly in USA; physiologist and endocrinologist Samuel Leites (1899 -1972), author of the “Leites rule”, who lived in Charkov, …, Moscow. 6 out of 11 grandchildren of my grandfather became Doctors of science and professors.

My father, Veniamin (Nyoma, March 6,1902 – May 14, 1968), lived in Moscow since 1921. He was a tanner-engineer, chemist, foundry, inventor, professor. Twice he successfully defended his Doctors of science thesis (in 1948 and 1952), but did not receive a degree. He is an author of 6 books, 5 standards, 35 inventions and 60 articles. When KGB was trying to recruit him as an informant, he pretended to be a crazy inventor. He had Parkinson decease since 1950; last 10 years of his life my mother had to spoon-feed him.

My mother’s ancestors (Plisetsky), most likely originate from a village name Pliska in Chernigov district of Ukraine. My great-grandfather Meir (circa 1830 – 1910) was a clerk in Chernigov town administration. There are about 250 of his known descendants. Grandfather Israel (1860 – Oct.29, 1942) lived in Novozybkov, Gomel and Leningrad. In Gomel he owned a book store at one time. He had 7 children, which remained friends for the whole life. Among Plisetskys there is a significant number of scientists, engineers and other professionals, but most noticeable are people that dedicated their life to arts – ballet dancer Maya Plisetskaya, ballet dancer and teacher Azary Plisetsky, actor-acrobat Vladimir Plisetsky (Dec.31,1903 – Dec.31, 1941, killed on duty during undercover mission), poet German Plisetsky (May 17, 1931 – Dec.2, 1992). Among my cousins: Minna Pevsner-Perelman (May11, 1923 – Feb.14, 2007), English teacher and translator, who died at work after just finishing giving a lecture at the age of 83; Boris Pevsner, expert in digital television, author of a book Color Television Systems among other books and works, and number of political articles and memoirs over the last years, and books Time reversed. Turmoil of our era and private lives. Essays and memoirs. (lulu, 2008.- 230 pp.) and Life and opinions (lulu, 2013.- 203 pp.); Lev Lomize (Jan.26,1931 – March 6, 2006), author of extraordinary, in my opinion, books From high school physics to relativity theory (1991) in Russian and Non-Postulated Relativity. A new Way of Presenting Special Relativity (Ann Arbor, 2004), written in English; Michael Lomize, geologist, professor, who is continued to work in Moscow State University till the age of 81; Erica Plisetskaya, physiologist, Doctor of Science, who lives in USA since 1979 and worked till the age of 70.

My mother, Sima Plisetskaya (Sonya, Sophia, Oct.1, 1901 – Dec.2, 1998), lived in Moscow since 1921 and in New York with me since 1995. She was a chemist (author of 8 articles) and a teacher. She was always trying to help everyone. She was like a mother to all my classmates, college friends, everyone. She was riding a bike till age 75. Until last months of her live (she died at 97) she kept sound mind, great memory and was very active.

Since 1934-37 I keep in touch with my summer (dacha) friends Tamara Krasina and Shoshana Kamin (later PhD in math), since 1940 – with school friends Arnold Avrusin and Semen Pruzhinin (all 4 live in Israel) and now – with widows of school friends that remained in Moscow.

In Moscow all male school number 281 our class was privileged to have wonderful teachers: Ksenia Vasilevna Lushina (5 to 10th grades, Russian language and literature, homeroom teacher), Nikolay Tikhonovich Kuryndin (5 to 6th grades physics club, school principle), Anna Abramovna Abramskaya (5 to 10th grades, English language), Vasiliy Tikhonovich Usachev (7, 9 and 10th grades – physics and astronomy), Dora Abramovna Bakhrakh (8 to 10th grades – history), Iosif Borisovich Veitsman (10th grade – mathematics) and others. Out of 26 students that graduated with me 3 became Doctors of science – Lev Solomonovich German, Eduard Zinovievich (Sasha) Lyubimsky and me. Number of others were equally strong experts. My friend Boris Davidovich Summ graduated from the same school, but a year after me, and became a head of the department of colloid chemistry in Moscow State University.

Since I was 12 years old (1944) I fixed things and did carpentry work at our summer house (dacha) in Kratovo.

From 1945 to 1947 (6 to 8th grades) together with my friend Arnold Abramovich Avrusin I belonged to electro-technical club at Polytechnic museum.

From 1947 to 1949 (8 to 10th grades) I attended weekly Physics club for high school students, which was led by talented students of Moscow State University Michael Aleksandrovich (Mika, Mikael’ Moiseevich) Bongrad (Nov.26, 1924 – early Aug. 1971 – died during mountain expedition in Pamir mountains – mountain explorer) and Efim Arsen’yevich (Fima) Liberman (March 1, 1925 – Sept. 3, 2011).

I’ve graduated from school with honors (gold medal) in 1949. Despite my unparalleled record as a winner of all contests that were held by Moscow State University, the University has not accepted me as a student.

I was accepted in Electromechanical department of Moscow power institute (EMF MEI), where Jews were still accepted. Among professors there were Nikolay Nikolaevich Brysgalov (1st year - descriptive geometry), Israel Abramovich Brin (1st to 3rd year, mathematics; by the way, he is a grandfather of Sergey Brin, Google’s founder), Alter Abramovich Oykher (1st to 2nd year, strength of materials), Lev Alekseevich Bessonov (2nd to 3rd year, theory foundation of electrical engineering), Alla Georgievna Slivinskaya (3rd to 5th year, electric apparatus). My graduation project I did under the supervision of Vladimir Victorovich Kogen-Dalin (Sept.8, 1923 – Feb.19,1985) in experimental aspects, Aleksandr Iosifovich Dolginov (~1910 – Oct.1968) in theoretical aspects, and Georgiy Stepanovich Spuv (Feb.25, 1901 – May 17, 1982) in construction and technology. I graduated from MEI in 1955 with honors.
After graduation I was sent to work to Moscow Transformer Factory. There I asked to join the team lead by G.S. Spuv in department of the Chief Designer of the factory. An amazing engineer, Samuel Isaakovich Rabinovich (May 31, 1905 – Apr.1, 1982), was the Chief at the time (until 1960). For five years I worked under Spuv’s supervision on design and calculation methods, researched and invented new technologies. Among my other superiors were also Nikolay Ivanovich Bulgakov (July 13, 1897 – Nov.3, 1982), Aleksey Nikolaevich Vorobyev-Golbert (May 14, 1927 – Dec.26,1988) and Aleksandr Grigorievich Kraiz (Sept.28, 1913 – Jan 5, 1994) – all outstanding engineers. They taught me how to make an examination of a project, to correspond with other organizations, to make a synopsis of an article, to redact, and so on.

Next to me in the same department worked my university friends – Sasha Bernshtein, Rita Kogan, Nina Rozovskaya, Natan Khublarov and new friends – Volodya Anshin, Leonid Dorozhko, Grisha Shneider; and in VEI worked my new friends Valeriy Karasev, Sasha Lurie. I began to make new friends among my colleagues in other cities too, for example, Iosif Yampolsky in Zaporozhie, Janush Turowski in Lodz.

In 1961 I built toroidal current-limiting reactor 110 kV 1350 A according my invention. 46 units of this reactor were built and they turned out to be practically accident-prove.

On Dec.20, 1963 I successfully defended my PhD thesis.

In 1965 I transferred into transformers lab lead by Emanuil Abramovich Mankin (May 28,1905 – Apr.20, 1968) of All-Union Electric-Technology Institute (VEI), where I again was lucky to met a lot of interesting people – highly qualified specialists of the older generation, and then of our generation as well; one of them was Leonid Michailovich Fisher. I met there (1967) with Oleg Valentinovich Tozoni (Jan 3, 1927 – Jun 1, 2012, lived in the USA since 1989). At the end of 1965 I became friends with active attendant of my lectures in ZKBEnergo, young engineer, Leonid Petrovich Kubarev (born 7.12.1941, later vice-president VEI, senior engineer Glavtransformer, director of Moscow power plant and, finally, creator and head / chief constructor of successful KB Ruselprom-transormer).

It would be a long list if I attempted to list all my colleagues, but a lot of them could be found among my co-authors on my publications list.

I took part in creating of a lot of the largest and the most complicated transformers and reactors in Zaporizze, Moscow, Ural and others transformer plants. I am an author of the standard on reactor terminology, of guides and manuals on calculus and test methods, of inventions, more than hundred publications about listed subjects, including 4 books. Among them is the book Electromagnetic Calculations of Transformers and Reactors. Moscow, 1981. 392 pp, (in Russian).

A few times I had discovered the reason of defect found at transformer or reactor test and had invented economic solution of the problem.

The most of my inventions and researches were in the area of reactors common theory and design, electro-dynamic forces in reactors, leakage magnetic field in transformers and their equivalent circuits, eddy and circulating currents and transpositions in transformers and reactors, non-sine currents, and steel saturation.

On Jan.22, 1988 I defended my Doctor of science thesis in Moscow Power Institute (after long hindrance from director of VEI and principal of EMF MEI) and got the degree soon. On Dec.21, 1993 I was elected in Russian academy of electrical engineering sciences as Associate member in Theoretical electrical engineering department.

I have a son Gregory (born 1959) from my first marriage (1955 – 1983 with my co-student in University, Galina Aleksandrovna Kagan). He graduated from MEIS (electrical communications institute) 1981. He lives in USA since 1990. He is married to Elena Miller (pharmacist from Leningrad) and has two sons (Lev Miller and Phillip Leites, born 1987 and 1995 respectively). He is a programmer; lives in New Jersey.

My second wife (married 1987) was Bella Michaelovna Ryzhenskaya (March 2, 1940 – Apr.21, 2012, since 2001 – Leites). Her ancestors come from Mstislavl. She graduated from EMF MEI in 1963, has PhD. Passed away at home in her sleep after 2.5 years of cancer treatment. Had time to publish and give away to her friends a book of her poems (Bella Leites. Weaving the thread of life. Poems – New York, 2012. – 99 pp. First edition came March 8, 2012) and to received very positive feedback.

I immigrated to USA (Queens, New York) Nov.2, 1995 with my mother, my wife and her daughter (son-in-law came almost 5 months later).

My wife’s daughter, Anna (born 1973, graduated from Moscow State University’s math department in 1995), and her husband, Ilya Mayzel (born 1965, graduated from MEIS in 1987), gave birth to five daughters (Avigayl Miriam – 1994, Esther – Dec.13,1995 – Dec.22, 2002, Adina Tova – 2004, Shoshana Sima – 2006 and Rena Leah – 2011) and one son (Jacob Benjamin – 2013). Ester – bright wunderkind – passed away from cancer in 2002 at the age of 7 after two years in intense treatment. In USA Anna works as an actuary (specialist in insurance and pension risks, has degree of FSA, EA, MAAA), Ilya is computer specialist (engineer specializing in computer networks).

Since April 1968, I collect information about clans of the Leiteses and Plysetskys. In 1990’s I discovered that two other then unknown to me Leiteses, my cousin Victor Laties (professor from USA) and unrelated to us Gregoriy Leitis from Germany, have started their genealogical research in the same 1968. Mstislavl Jewish community Census of 1834, 1850 and 1858 saved in Minsk State Historical Archive. I had seen a lot of well-known last names in this census of little town, for example: Avrusin, Agroskin, Bakhrakh, Dolginov, Drukarov, Lein, Mankin, … When I’ve started my research I assumed that all Leiteses are related, but it turned out to be incorrect.

With my wife’s help I published bilingual (Russian and English) book – Leites, Leonid, – The Plisetskys, Markovskys, & Messerers: А Genealogy. / New York:, 2001. 256 p. The book mentions 451 people. Main libraries in England, Israel, Russia and USA have this book.

We also published another book – S.I. Rabinovitch and E.A. Mankin: The life work of two outstanding transformer engineers. Essays, memoirs, and documents. Commemorating the centenary of their births / Ed. by L.V. Leites. NY: 2005. 374 p. (in Russian only). In beginning of 2015 unexpected supplement was put together.
The experience that I accumulated doing genealogical research is summarized in my presentation for 26th Jewish Genealogy International Congress (New York, 2006). Presentation (50 minutes) was given in English.

Few essays on various topics are also included in the internet publication of M.Uskach called “We are from MEI of 1950s” (in Russian only) - (

In 2004 in Moscow a book called Power Transformers Reference book (in Russian only) was published. It contains a chapter 4 “Parallel connection of transformers” written by me. In 2007 I submitted another chapter “Principles of calculations of transformers and shunt reactors” for the upcoming second volume of the book.

From time to time I get requests to develop calculation methodologies (specifically, in 2006 – calculation of losses in steel and stainless strip at the core of transformer), to conduct lectures and lessons on transformer factories in USA and Israel, and for consulting. In 2007 I developed simple and elegant method of calculations of losses from circulating currents in three-phase air-core reactor without transpositions.

April 29, 2007 Bella and Anya made grand celebration of my 75th birthday. Anya then gifted me a site that should have become* “Bella and Leonid Leites”. By April 29, 2014 Anya in secret from me made a book of 42 co-authors “Science of Leites. Volume 1” – more than 100 page.
I hope (and I must) still complete* the following tasks:

(1) Publish second and third volumes of the Plisetskys genealogy book (4/29/2008 I thought that it was close to completion, tried to hurry and publish it in 2009, but it is still not finished).

(2)**– Thanks to initiative and active help of L.P. Kubarev completed in 2014 (see : Revise and update my book Electromagnetic Calculations of Transformers and Reactors. Moscow, 1981. 392 pp, that is still transformer specialists’ bible, and post it on Internet. Now 422 pp.

(3) Publish three-volume book of the Leiteses Genealogy, which is estimated to have 800 pages and include 1200 people (by 2003 I prepared about 200 pages, but then the work was put on hold).

(4) Publish monograph on methodology of electromagnetic calculations (word methodology and appropriate text were thrown out of 1981 book and my Doctor thesis, because at the time only possible methodology was Marx’s and Lenin’s methodology and everyone was afraid to use that conception).

(5) Prepare a book of problems (learning tasks) about transformers (I was collecting problems for 30 years).

(6) Write memoirs – interesting stories from transformer-engineering history and my life.

(7) Organize my parents correspondence (from 1926 – 1929).

I suppose the key reason for my accomplishments is the fact that I enjoy the work process more than the result.

I believe in the following motto: “Try to do a good job…”

I believe in the statement that S.P. Korolev is credited with: “If you did you work quickly, but inaccurately, everyone will forget that you did it quickly, but will remember that you did it inaccurately. If you did the work slowly, but correctly, everyone will forget that you did it slowly, but will remember that you did it correctly.”

Slow unrushed work almost never makes me tired, but rush work leads to exhaustion and mistakes. That is why work to meet a deadline is not for me.

Planning work of unknown volume and undefined methodology is unreliable guesswork.

My whole life projects were finding me; I always had more work that I had time to do. I was successful, when for a given period of time I considered one task important and the rest – obstacles, which I have to ignore.

I am very happy that my friends often became close friends with each other.

I am very grateful to Anna and her family for number of amazing presents and day to day help


Edited by Boris Pevzner March 10, 2008 and Bella Leites March 11, 2008, and later; translated by Anna Mayzel.

Index is in Russian version only.


*- In 2012 (after Bella passed away) I prepared materials to update the site and proposed reconstruction of the site. Till this day Anya did not have time to take care of it (birth of 6th child in May 2013, reconstruction of the house which is not finished in 2014, work and family).

**- In Anya’s book: “As a result of A.G. Bunin’s initiative I added corrections to 1 copy of the book (392 pp.) and prepared supplemental material. Turns out that scanning this volume is almost impossible on the home scanner due to unavoidable mistakes interruptions. My son in law does not know how to break down the job into small parts. Material is sitting without any progress since October 30, 2013”. After reading this L.P. Kubarev offered his help, organized update to the book and the supplement and published it on the site of this KB as well as my doctoral thesis and 2 articles.

Leonid Leites. 15 April 2015.

Tel. 1 718 847 0380. Е-mail

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