David Medved, scientist and entrepreneur, dies at 83

Dr. David Medved, a physicist and scientist-astronaut who celebrated his second bar mitzva a week before his death on Wednesday at 83, was buried on Thursday at the Har Menuchot cemetery in Jerusalem. In the 1950s, decades before US president Ronald Reagan announced the "Star Wars" missile defense program, Medved took his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania to General Dynamics, where he developed systems to destroy intercontinental ballistic missiles in mid-flight. His work on the NASA Gemini space program was noticed by astronaut Neil Armstrong, who persuaded him to try out for a planned two-year mission to Mars, as a scientist-astronaut. Though he went through the rigorous training for the mission, minor health problems and the project's cancelation meant that he never made it into space. In 1990 at age 64, after teaching physics at UCLA and a successful entrepreneurial career in the United States - where he built and sold two start-up companies in electro-optics - Medved moved to Israel, where he founded JOLT, Jerusalem Optical Link Technologies. The optical data transfer company was sold to MRV Communications in 2000 and still operates in Jerusalem. Medved served as MRV's chief scientist until just a few months before his death. Last year, Toby Press published a book by Medved titled Hidden Light: Science Secrets of the Bible. He is survived by four sons: Jerusalem-based venture capitalist Jonathan Medved, and in the US, by author and talk-radio host Michael Medved, media critic Harry Medved, and psychologist Benjamin Medved.