Martyl (1917–2013) and Alexander (1912–1996) Langsdorf purchased the home of master architect Paul Schweikher in 1953. Martyl, a life-long fine artist, fell in love with the former architectural studio and used the space to paint her masterpieces until her death in 2013 at the age of 96.
Martyl and her husband, Alexander, a physicist who studied at MIT and at the University of California, Berkeley before moving to Chicago in 1943, had come to the Windy City at the invitation of Enrico Fermi to begin work on what was then the top secret Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago. Both Martyl and Alexander were natives of St. Louis. Before coming to Chicago, Alexander had helped build a cyclotron at Washington University in St. Louis.
Unrelated to her husband’s scientific work, Martyl also had a hand in the history of atomic science. She designed the Doomsday Clock for the June 1947 issue of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. This universally recognized clock is still used to denote the world’s impending vulnerability to nuclear war.