The Unlikely Duo Who Founded Subway

Generally, when you think about nuclear physicists working on subs, you're picturing naval submarines, not subs of the sandwich variety. Well, Dr. Peter Buck, nuclear physicist and co-founder of Subway, is here to make you re-examine all your personal biases surrounding submarines.

In 1965, a high school graduate named Fred DeLuca was looking for ways to pay for college and, at a family picnic, struck up a conversation with then-34-year-old Dr. Buck, a friend of DeLuca's parents. As doctors are wont to do, Dr. Buck dispensed a prescription: "I said, 'Let's open a sandwich store'" (via Forbes). And the rest was naval history. Sorry...sandwich history.

Dr. Buck, who has his doctorate from Colombia and is apparently just an all-around good-guy-to-know, spotted DeLuca a thousand bucks, and together they made a plan to open up shop, serving Italian-style sandwiches to their local community in Bridgeport, Connecticut (via Subway). According to Business Insider, the duo initially charged under a dollar per sub, and sold 312 sandwiches on their first day open.

A loan, a sandwich, and a dream turned into a famous chain

Less than ten years later, the dynamic sandwich duo had 16 stores around the state of Connecticut. They also changed the name from Pete's Super Submarines to Subway. Legend has it that radio spots promoting "Pete's submarines" sounded, confusingly, like "pizza Marines," which sound awesome in theory, but wasn't really what they were going for (via Chicago Tribune).

DeLuca passed away in 2015, but Dr. Buck is still around and, apparently, still giving away money. He and his wife founded The Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation in 1999 to funnel some of their family fortune back into the community. According to the same Forbes article, the sandwich-artist-turned-philanthropist has donated $216 million towards his foundation, which focuses on family issues, over the past five years. Buck is currently worth about $1.6 billion, and, as they say in the submarine biz, that's a lot of dough.