Israeli physicist wins America’s top science prize

By
October 17, 2010 01:55

Prof. Yakir Aharonov receives the US National Medal of Science for "contributions to the foundations of quantum physics."

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test tube science 88. (photo credit: )

Tel Aviv University physicist Prof. (emeritus) Yakir Aharonov will be one of only 10 scientists to receive the US National Medal of Science from President Barack Obama for his outstanding contributions to the field.

The 78-year-old Aharonov, who holds US and Israeli citizenship, will receive the medal, which has been awarded since 1959 to 441 American scientists in the field of physics, biology, mathematics, engineering and behavioral sciences.

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The ceremony will be held in a few weeks at the White House.

The official citation accompanying Aharonov’s medal states that he is being honored “for his contributions to the foundations of quantum physics and for drawing out unexpected implications of that field, ranging from the Aharonov-Bohm Effect to the theory of weak measurement.”

When the names were publicized over the weekend, Obama said that “the achievements of the scientists redefined the borders of human knowledge.”

Born in Haifa and a graduate of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Aharonov is known for his discovery of the Aharonov-Bohm Effect, a theory that he developed in 1959 with the late David Bohm. The AB Effect, which involves the action of atomic particles around a magnetic field, is regarded today as one of the cornerstones of modern physics.

Since retiring from TAU, he has been a professor of theoretical physics and the James J. Farley professor of natural philosophy at Chapman University in California.

He is the recipient of the Wolf Prize (Israel’s Nobel), the Weizmann Prize in Physics, the Rothschild Prize in Physics, the Israel Prize in exact science and the EMET Prize in exact science.


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