Tel Aviv University Prof. Eshel Ben-Jacob was elected to the American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in the United States, as the only non-American among 33 new members, it was announced on Friday.
Ben-Jacob, a professor of physics and astronomy, is one of the world's leading experts in biocomplexity, the theory of self-organization and pattern formation in open systems. He holds the Maguy-Glass Chair in Physics of Complex Systems at the Raymond and Beverly Sackler School of Physics and Astronomy and the Sagol School of Neuroscience at TAU. He also serves as an adjunct professor of biochemistry and cell biology at Rice University's Senior Investigator Center for Theoretical Biological Physics.
"This is a great honor," said Prof. Ben-Jacob. "But it is important for me to say that in my case, like that of many others, my personal achievements are the result of cooperation with others. I had the good fortune to work with brilliant scientists, to guide excellent post-doctorates and advise brilliant dedicated and creative students.”
Among his honors and contributions to science Ben-Jacob has been awarded the 1986 Landau Research Prize, the 1996 Siegle Research Prize of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and the 2013 Weizmann Prize in Exact Sciences. He also served as former president of the Israel Physical Society and chairs the Israel Ministry of Education's Advisory Council of High School Physics Education.
The American Philosophical Society was founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin and boasts past prominent members including, Charles Darwin, Alexander Graham Bell, Louis Pasteur, and Albert Einstein, as well as American Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt. The society is very exclusive and through its entire history has had fewer than 5,500 members. Currently, it holds fewer than 1,000 members in the fields of sciences, humanities, and the arts, with only five other international members in physics.
“The more I learn about the American Philosophical Society, the more surprised I am and the more honored I feel to have been elected,” said Ben-Jacob.