Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Giulio (Yoel) Racah & Aharon Katzir

Giulio (YoelRacah (February 9, 1909 – August 28, 1965) was an Italian –Israeli physicist and mathematician.
Born in Florence, Italy, he took his degree from the University there in 1930, and later studied in Rome with Enrico Fermi. In 1937 he was appointed Professor of Physics at the University of Pisa. In 1939, due to application of Anti-Jewish laws in Italy, Racah immigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine, and was appointed Professor of Theoretical Physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he was later Dean of the Faculty of Sciences, and finally Rector and acting President. The physics institute at the Hebrew University is named "The Racah Institute of Physics".
In the Israeli War of Independence, Racah served as deputy commander of the Israeli forces defending Mount Scopus.
Racah's research was mainly in the fields of quantum physics and atomic spectroscopy. He first devised a systematic general procedure for classifying the energy levels of open shell atoms, which remains to this day the accepted technique for practical calculations of atomic structure. This formalism was described in a monograph coauthored by his cousin: Ugo Fano (Irreducible Tensorial Sets, 1959).
In 1958, Racah was awarded the Israel Prize in exact sciences.

Aharon Katzir (Aharon Katzir-Katchalsky) (September 15, 1914 - May 30, 1972) was an Israeli pioneer in the study of the electrochemistry of biopolymers. He was killed in the Lod Airport Massacre in 1972.
Born 1914 in Lodz, Poland, he moved to Palestine in 1925, where he taught at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. There, he adopted his Hebrew surname Katzir.
He was murdered in a terrorist attack at Ben Gurion International Airport in 1972 in which 26 people were killed and 80 injured. His younger brother, Ephraim Katzir, became the President of Israel in 1973.

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