Physics in Israel

Authors(s):Stephen F. Jacobs Publication:Physics Today Publication Date:April 1959 Publisher: American Institute of Physics Citation:Physics Today 12, 4, 16 (1959) Link:

THERE are no liberal arts colleges in Israel. This fact became evident to me early in a recent visit to Israel. I was curious to learn how Israel's educational system differs from the American system, and what success Israel is having in this area. There are three institutions of higher learning which offer training in physics; one in or near each of the three major cities (see map).

A major seat of pure research is the Weizmann Institute of Science, located in Rehovoth, 15 miles from Tel-Aviv. No formal teaching is done here and one is reminded immediately of the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study. The obvious difference is that the Weizmann Institute is for research in the natural sci- ences only (including applied mathematics). As with the preceding institutions the setting is new and beauti- ful—and physics again finds itself in a building honoring the name of Albert Einstein. The Weizmann Institute seems truly a scientist's heaven, with no students to contend with and apparently little or no politicking to distract one. The only difficulty which may exist is social isolation of members of the Institute community, who live significantly far from Tel-Aviv. The Weizmann Institute has some fairly large and elaborate research equipment, including a heavy-water plant, a 3-Mev Van de Graaff generator, a 30-ft-long vacuum Ebert spectrometer, and doubtless much more that I didn't see in my brief visit. The high-resolution Ebert is used in near infrared studies of dispersion in gases and liquids. Nuclear resonance research is in progress on chemical kinetics, solid-state electronics work is on ferrites, magnetism, and applied electronics. Nuclear physics research includes theoretical work on the shell model and experimental work with the Van de Graaff, cosmic rays (plates), and the beta-ray spectrometer.