Yakir Aharonov
Photo: Nilli Aharonov

Israeli physicist heads Nobel Prize candidate list

Yakir Aharonov named leading candidate to receive this year's prestigious physics award by information company Thomson Reuters. 'Any physicist you ask will tell you I deserve to win,' he says

Israeli physicist Yakir Aharonov, 77, has been nominated as one of the three final candidates to be awarded the Nobel Prize in physics. The winner will be announced Tuesday in Stockholm.


Aharonov, who has won all lucrative science awards except the Nobel, was named by the Thomson Reuters list, which is based on the scientist's number of publications as well as the number of references to his work made by other scientists, as this year's leading candidate.


Aharonov was born in 1932 in Haifa, and now serves as professor emeritus at Tel Aviv University. In 1953, Aharonov proposed the Aharonov-Bohm Effect, named after him and his Doctorate mentor, David Bohm.


"The most elementary thing in Physics is to predict the future of the particle; the change in the particle's speed" Aharonov told Ynet. "In order to do so, one must know where the particle is and what forces control it. In classical physics the particle 'feels' the forces that are in control of it.


"That is to say, in order for the particle to be effected, the forces must exist at the same place as the particle. What we proved is that quantum physics is wrong; a particle moving in a vacuum outside of a magnetic field will still be affected by the magnetic field."


What led you to the discovery of the Effect?


"I looked at all the equations everyone was looking at for years, until I suddenly saw something else. As soon as I told Bohm about the idea, we found a physicist that began conducting experiments to prove the theory."


Do you believe you will win?


"The odds are 10-15%, but if not this year, then in the upcoming years perhaps. I believe any physicist you ask will tell you I deserve to win, but there are other considerations that come into play besides whether the scientist is worthy of the prize."


So far, eight Israelis won the coveted Nobel Prize:  author Shai Agnon, statesmen Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, psychologist Daniel Kahanman, chemists Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover and mathematician Robert Aumann.


Beginning October 11, Tel Aviv University will host a science conference to mark 50 years to Aharonov's groundbreaking work. The conference will host world renowned scientists, including the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics laureate, Dr. David Gross from the University of California at Santa Barbara.


פרסום ראשון: 10.04.09, 14:48
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