Comprehensive coverage

The Technion mourns the death of Prof. Emeritus Yehoshua Zak, one of the founders of the Faculty of Physics and laureate of the Israel Prize for Physics and Chemistry Research

Prof. Zak, a survivor of the Vilna ghetto led scientific breakthroughs and two phenomena in physics are named after him. He was a student of Prof. Natan Rosen, Albert Einstein's research partner. Prof. Zak spent his entire career at the Technion

The Minister of Education at the time, Yifat Shasha-Biton awards the 2022 Israel Physics and Chemistry Research Prize to Prof. Yehoshua Zak
The Minister of Education at the time, Yifat Shasha-Biton awards the 2022 Israel Physics and Chemistry Research Prize to Prof. Yehoshua Zak

Prof. Emeritus Yehoshua Zak, one of the founders of the Faculty of Physics and winner of the Israel Prize for Physics and Chemistry Research for the year 1989, passed away this morning. Prof. Zak led scientific breakthroughs that led to significant applications. He is responsible for many achievements in physics, and two of them are named after him: the Zack transform, which is used today in signal processing, and the Zack phenomenon - a unique phase in one-dimensional crystals, which he published in 2014 in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters. He completed a doctorate at the Technion under the supervision of Prof. Natan Rosen, a student and assistant of Prof. Albert Einstein, and Prof. Yoel Rakah from the Hebrew University. Prof. Zak won the prestigious Wigner Medal in 2018 and was elected an honorary fellow of the Israel Physics Society (IPS) in 2022. In XNUMX he was awarded the Israel Prize for Physics and Chemistry Research.

Zak was born in Vilna in June 1929. When he was 12 years old, he was put into the ghetto with his family and later spent time in forced labor camps and a concentration camp, where he lost both of his parents and two of his brothers. As a young man he participated in the death march to the West, was released by the Red Army - and was immediately recruited into it, even before he was 16 years old. Upon his release in 1948, he returned to Vilna and began studying at a high school, studies which he completed with honors despite the fact that he lost many years of study due to the war and military service.

He completed his physics studies at Vilnius University with honors in 1955, and along the way he also became the Lithuanian kayaking champion. In the same year he was accepted for advanced degree studies in Leningrad and began studying there. In 1957 he immigrated to Israel, was accepted to the Technion and here he continued his studies for a doctorate degree under the guidance of Prof. Natan Rosen. In 1960 he received a Doctor of Science degree, spent a period at MIT and then returned to the Technion and began teaching in the physics faculty. Ten years later, he established the Institute for Solid State at the Technion and headed it.

Technion President Prof. Uri Sion
 He said that "Today we are saying goodbye to a great scientist, one of the pillars of the Physics Faculty at the Technion and from its outline. His research work paved new ways in the understanding of fundamental phenomena in quantum mechanics and accelerated the development of important engineering applications. Prof. Zak was among the generation of Nefilim who laid the foundations for theoretical physics in Israel. As a faculty member in the Faculty of Physics, I had the privilege of getting to know him closely and having fascinating scientific conversations with him. Prof. Zak's achievements earned him worldwide recognition and we were all very happy when in 2022 he received the Israel Prize for Physics and Chemistry Research, a prize that he deserved."

Dean of the Faculty of Physics at the Technion Prof. Adi Nasr 
He said: "Professor Zak was one of the founders of the Faculty of Physics and one of its leaders. Beyond the quality science that came out under his hands, he had a great contribution to the faculty. Prof. Zak made an important contribution to physics, which earned him the Wigner Prize and the Israel Prize. Even after he retired a few years ago, the Faculty of Physics and its academic quality were important to him until his last day, and until recently he came to the faculty regularly and participated in all the activities."

The Israel Prize was awarded to Prof. Zak on the 74th Independence Day of the State of Israel, in May 2022, for "developing mathematical tools such as 'Zak transformation' and 'Zak phenomenon' used to decipher electrical conduction phenomena in a magnetic field. These tools enable the prediction of materials with unique properties for building electronic devices." The committee also emphasized that "his scientific contributions are and will be used to understand the chemistry and physics of the material."

Last year, the Faculty of Physics at the Technion held a special four-day international conference, dedicated to Prof. Zak. They organized the conference, which dealt with the connection between topology and physics Professors Eric Ackerman and Ari Turner. "Topology, like set theory, is an elegant field of mathematics that allows geometric shapes to be described wherever they occur," said Prof. Ackerman. "It is surprising how dramatic the implications of some of these concepts can be for experiments. The conference, which was attended by about 200 people, most of them young researchers, brought together many of the prominent physicists who contribute creatively to this topological revolution in the physics of matter - a field in which Prof. Zak was one of the pioneers."

In addition to the scientific sessions, a special session was dedicated to Prof. Zak. In this session, his former students told about his character as a teacher and educator who devoted a lot of effort to educating new generations of engineers and researchers, and his colleagues told about his groundbreaking path in the topology of condensed matter physics. According to Prof. Ackerman, "Throughout his career at the Technion, Prof. Zak emphasized the importance of a warm and active research environment in the faculty, which is essential to attract talented researchers, and at the conference we were able to meet his criteria for excellence and society - both at the level of the invited lecturers, including Nobel Wolf laureates, and at the level of The participants - and we proved once again that the Technion is a beacon of excellence in physics."

Of blessed memory.

More of the topic in Hayadan:

Leave a Reply

Email will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismat to prevent spam messages. Click here to learn how your response data is processed.