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Prof. Shlomo Havlin - winner of the Israel Prize in the field of physics and chemistry research

The Minister of Education Naftali Bennett announced the winning of the winner of the Israel Prize in the field of physics research, Prof. Shlomo Havlin

Shlomo Heblin. Source: Nagard, Wikimedia Commons.
Shlomo Heblin. source: Nagard, Wikimedia Commons.

The award committee convened under the chairmanship of the chairman of the committee - Prof. Meir Wilchak, with the members of the committee - Prof. Yakir Aharonov, Prof. Sorin Solomon and Prof. Belha Fisher.

In the reasons for the award committee, it was stated: "Prof. Shlomo Havlin is among the pioneers of several fields in statistical physics and its implications in complex systems in various territories.

Prof. Havlin deals with the generalization of knowledge in physical fields to very broad fields such as: social networks, technological networks, economic networks, political systems, physiological systems and DNA function.

Among all the Israeli scientists, Prof. Heblin is the most cited by the scientists around the world. He devotes his time and energy to imparting contemporary science to the youth and contributes a lot to creating science connections between the country and the world."

Prof. Heblin's work

Shlomo Havlin was born in Jerusalem in 1942, studied at Bar-Ilan University (bachelor's degree), Tel Aviv (master's degree-with honors) and graduated with a third degree with honors (1972) at Bar-Ilan University. He was appointed a full professor in 1984.

His doctoral thesis, under the supervision of Professor Marshall Leuven, contributed to the understanding of the mechanism of the superfluidity property of helium at low temperatures. After his doctorate, Heblin moved to a new field of research. He developed a theory for ferroelectric materials such as KDP. He worked closely with Dr. Litov's experimental laboratory in Bar Ilan which confirmed the theory. This work was done (1974) in collaboration with the late Professor Yuling of Seattle.

In 1978-9 he was on sabbatical in Edinburgh and worked with Professor Roger Cowley in developing a general theory for proalternary materials.

In 1982 he moved again to a new field of research, physical properties of disordered materials using fractal geometry. He was one of the pioneers who developed this new field which became very active at the forefront of research in the eighties and nineties. Professor Heblin was one of the first to discover that the laws of physics become anomalous in disordered materials. This interesting phenomenon ignited the imagination of hundreds of researchers who published thousands of papers both theoretical and experimental. He published dozens of articles on these topics with his students including Haim Sompolinsky and Daniel Ben Avraham, now full professors. Havlin's review article and book with Ben-Abraham are considered classic works on the subject and are widely cited.

In 1983-1984 he was on sabbatical as a visiting professor at the Universities of Maryland, Boston and NIH. He began a fruitful and long-term collaboration with the research groups of Prof. George Weiss and Prof. Eugene Stanley that continues to this day. The collaboration with Weiss's group led, among other things, to the understanding of the properties of light scattering in a biological medium and this pioneering work is considered a fundamental paper in the active medical field of optical imaging. In Prof. Stanley's group, he guided dozens of research students and led a comprehensive study that discovered new transport laws and especially diffusion laws in disordered systems.

In 1992, Habelin was among the pioneers who developed a new and very active field in "studying calibration laws" in diverse systems in nature that manifest in the appearance of long-term memory. He developed the DFA method for discovering the hidden memory in noisy data. This method has been applied in hundreds of research papers and many more systems with long memory have been discovered. Using this method, he discovered in 1992 long-range correlations in DNA chains that had implications for identifying protein-coding regions. He also discovered that the heartbeat rate of a healthy heart carries long-term memory unlike a diseased heart. This visible is important and useful for risk assessment (RISK) of heart patients which is already implemented in several hospitals in the USA. Professor Heblin created a fruitful collaboration with Professor Bunda and his group and with them he discovered, among other things, a long-term memory in the climate that is of great importance in the assessment of global warming. For this collaboration he received the Humboldt Prize.

In recent years (2000-present) Havlin has been dominant in breaking through a new, fascinating and extremely active field in statistical physics, the field of COMPLEX NETWORKS. The field has important implications for physics, mathematics, computers, animal sciences, economics and even social sciences. In pioneering work with his students, he showed for the first time how methods and ideas of statistical physics can be applied to complex networks such as the Internet. This work discovered, among other things, why the Internet is stable to random website crashes and why viruses are active for a long time on the network contrary to the theoretical expectations that existed. In 2008 he developed a highly effective method for inoculating populations and computer networks that received many echoes in the scientific community.

In 2010, Heblin broke through into a new field that looks extremely promising. He developed a mathematical infrastructure and statistical physics tools for studying the stability of a system of interdependent networks, i.e. a "network of networks". Until his pioneering works, there were no methods at all for studying the stability of such complex systems. His results show that the research of networks and percolation in physics and mathematics in the last 60 years is nothing more than a private case of a single network that is not affected by other networks - a very rare phenomenon in nature, society and technology. Furthermore, a network of Heblin networks revealed that the behavior of a network of networks is fundamentally different from an isolated network. Following Heblin's pioneering work, there are already hundreds of articles by researchers who have applied these results to many fields.

Professor Heblin also devotes his time and energy to imparting contemporary science to the youth. He founded the "Science 2000" unit in Bar Ilan (with the support of the Ministry of Education) where over 500 teachers and about 2000 students were trained in innovative topics in multidisciplinary science. In the unit, unique computer programs and experiments were developed for this purpose. He built and taught a course in multidisciplinary science that was a mandatory course for master's degree students in science teaching at Bar-Ilan. Also, in recent years, the unit has held courses in multidisciplinary science, in which physics is a main component, for girls in secondary schools in order to encourage them to study physics.

Heblin received in 1977 the British Royal Academy Fellowship and the Lord Marks Award in Great Britain. In 1988 he received the Landau Prize, in 1993 he received the Humboldt Prize in Germany, in 1998 he was appointed a Fellow of the American Physical Society, in 2003 he received an honorary professorship at HEFEI University in China, in 2006 he was awarded the Nicholson Medal by the American Physical Society, in 2009 he was awarded the Haim Weizman for Exact Sciences and in 2010 won the Lilienfeld Prize, both of the American Physical Society.

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