Jewish Scientists, Inventors and Philosophers

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Jewish Physicists
Max Born * (1882 - 1970), German-British physicist and mathematician: was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics, solid-state physics and optics.

Richard Feynman * (1918 - 1988), American physicist: quantum mechanics.

Otto Robert Frisch (1904 - 1979), Austrian-British physicist: designed the first theoretical mechanism for the detonation of an atomic bomb in 1940.

Dennis Gabor * (1900 – 1979), Hungarian-British electrical engineer: most notable for inventing holography, for which he later received the 1971 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Vitaly Ginzburg * (1916 - 2009), Soviet theoretical physicist.

Albert Abraham Michelson * (1852 - 1931), American physicist known for his work on the measurement of the speed of light and especially for the Michelson-Morley experiment.

Yuval Ne'eman (1925 - 2006), Israeli theoretical physicist, military scientist, and was a minister in the Israeli government: contributed to elementary particle physics - discovered the basic symmetry of subatomic particles which led to identification of quarks in 1962.

Karl Schwarzschild (1873 - 1916), German physicist: best known for providing the first exact solution to the Einstein field equations of general relativity.

Albert Einstein * (1879 - 1955), German-American theoretical physicist: developed the theories of special and general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics.

Niels Bohr * (1885 - 1962), Danish physicist: made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922.

Robert Oppenheimer (1904 - 1967), American theoretical physicist: Along with Enrico Fermi, he is often called the "father of the atomic bomb" for his role in the Manhattan Project, the World War II project that developed the first nuclear weapons.

Leo Szilard (1898 - 1964), Austro-Hungarian physicist: conceived the nuclear chain reaction in 1933, patented the idea of a nuclear reactor with Enrico Fermi, and in late 1939 wrote the letter for Albert Einstein's signature that resulted in the Manhattan Project that built the atomic bomb.

Edward Teller (1908 - 2003), Hungarian-American theoretical physicist: best known for his contribution to the development of the hydrogen bomb.

Steven Weinberg * (1933 - ), American theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate in Physics for his contributions with Abdus Salam and Sheldon Glashow to the unification of the weak force and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles.

Isidor Isaac Rabi * (1898 - 1988), Galician-born American physicist and Nobel laureate (1944) for his discovery of nuclear magnetic resonance.

* Nobel laureates

Jewish Mathematicians
Amalie Emmy Noether (1882 - 1935), German mathematician known for her groundbreaking contributions to abstract algebra and theoretical physics.

Paul Erdos (1913 - 1996), Hungarian mathematicia: Erdos published more papers than any other mathematician in history. He worked on problems in combinatorics, graph theory, number theory, classical analysis, approximation theory, set theory, and probability theory.

Benoit Mandelbrot (1924 - 2010), French American mathematician: best known as the father of fractal geometry. He coined the term fractal and described the Mandelbrot set.

Robert (Yisrael) Aumann * (1930 - ) is an Israeli-American mathematician and a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences. Aumann received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 2005 for his work on conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis.

Jewish Chemists
Fritz Haber * (1868 - 1934), German chemist, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1918 for his development for synthesizing ammonia, important for fertilizers and explosives.

Dan Shechtman * (1941 - ), Israeli chemist: discovered the icosahedral phase of crystals, which opened the new field of quasiperiodic crystals.

Chaim Azriel Weizmann (1874-1952), Israeli: ABE-process, which produces acetone through bacterial fermentation; founded the Weizmann Institute in Israel; the first President of the State of Israel.

* Nobel laureates

Jewish Biologists
Aaron Aaronsohn (1876 - 1919), Jewish agronomist and Zionist activist: was the discoverer of wild emmer (wild wheat), believed to be the mother of wheat.

Rosalind Franklin (1920 – 1958): takes the first x-ray structure pictures of DNA crystals which are the basis for the DNA double-helix model of Watson and Crick.

Ephraim Katzir (1916 - 2009), Israeli biophysicist and the fourth President of Israel from 1973 until 1978. He developed a method for binding enzymes, which helped lay the groundwork for what is now called enzyme engineering.

Jonas Salk (1914 - 1995), American medical researcher and virologist: best known for his discovery and development of the first safe and effective polio vaccine.

Aaron Ciechanover * (1947 - ) is an Israeli biologist, and Nobel laureate in Chemistry: best known for his work on protein chemistry.

Avram Hershko * (1937 - ), Hungarian-Israeli biochemist and Nobel laureate in Chemistry: best known for his work on protein chemistry.

Ada Yonath * (1939 - ), Israeli crystallographer: best known for her pioneering work on the structure of the ribosome.

* Nobel laureates

Jewish Astronomers and Astrophysicist
Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996), American astronomer and astrophysicist: best known for the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI)

Jewish Inventors
Emile Berliner (1851 - 1929), German-American inventor: best known for developing the disc record gramophone (phonograph) and the microphone that became part of the first Bell telephones.

Uziel "Uzi" Gal (1923 - 2002), German-born Israeli gun designer: best remembered as the designer and namesake of the Uzi submachine gun.

Yisrael Galili (Blashnikov) (1923 - 1995), Israeli gun designer: best known for inventing the Galil assault rifle. He also helped create the Uzi submachine gun.

Julius Lilienfeld (1882 - 1963), Austro-Hungarian physicist: Lilienfeld is credited with the first patents on the field effect transistor (1920s) and electrolytic capacitor (1931).

Jewish Psychologists
Alfred Adler (1870 - 1937), Austrian medical doctor and psychiatrist: the founder of the school of individual psychology.

Leon Festinger (1919 - 1989), American social psychologist: developed the Theory of Cognitive Dissonance.

Sigmund Freud (1856 - 1939), Austrian neurologist and psychologist: founded the discipline of psychoanalysis.

Abraham Maslow (1908 - 1970), American professor of psychology: created Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Stanley Milgram (1933 - 1984), American social psychologist: most notable for his controversial study known as the Milgram Experiment.

Ruth Westheimer (Dr. Ruth) (1928 - ), American sex therapist, media personality, and author.

Moshe Feldenkrais (1904 - 1984), Israeli physician and the founder of the Feldenkrais Method, designed to improve human functioning by increasing self-awareness through movement.

Daniel Kahneman * (1934 - ), Israeli-American psychologist and Nobel laureate. He is notable for his work on the psychology of judgment and decision-making, behavioral economics and hedonic psychology.

* Nobel laureates

Jewish Philosophers and Thinkers
Philo (Philo of Alexandria) (20 BC – 50 AD), Hellenistic Jewish Biblical philosopher born in Alexandria: used philosophical allegory to attempt to fuse and harmonize Greek philosophy with Jewish philosophy. His method followed the practices of both Jewish exegesis and Stoic philosophy. He has barely any reception history within Judaism but his allegorical exegesis was important for several Christian Church Fathers.

Maimonides (Moses ben-Maimon) (1135 - 1204), born in Cordoba, Almoravid Empire (present-day Spain): was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages.

Martin Buber (1878 - 1965), Israeli-Austrian Jewish philosopher: best known for his philosophy of dialogue, a form of religious existentialism centered on the distinction between the I-Thou relationship and the I-It relationship.

Nostradamus (Michel de Nostredame) (1503 - 1566), French apothecary and reputed seer: published collections of prophecies that have since become famous worldwide.

Baruch Spinoza (1632 - 1677), Dutch Jewish philosopher: laid the groundwork for the 18th century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism. The Jewish religious authorities issued a cherem (excommunication) against him, effectively dismissing him from Jewish society at age 23. His books were also later put on the Catholic Church's Index of Forbidden Books.

Karl Marx (1818 - 1883), German philosopher, economist and revolutionary socialist: His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement. He published various books during his lifetime, with the most notable being The Communist Manifesto (1848) and Capital (1867–1894); some of his works were co-written with his friend, the fellow German revolutionary socialist Friedrich Engels.

Simone Weil (1909 - 1943), French hilosopher, Christian mystic, and social activist.

Gershom Scholem (1897 - 1982), German-born Israeli Jewish philosopher and historian: founder of the academic discipline on Kabbalah.

Karl Popper (1902 - 1994), Austro-British philosopher: regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century.

Yeshayahu Leibowitz (1903–1994), Israeli public intellectual, Orthodox Jew, and polymath: known for his outspoken opinions on Judaism, ethics, religion and politics. He held controversial views on the subject of halakha, or Jewish law.

Isaiah Berlin (1909 - 1997), British social and political theorist, philosopher and historian: In his Two Concepts of Liberty he contributed to a revival of interest in political theory in the English-speaking world.

Avram Noam Chomsky (1928 - ), American linguist and philosopher: Chomsky is credited as the creator of the Chomsky hierarchy, the universal grammar theory, and the Chomsky–Schützenberger theorem.

* Nobel laureates

Jewish Science General Biography Resources
Jewish Nobel Prize Winners - Jewish Virtual Library
Jewish Nobel Prize Winners -
Jewish Nobel Prize Laureates - Israel Science and Technology Homepage
Jewish Scientists: Internet Resources - Israel Science and Technology Homepage
Astronomy and Judaism - Tel-Aviv University (TAU)
Jewish Science Fiction and Fantasy - Steven Silver's SF Web Site
Top 10 Most Influential Jews In History
Jewish scientists

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Last updated: February 2018
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