Dr. Jacob D. Bekenstein
(b. May 1, 1947, Mexico city) is the Micheal Polak Professor of Theoretical Physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. He is well - known for his fundamental contributions to the study of black hole thermodynamics. He was awarded the Wolf Prize in Physics (2012).
Dr. Bekenstein did his undergraduate work at Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. He moved to Princeton University to pursue his graduate studies where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1972. He spent his postdoctoral years at the Center for Relativity, University of Texas at Austin. He then joined the faculty of physics department at Ben-Gurion University, Be'er Sheva in 1974. He held the Robert and Jean Arnow Chair in Astrophysics during 1983 - 1990 at Ben-Gurion before taking up his present position as full professor at the Racah Institute of Physics, Hebrew University.
Dr. Bekenstein's research interests are gravitational theory, black hole physics, relativistic magnetohydrodynamics,
galactic dynamics, physical aspects of information theory, and physics of the vacuum. In 1972, he proposed the existence of
well-defined entropy for black holes and formulated the generalized second law of gravitational thermodynamics. This idea was later developed by Stephen Hawking towards the theory of Hawking Radiation. About 10 years later, Dr. Bekenstein made another major contribution when he provided a universal entropy bound (known as Bekenstein bound) which is a limit on the
entropy that can be contained in a physical system or object with given size and total energy. In 2004, he extended Mordehai Milgrom’s theory of Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MoND) by constructing a relativistic version known as TeVeS (for Tensor/Vector/Scalar).
Dr. Bekenstein has received several awards and distinctions during his illustrious career including the Bergmann Prize for Research (Israel) in 1977, the Landau Prize (Israel) in 1981, First prize of the Gravity Foundation Research Awards (USA) of 1981, the Rothschild Prize in Physics, 1988, the Israel Prize in Physics for 2005 and the Weizmann Prize in the Exact Sciences from the Tel-Aviv municipality in 2011. He was elected to the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities in 1977,
the International Astronomical Union (1979) and to the World Jewish Academy of Sciences (2003). He was chosen as one of the outstanding referees of the American Physical Society (2008). He was a visiting scholar at the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton in 2009 & 2010. He has served as member of various prize committees, and of organizing and advisory committees for various scientific events.
For more information about Dr. Bekenstein, see http://www.phys.huji.ac.il/~bekenste/.
(originally featured on 18 July 2011 by Dr. Mădălina Eraşcu)
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