University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Abigail and John Van Vleck Lectures

Professor Yakir Aharonov

Professor of Physics
Tel Aviv University and University of South Carolina

Public Lecture

April 26, 2000 4:00 p.m.

"The Case for the Next Revolution in Physics"

Room 131, Tate Laboratory of Physics

Reception following Lecture in Room 216

Physics Colloquium

April 27, 2000 4:00 p.m.

"The Two-Vector Reformulation of Quantum Mechanics"

Room 133, Tate Laboratory of Physics

Biographical Information

Yakir Aharonov, the twenty-fifth Van Vleck Lecturer, holds a joint appointment as Professor of Physics at Tel Aviv University in Israel and at the University of South Carolina in the United States. He holds a Chair in Theoretical Physics at South Carolina and was honored with "The Distinguished Scientist Governor Award of South Carolina" in 1993. Professor Aharonov is a theoretical condensed matter physicist studying nonlocal and topological effects in quantum mechanics, relativistic quantum field theories and interpretations of quantum mechanics. Aharonov was a co-recipient of the 1998 Wolf Prize for the discovery of the Aharonov-Bohm Effect. Aharonov and the late David Bohm proposed in 1959 that the form of the quantum-mechanical coupling of electromagnetic fields to electrons had some very counterintuitive implications for the behavior of electrons. Specifically, electrons passing through field-free regions that surrounded a region of magnetic flux would acquire different phases depending on whether they passed to the left or to the right of the flux tube. The phase difference, which can be measured in an interference experiment depends on the flux enclosed. The controversial AB effect has been observed, and has, in fact become an experimental tool in the domain of mesoscopic physics. Aharonov has also been recognized for this work by the 1995 Hewlett-Packard Europhysics Prize.

Professor Aharonov received his undergraduate education at Technion University in Haifa, Israel graduating with a B.Sc. in 1956. He continued his studies at Bristol University in England receiving a Ph.D. degree in 1960. Aharonov came to the United States for a one-year postdoctoral position at Brandeis University in 1960-61 prior to returning to Israel and joining the faculty of Yeshiva University as an Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1964 and Professor in 1967 and held a joint appointment with Yeshiva University and Tel Aviv University beginning in 1967 that continued until 1973. Aharonov began his current arrangement of a joint position at Tel Aviv University and the University of South Carolina in 1973. He has published over 130 papers in refereed journals during his career.

Professor Aharonov has been honored with numerous awards from around the world. In addition to the Wolf and Hewlett-Packard Prizes he has received the Weizmann Prize and Rothschild Prize in 1984; the Israel National Prize in Physics in 1989; and the Elliot Cresson Medal in 1991. Aharonov received a Miller Research Professorship Award at Berkeley, 1988-89; the Alex Maguy-Glass Chair in Theoretical Physics, Tel Aviv University; and a Chair in Theoretical Physics, University of South Carolina. Honorary Doctorates have been awarded to Aharonov from Technion&endash;Israel Institute of Technology, the University of South Carolina, Bristol University and the University of Buenos Aires. Professor Aharonov was elected a Member of the National Academy of Sciences in Israel and the United States in 1990 and 1993, respectively and Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1981.