Arthur Komar

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Arthur Komar
Born (1931-03-26)26 March 1931
Died 3 June 2011(2011-06-03) (aged 80)
Alma mater Princeton University
Known for Komar superpotential
Komar mass
Scientific career
Institutions Syracuse University
Yeshiva University

Arthur B. Komar (March 26, 1931 – June 3, 2011) was a theoretical physicist, specializing in general relativity and the search for quantum gravity. Arthur Komar made a significant contribution to physics as an educator, research scientist, and administrator. He had wide interests in numerous other subjects.


Arthur attended Midwood High School in Princeton. He was a capable student and chose to specialize in physics.



Arthur's interests in physics ranged over numerous fundamental and applied concepts, including conserved quantities, space and time, and thermodynamics, notably he pursued the problem of observables in general relativity and in quantum theory. As a graduate student, he worked on the problem of invariants in general relativistic spacetimes.

In 1956, he gained his Ph.D. in physics at Princeton University with a thesis on the classical electron – a topic suggested by Fritz Rohrlich. His PhD dissertation was supervised by John Archibald Wheeler, titled Some Consequences of Mach’s Principle for General Relativity.[1]

While at Princeton, he

It's said that John Wheeler arranged a tea-time visit for his class, which to Arthur's pleasure had the company of Albert Einstein. Throughout his scientific career, Arthur remained fond of Princeton.

Niels Bohr institute and Syracuse[edit]

His career as a physicist began at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, and was a Fellow of the American-Scandinavian Foundation. Later in 1957, he went to Syracuse University as a postdoc to research quantum gravity - collaborating with Peter Bergmann, and remained at Syracuse as assistant professor and associate professor, until 1963 when he left to join the Physics Department at Yeshiva University in New York City.

He is known for formulating the Komar mass and Komar superpotential.

Yeshiva and National Science Foundation[edit]

From 1962 until his retirement in 1997, he was on the faculty of Yeshiva University. During

  • 1982–83 and 1986–87, he served as program director for gravitational physics.
  • 1991–92, he served as a consultant with specific responsibility for the LIGO project to observe and analyze gravitational radiation.
  • 1968–78, he was Dean of the Yeshiva’s Belfer graduate school of science,
  • 1978–1982, he served as chairman of the physics department,
  • 1983–86, he was chairman of the division of natural science,
  • 1984–1997, he served as an adjunct professor at NYU.

Still associated with Yeshiva, Arthur took leave on three occasions to work with the National Science Foundation, as program director for gravitational physics there.


A year following his retirement, Arthur returned to Syracuse to live with his wife, Alice Honig.

See also[edit]

Selected works[edit]


Quantum theory and relativistic theory[edit]

Conserved quantities and laws in general relativity[edit]

Observables in general relativity[edit]

Singularities in general relativity[edit]


External links[edit]