Chaim L. Pekeris

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Chaim Leib Pekeris
Born(1908-06-15)June 15, 1908
DiedFebruary 24, 1993(1993-02-24) (aged 84)
Alma materMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Known forsurface waves, stability of pipe flow
AwardsGold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1980)
Israel Prize (1980)
Scientific career
InstitutionsMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Columbia University
Institute for Advanced Study
Weizmann Institute of Science

Chaim Leib Pekeris (June 15, 1908 – February 24, 1993)[1] was an Israeli-American physicist and mathematician. He made notable contributions to geophysics and the spectral theory of many-electron atoms, in particular the Helium atom. He was also one of the designers of the first computer in Israel, WEIZAC.


Pekeris was born in Alytus, Vilna Governorate. With the assistance of his uncle, Pekeris and his two brothers emigrated to the United States around 1925. He entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1925 graduating in 1929 with a B.Sc. in meteorology. Pekeris stayed at MIT for his graduate studies and became a student of Carl-Gustav Rossby. He graduated with his doctoral degree in 1933.[2][3]

In 1934 Pekeris joined the faculty at M.I.T. as an instructor in geophysics in the Department of Geology. He became a US citizen in 1938.[4] Pekeris remained at M.I.T until 1941 when he moved to the Hudson Laboratories of Columbia University to conduct military research. In 1946 he joined the Institute for Advanced Study. Teddy Kollek said "Let me simply say that Chaim Pekeris played a most significant role in the establishment of the State of Israel."[2] Pekeris moved to Israel in 1948 and joined the Weizmann Institute as head of its Department of Applied Mathematics in 1949.[5]

He died in Rehovot, Israel on February 24, 1993.

Awards and honors[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Chaim L. Pekeris". Social Security Death Index. New England Historic Genealogical Society. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  2. ^ a b Gilbert, Freeman (2004). "Chaim Leib Pekeris (June 15, 1908–February 24, 1993)". Biographical Memoirs V.85. National Academy of Sciences. pp. 217–228. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
  4. ^ "U.S. Naturalization Records Indexes, 1794-1995". Index to Naturalization Petitions and Records of the U.S. District Court, 1906-1966, and the U.S. Circuit Court, 1906-1911, for the District of Massachusetts. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Retrieved 25 March 2011.
  5. ^ The Vetlesen Prize
  6. ^ "Chaim Leib Pekeris: Fellowship". Guggenheim Foundation. Archived from the original on 20 September 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
  7. ^ "Israel Prize Official Site - Recipients in 1980 (in Hebrew)".

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