Igal Talmi

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Igal Talmi
Igal talmi.jpg
Born (1925-01-31) January 31, 1925 (age 94)
Alma materHebrew University
ETH Zurich
Known forNuclear shell model
Scientific career
FieldsNuclear physics
InstitutionsWeizmann Institute of Science
Doctoral advisorWolfgang Pauli

Igal Talmi (Hebrew: יגאל תלמי) (born January 31, 1925) is an Israeli nuclear physicist.


Igal Talmi[1] was born in 1925 in Kiev, Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union. His family immigrated to Mandate Palestine later that year and settled in Kfar Yehezkel. After graduating from Gymnasia Herzliya in Tel Aviv in 1942, he joined the Palmach.[2]

In 1947, Talmi completed his master's degree in physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, writing his M.Sc. thesis under the guidance of Giulio Racah. In 1949, he earned his doctorate at the ETH Zurich in Switzerland under Wolfgang Pauli. From 1952 to 1954, he was a research fellow at Princeton University, where he worked with Eugene Wigner.


Igal is married to Chana (Kivelewitz) and has two children, a son, Prof. Yoav P. Talmi, M.D.; and a daughter, Tamar Dayan, Professor of Zoology,[3] who is married to General (Aluf) Uzi Dayan.

Scientific career[edit]

In 1954, Talmi joined the Weizmann Institute of Science where he became Professor of Physics in 1958. Talmi was one of the founders of the Department of Nuclear Physics at the Weizmann Institute. He served as the Head of the Nuclear Physics Department (1967–1976), and the Dean of the Faculty of Physics (1970–1984). Talmi spent sabbatical years at Princeton, Stanford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Yale and other universities as a visiting professor.

Talmi has been a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities since 1963, and was the Chairman of the Division of Sciences in from 1974 to 1980. He also served on the Israel Atomic Energy Commission.[4]

In addition to his influential papers and conference talks, Talmi also wrote two books that served as guides and companions to generations of nuclear structure theorists. The first, written with the late Amos de-Shalit, was a veritable bible of shell theory and the second, written some 30 years later, continued the tradition of being an exhaustive compendium of relevant results and derivations.

Nuclear physics research[edit]

Talmi's main field of research is the theory of nuclear structure.[5] The atomic nucleus is composed of a large number of protons and neutrons which move due to strong interactions between them. In spite of their complexity, nuclei exhibit some simple and regular features. Most importantly, nuclei behave as if they move independently in a common static potential well. This gives rise to the existence of shells of protons and neutrons much like the electronic shells in atoms. Nuclei whose proton and neutron shells are complete have special stability and the numbers of protons and of neutrons in them are called magic numbers. This picture of the nucleus is called the nuclear shell model[6] to obtain the information from experimental data and use it to calculate and predict energies which have not been measured. This method has been successfully used by many nuclear physicists and has led to deeper understanding of nuclear structure. To calculate energies of nuclear states it is necessary to know the exact form of the forces which act between the nuclear constituents. These are still not sufficiently known even after many years of research. Talmi developed a method[7] to obtain the information from experimental data and use it to calculate and predict energies which have not been measured. This method has been successfully used by many nuclear physicists and has led to deeper understanding of nuclear structure. The theory which gives a good description of these properties was developed. This description turned out to furnish the shell model basis of the elegant and successful interacting boson models.[8] Talmi also participated in the study of explicit fermion–boson mappings required to connect the interacting-boson model with its shell-model roots and in the introduction of the boson F-spin analog to nucleon isospin.


  • In 1962, Talmi was awarded the Weizmann Prize of Tel Aviv Municipality.
  • In 1965, Talmi was awarded the Israel Prize in exact sciences, together with his colleague Professor Amos de-Shalit,[9] for their work on "shell model" in nuclear physics.
  • In 1971, Talmi received the Rothschild Prize.
  • In 2000, Talmi was awarded the Hans Bethe Prize[10] of the American Physical Society.
  • In 2003, Talmi received the EMET Prize,[11][12] presented by the prime minister of Israel.


Recent lecture[edit]

Internet streaming broadcasting both on WM and QT (at 64k bps, 256 kbit/s, 1M bps) and DVD ISO (NTSC and PAL) delivery are now available at RIKEN Nishina Center.


  1. ^ Prof. Talmi's CV
  2. ^ Palmach members homepage
  3. ^ Prof. Tamar Dayan Tel Aviv University homepage
  4. ^ Israel Atomic Energy Commission Homepage
  5. ^ M. Kirson (2005). "Igal Talmi's scientific career" (PDF). Journal of Physics: Conference Series. 20 (1): 41–47. Bibcode:2005JPhCS..20...41K. doi:10.1088/1742-6596/20/1/007.
  6. ^ Talmi, Igal (2003). "Fifty Years of the Shell Model — The Quest for the Effective Interaction". In Negele, J. W.; Vogt, E. W. (eds.). Advances in Nuclear Physics, Volume 27. Advances in the Physics of Particles and Nuclei (APPN). 27. Springer-Verlag. pp. 1–275. doi:10.1007/0-306-47916-8_1. ISBN 978-0-306-47708-9. (Print) (Online) ISSN 0065-2970.
  7. ^ I. Talmi (1962). "Effective Interactions and Coupling Schemes in Nuclei". Reviews of Modern Physics. 34 (4): 704–722. Bibcode:1962RvMP...34..704T. doi:10.1103/RevModPhys.34.704.
  8. ^ Iachello, Talmi (1987). "Shell-model foundations of the interacting boson model". Reviews of Modern Physics. 59 (2): 339–361. Bibcode:1987RvMP...59..339I. doi:10.1103/RevModPhys.59.339.
  9. ^ "Israel Prize recipients in 1965 (in Hebrew)". Israel Prize Official Site. Archived from the original on February 3, 2011.
  10. ^ American Physical Society. "2000 Hans A. Bethe Prize Recipient". Retrieved 2000. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  11. ^ EMET Prize homepage
  12. ^ EMET Prize Prime Minister's Office

See also[edit]