Samuel Soloveichik

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Dr. Samuel (Shmuel Yaakov) Soloveichik (1909-1967) was an Orthodox Jewish chemist and talmudist.

Born in Pruzhany, Samuel Soloveichik was the second son of Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik. He was the brother of rabbis Joseph Soloveitchik and Ahron Soloveichik. He had two sisters, Mrs. Shulamith Meiselman (1912-2009), and Mrs. Anne Gerber (1915-2011).

After engaging in talmudic studies with his father, Soloveichik studied mathematics and science.[1][2] In 1934 he received a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Brussels, graduating magnum cum laude.[3] In 1939 he emigrated to the United States. During the Second World War Soloveichik worked as a research chemist for the Board of Chemical Warfare and the Board of Economic Warfare.[4]

In 1950 he received a Research Fellowship at Yeshiva University becoming Lecturer in Chemistry in the University's Chemistry Department in 1953. From 1959 until his death he was Associate Professor of Chemistry.

He was a member of the American Chemical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.[5]

On February 25, 1967 Soloveichik died aged 58. He was survived by his wife Bathsheba Ziv, a teacher at the Beis Yaakov-Beis Miriam High School in the Bronx, and his four siblings. His older brother Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik delivered a brief eulogy at his funeral, as did Yeshiva University President, Dr. Samuel Belkin. The main eulogy, lasting close to two hours, was delivered by his younger brother, Rabbi Aharon.

At Yeshiva University the Dr. Samuel Soloveichik Prize in Natural Science was established in his memory.

Aliphatic Organic Compounds[edit]

In a paper published in 1966, Soloveichik proposed a means of classifying aliphatic compounds similar to the periodic table.[6] Prior to publishing the paper he discussed its contents with the chemist Linus Pauling in August–September 1955.[7]

History of Chemistry[edit]

Soloveichik frequently lectured and wrote in the field of the History of Chemistry. In a series of papers he attributed the premature deaths or illnesses of the chemists Joseph Priestley, Carl Wilhelm Scheele, Humphry Davy, William Cruickshank (chemist) and James Woodhouse to chemical poisoning.

Science and Torah[edit]

In lectures at Yeshiva University Soloveichik discussed the relationship between science and Torah with regard to issues such as the age of the earth[8] and whether the earth orbits the sun or vice versa.[9]

Brisker Family Tree[edit]


  • "The Last Fight for Phlogiston and the Death of Priestley," J. Chem. Educ. 39 (1962), pp. 644–646
  • "Hidden Danger In the Lab", Chem. Eng. News, 41(37), (1963), p. 178
  • "Toxicity: Killer of great chemists?," J. Chem. Educ., 41 (5),(1964), p. 282
  • and Henry Krakauer "Oxidation stages of organic aliphatic compounds: A classification scheme" J. Chem. Educ. 43 (10) 1966, p. 532
  • and Henry Krakauer, "Alfred Werner," in Werner Centennial: A Symposium, ed. George B. Kauffman (Washington, D.C.: American Chemical Society), pp. 3–7


  • 'Method for Preparing Formic Esters', (US Patent 2617821, November 11, 1952)
  • 'Process for the Production of Nitrous Esters' (Serial No. 438,325, August 2, 1955)


  1. ^ * Shulamith Soloveitchik Meiselman, The Soloveitchik Heritage: A Daughter's Memoir (1995)
  2. ^ Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff, From Washington Avenue to Washington Street , (2011)
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  8. ^ Leon M. Mozeson Echoes of the Song of the Nightingale: The Torah as Divine Document (1991)
  9. ^