Joint Soviet-Israeli Physics Center at Weizmann Institute


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Profs. Larkin and Levit. Theoretical physics venture
Eight physicists from the Landau Institute in Moscow have arrived at the Weizmann Institute within the framework of a Joint Center for Theoretical Physics, recently established in Rehovot by the two world-famous institutions. The visiting scientists are carrying out collaborative studies with Weizmann Institute physicists for six-month periods, and similar groups will follow in their footsteps year by year. Although the Joint Center is the first Soviet-Israeli collaborative research institution ever to be created, Prof. Isaak Khalatnikov, Director of the Landau Institute, said that for many of the Soviet participants the Center provided an opportunity "to continue long-established contacts with Israeli physicists and to meet with former colleagues who had emigrated to Israel. For many it's like moving to a new office, with no need for adjustment to a new environment."

Among the visitors from the Landau Institute is Prof. Anatoly Larkin, a world-renowned expert in superconductivity and the mentor of an exceptionally large number of successful scientists in various branches of physics. Prof. Larkin feels that the Center is unique in bringing together "not individual researchers but entire groups with wide-ranging expertise, for extended periods of time. They will be focusing on 'mesoscopic' (ultrasmall) and chaotic systems."

According to Prof. Shimon Levit, a Weizmann physicist who is serving as Director of the Center, the Soviets "have developed a school of theoretical physics that integrates diverse fields ? including statistical mechanics, condensed-matter physics and mathematical physics -- that are regarded as separate disciplines in the West." Prof. Levit notes that the Israeli scientists are gaining familiarity with this school, while at the same time introducing the Soviets to the "Israeli school of physics." The latter exploits the principle of "symmetry" ? the ability of atoms to undergo various transformations while retaining certain of their properties ? to learn about microscopic particles.

The Center is largely financed by Yad Hanadiv.