Giulio Racah

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Giulio Racah
File:Giulio Racah. Photograph by Harris. Wellcome V0027050.jpg
Born February 9, 1909
Died August 28, 1965
Doctoral students Moshé Flato

Giulio (Yoel) Racah (Hebrew: ג'וליו (יואל) רקח‎; February 9, 1909 – August 28, 1965) was an Italian–Israeli physicist and mathematician.[1]


Born in Florence, Italy,[2] he took his degree from the University there in 1930, and later studied in Rome with Enrico Fermi. In 1937 he was appointed Professor of Physics at the University of Pisa. In 1939, due to application of Anti-Jewish laws in Italy, Racah immigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine, and was appointed Professor of Theoretical Physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he was later Dean of the Faculty of Sciences, and finally Rector and acting President. The physics institute at the Hebrew University is named "The Racah Institute of Physics".

In the Israeli War of Independence, Racah served as deputy commander of the Israeli forces defending Mount Scopus.[3]

Racah's research was mainly in the fields of quantum physics and atomic spectroscopy. He first devised a systematic general procedure for classifying the energy levels of open shell atoms, which remains to this day the accepted technique for practical calculations of atomic structure. This formalism was described in a monograph coauthored by his cousin Ugo Fano (Irreducible Tensorial Sets, 1959).

Racah died at the age of 56, apparently asphyxiated by gas from a faulty heater.[4]


In 1958, Racah was awarded the Israel Prize in exact sciences.[5]

See also

The crater Racah on the Moon is named after him.


  1. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  3. Jewish Virtual Library, sourced from Encyclopaedia Judaica
  4. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  5. "Israel Prize recipients in 1958 (in Hebrew)". Israel Prize Official Site. Archived from the original on 17 January 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links