September 4, 2012

A Nobel Laureate and some of the world’s most renowned physicists are taking part in a conference this week in Jerusalem on recent ramifications of black hole thermodynamics and prospects for the future. The international conference marks 40 years since the publication of Prof. Jacob Bekenstein’s groundbreaking paper on black hole entropy.

“The achievements of Jacob Bekenstein bring honor to the Hebrew University and to Israel, and give Israeli researchers inspiration to continue their work in the field,” said Conference Chair Professor Barak Kol.

Prof. Jacob Bekenstein (Photo: Sasson Tiram)

Bekenstein’s original proposals about black holes, entropy and thermodynamics were originally contested by renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, who later admitted that Bekenstein was correct and affirmed Bekenstein’s ideas with his famous proposal for the existence of Hawking radiation.

In 2012, Bekenstein — the Polak Professor of Theoretical Physics at the Hebrew University’s Racah Institute of Physics — received the Wolf Prize for his work, prompting Hebrew University President Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson to declare that his “original and innovative work has earned him a place of honor in the field of exploration of the universe, and has paved the way for many other scientists around the world.”

Over a third of Wolf Prize winners have gone on to win a Nobel Prize. Bekenstein is also a recipient of the Israel Prize and the Rothschild Prize.

Speakers at the conference will include Gerard ‘t Hooft of Utrecht University, recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize in physics for his work in electroweak interactions, discussing Superstrings and Hidden Variables; and Juan Maldacena of Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, discussing The Black Hole Information Problem.

The conference – aptly titled ‘Forty Years of Black Hole Thermodynamics’ – is being presented by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute for Advanced Studies in cooperation with the Israel Science Foundation.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

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