SAMBURSKY, SAMUEL (1900–1990), Israeli scientist and historian. Born in Koenigsberg, Germany, Sambursky studied physics before going to Palestine in 1924. Four years later he joined the physics department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His sense of history and his humor made him a particularly successful lecturer. In 1945, in order to harness the country's scientific potential to the development of Palestine, the Mandatory government set up the Board of Scientific and Industrial Research, with Sambursky as its executive secretary. This board was the forerunner of the Research Council of Israel established in 1949, with Sambursky as its architect and first director (1949–56). He remained vice chairman when, in 1957, he returned to full-time academic life as dean of the Hebrew University's faculty of science. In 1959 he became professor of the history and philosophy of science in a new department he helped to create. Sambursky was active in UNESCO, serving for some years as vice chairman of Israel's national committee for the organization. In 1968 he received the Israel Prize for Humanities.
His works include Ha-Kosmos shel ha-Yevanim (1954; The Physical World of the Greeks, 1956); Physics of the Stoics (1959); and Physical World of Late Antiquity (1962). A revised edition of these three works appeared in 1965 in one volume under the title Das Physikalische Weltbild der Antike. His brother was the composer Daniel *Sambursky.
[Paul G. Werskey]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.