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Max Jammer

JAMMER, MAX (1915– ), Israeli physicist. He was born in Berlin where his elementary education at the Jewish community school and secondary education gave him a grounding in classics of lasting value in his career. He studied philosophy, mathematics, and physics in Vienna (1933–35) before immigrating to Palestine where he gained a Ph.D. in molecular spectroscopy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1942) preparatory to specializing in the philosophy of science. After World War II service in the British Army, he was a member of Haganah's intelligence unit during the War of Independence and was wounded during the battle for Jerusalem. He became a post-doctoral fellow and then lecturer at Harvard University (1951–57) and professor at the University of Oklahoma. He returned to Israel to establish and build a highly successful physics department specializing in solid state physics at the newly founded Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan. He became rector (1962) and president of the university (1967–68). Jammer's research has concerned the history and philosophy of science in the classical world, the Middle Ages and the modern era. He is especially interested in the history and philosophy of quantum mechanics. In retirement he continued his studies of the conceptual foundations of quantum mechanics, the true nature of mass (inertia), and an analysis of Einstein's philosophy of religion. His many honors include the Prize of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1961), the Israel Prize for the history of science (1984), and election as president of the Association for the Advancement of Science in Israel. He served as a member of many key advisory committees to the Israel government on science and higher education. He was a visiting professor at leading universities in the U.S. and New Zealand. His research and thinking are recorded in a series of very successful books, published by major universities, and translated into many languages. These include The History of Science (1950) and Concepts of Spacethe History of Theories of Space in Physics (1954) which greatly interested Einstein and for which he wrote a preface. He wrote Concepts of Forcea Study in the Foundations of Dynamics (1957), Concepts of Mass in Classical and Modern Physics (1961) and The Conceptual Development of Quantum Mechanics (1966), the first systematic and historical account of this crucially important subject. The Philosophy of Quantum Physics (1968) describes the foundations of modern physics and Concepts of Mass in Contemporary Physics and Philosophy (2000) extends his earlier analysis of this subject. Einstein and ReligionPhysics and Theology (2000) was named the outstanding book of the year in the field of theology and the natural sciences by the influential Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences in Berkeley, California.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.