Prof. Nahum Kristianpoller - Obituary

updated: 11.06.2018


I first met Prof. Kristianpoller, Nahum, almost 60 years ago. I was a first-year student of Mathematics and Physics at the Hebrew University. The teaching assistant in the course of classical mechanics was Nahum Kristianpoller. It was obvious that he was not the "usual" assistant. He was more experienced than the other assistants and also older than all of them. It is funny to say it now, when I am almost 80 years old, but he was really older, 38 years old. Nahum was working for his Ph.D. thesis in the department of Prof. Avraham Halperin.


Four years later, I started working on my Mastrer's thesis under the supervision of Dr. Braner, in Prof. Halperin's group. Nahum was then a post-doc in Rochester. The subjects of our research were rather close even then. Nahum worked on Sodium Salicilate, material whose medical properties similar to aspirin. This material has interesting optical properties which Nahum studied in the US and he published a number of papers on the results.


Nahum returned to Israel and in parallel to his work at the Hebrew University, he started teaching at the Physics Department of Tel-Aviv University which was making its very first steps. His association with Tel-Aviv University has strengthened gradually, he started a research laboratory and moved permanently to TA University where he was one of the first faculty members of the Physics Department.


In 1968, the Physics Department headed by Prof. Yuval Ne'eman was developing very fast and recruited new faculty members. Nahum who came to the US for a conference, came to visit me in the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn where I worked as a post-doc. The aim of the visit was to recruit me to TA University and a year later, I arrived in Tel-Aviv. Since then, we worked together for more than 45 years until both of us retired, and in fact, we published together even later. During this long period of time we supervised together a number of M.Sc. and Ph.D. students and published ~50 joint papers. Nahum has published also several other papers. During these years we also met many times in social events in Israel and abroad. We participated in the same International scientific conferences up to recent years, past Nahum's 90's birthday.


In addition to Nahum's scientific and teaching activities, he was also very active in other university activities. For many years he was the head of the General Science program within the Faculty of Exact Sciences. Also, for many years he was a member of the academic employees union, and for a period of time he headed this union. He continued this activity after he retired as the delegate of the retirees. Nahum fulfilled al these tasks in good spirit and friendliness with all.



May he Rest in Peace!

יהי זכרו ברוך!

Abraham Katzir


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