Former President of the Israel National Academy of Sciences
Professor Joshua Jortner made incisive contributions to the elucidation of the mechanisms of energy acquisition, storage and disposal in large molecules, clusters, condensed phase and biophysical systems, as explored from the microscopic point of view. His work contributed significantly to the basis for photoselective chemistry and laser chemistry and chemical dynamics on the time scale of nuclear motion.
Professor Joshua Jortner was born in Tarnów, Poland, on March 14, 1933. He immigrated to Israel in 1940, and served in the Israeli Defence Forces from 1955 until 1959. He was educated at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he completed his MSc. in Physical Chemistry in 1956, and his Ph.D. Degree in 1960.
Joshua Jortner has been a Professor of Chemistry at Tel Aviv University since 1964, and served as the first Chairman of the Institute of Chemistry (1966-1972), as Vice-Rector (1966-1969) and Vice-President (1970-1972), and since 1973 is the incumbent of the Heinemann Chair of Physical Chemistry. Professor Jortner has been awarded honorary doctorates from Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel (1985); Pierre and Marie Curie University of Paris, France (1986); and the Technical University of Munich, Germany (1996).
From 1986 until 1995 Professor Jortner served as the President of the Israel National Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Between the years 1986-1995 he was Science Advisor to Prime Ministers Yitzhak Shamir, Yitzhak Rabin, and Shimon Peres.
Among the many awards and honors Professor Jortner received are the International Academy of Quantum Science Award (1972); Weizmann Prize (1973); Rothschild Prize (1976); Kolthof Prize (1976); Israel Prize in Exact Sciences (1982); Wolf Prize in Chemistry (1988); Commemorative Issue of the Israel Journal of Chemistry in honor of The Wolf Prize (1989); Honorary J. Heyrovsky Medal (1993); Festschrift of the Journal of Physical Chemistry (1994); August Wilhelm von Hofmann Medal (1995); Dedication of the XVII Symposium on Molecular Beams, University of Paris, France (1997); Robert S. Mulliken Medal (1999); and Joseph O. Hirschfelder Prize in Theoretical Chemistry (1999).
Professor Joshua Jortner's international scientific activities include membership in the Committee on Synchrotron Radiation of the European Science Foundation (1979-1985); Member of the Minerva Foundation Fellowship Committee (1983-1989); and Member of the Bureau, Member of the Executive Committee, Vice President, and President of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (1987-1999).
Joshua Jortner is one of a small group of scientists who, in the last three decades, has extended the boundaries of chemical physics. His work has had, and continues to have, great international influence on the further development of chemical physics and many other related areas of science.