Prof. Jacob Bekenstein wins 2012 Wolf Prize in physics

January 11, 2012: Prof. Jacob Bekenstein, a theoretical physicist at the Hebrew University who shed new light on black holes, has been named the 2012 recipient of the prestigious Wolf Prize. Bekenstein is the Polak Professor of Theoretical Physics at the Hebrew University's Racah Institute of Physics.

Bekenstein's groundbreaking 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.

Hebrew University President Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson congratulated Bekenstein and said 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.''

The Wolf Foundation began its activities in 1976 with an initial endowment of $10 million donated by the Wolf family. Since 1978, five or six prizes have been awarded annually in the fields of agriculture, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, physics, and the arts. The prize in each field consists of a certificate and a monetary award of $100,000. Over 250 scientists and artists from 23 countries have been honored. Over a third of Wolf Prize winners have gone on to win a Nobel Prize.

Bekenstein will receive his award from Israel’s President Shimon Peres at a special ceremony at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, on May 13, 2012. The Hebrew University's Institute for Advanced Studies will hold an international conference in September in recognition of 40 years of groundbreaking research by Prof. Bekenstein.

Acclaimed tenor Placido Domingo is among the American, British and German recipients of the other Wolf Prizes for 2012.