Raphael D. Levine


Born March 29, 1938 in Alexandria, Egypt.

Max Born Professor of Natural Philosophy at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.
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Annual Prize of the Academy (1968). Israel Prize (1974). The Wolf Foundation Prize (1988), Rothschild Prize (1992). Member: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Foreign Member: Max Planck Society, Academia Europaea, American Academy of Arts & Sciences, American Philosophical Society, Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, National Academy of Sciences of the US. Doctorates hons. caus.: Liege, Munich.

Author of:

Quantum Mechanics of Molecular Rate Processes, R.D. Levine, Oxford University Press (1969); Molecular Reaction Dynamics, R.D. Levine and R.B. Bernstein, Oxford University Press (1974); Lasers and Chemical Change, A. Ben-Shaul, Y. Haas, K.L. Kompa and R.D. Levine, Springer Verlag (1981); Molecular Reaction Dynamics and Chemical Reactivity, R.D. Levine and R.B. Bernstein, Oxford University Press (1987); Algebraic Theory of Molecules, F. Iachello and R. D. Levine, Oxford University Press (1995); Molecular Reaction Dynamics, R. D. Levine, Cambridge University Press (2005).

Important Contributions:

  • Raphael David Levine is one of the pioneers in the modern theory of chemically reactive collisions and unimolecular reactions. He has played a central role in the application of the principles of quantum mechanics to the description of physical change in a reaction from a microscopic point of view, introducing many new concepts and terms which became standard to this area. His pioneering works include the quantum theory of absolute rates, the first quantal treatment of molecular photodissociation, elucidation of the role of resonances in reactive molecular collisions, the theory of collision—induced dissociation, and (most recently), the foundations of dynamical stereochemistry and the theory of reactions in liquids.
  • Recognizing the insufficiency of the microscopic approach to fully comprehend the dynamics of too complex systems, Levine formulated a novel theoretical method for analysing the dynamical selectivity and specificity of molecular reactions, based on ideas borrowed from thermodynamics and information theory. His "surprisal analysis" (brought forth in 1972 in collaboration with Richard Bernstein and Avinoam Ben-Shaul), became a major analytical tool in the study of reaction dynamics, and spread into diverse branches of science such as nuclear physics and molecular biology.
  • Levine's achievements in applying the ideas of quantum mechanics and thermodynamics culminated in their synthesis in his recent introduction of the algebraic approach to reaction dynamics, based on the maximum entropy principle. This new approach, too, has already gained followers in a variety of fields.