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Ne'eman, Yuval

israeli particle military college

(1925– ) Israeli particle physicist: developer of particle theory.

Ne’eman is unusual in having careers in engineering, physics, politics and military intelligence, usually being active in at least two of these apparently disparate areas concurrently. He graduated in engineering at the Technion (the Israel Institute of Technology) in Haifa in 1945 and then began a military career, becoming deputy head of the intelligence branch of the Israeli forces in 1955. After the Israeli–Arab war, wishing to work in theoretical physics, he arranged with General Dayan to become a military attaché at the Israeli Embassy in London, which enabled him to work also at Imperial College with (his first intention had been to work at King’s College with on relativity, but the time required to travel across London to King’s was too great, whereas Imperial College is close to the Embassy).

His interest in particle classification and in group theory developed under Salam’s guidance, and in 1961 he published a valuable general classification of nuclear particles; arrived at a similar scheme at about the same time. The quark model of nuclear structure made the new concepts widely known.

After founding and heading the physics department at Tel-Aviv University Ne’eman became president of the university from 1972–5 and concurrently director of the Center for Particle Theory at the University of Texas at Austin (1968– ). Then in 1981 he founded the Tehiya political party, and as its chairman was elected to the Knesset (the Israeli parliament), becoming minister of science and development in the cabinet 1982–4, and head of the Israeli Space Agency from 1983.

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