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Scholarship Foundation Award to Honor Scientist Jacob N. Israelachvili

The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara is accepting donations for a new scholarship fund established in memory of Jacob Nissim Israelachvili, UCSB research professor emeritus, who died of cancer in Septembe at age 74.

The Jacob N. Israelachvili Honors Science Scholarship Fund will support graduate and undergraduate students in chemical engineering, materials, physics and biochemistry.

A prominent physicist, chemical engineer and materials scientist, Israelachvili invented the surface force apparatus, a sophisticated research instrument widely used to measure the physical forces between surfaces.

He authored or co-authored 492 journal articles, as well as the textbook Intermolecular and Surface Forces, in use worldwide and now in its third edition.

Israelachvili joined the UCSB faculty in 1986 following successive fellowships at Australian National University’s Institute of Advanced Studies. He became a professor emeritus in 2017.

Upon his passing, UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang issued a statement, which read in part:

“Dr. Israelachvili is known for developing original and pathbreaking experimental techniques for measuring intermolecular forces that have led to the discovery and elucidation of fundamental molecular interactions in complex colloidal and biological systems and at interfaces.

“This aided in the development of technological applications, including the creation of biocompatible surfaces, development of new types of structured materials and soft biomaterials, and diagnosis of pathological membranes and tissues.

“Through his research, teaching, mentorship, and leadership, Professor Israelachvili has had a lasting impact on our academic community and the global scientific community.”

Born in Tel Aviv, Israelachvili earned a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Cambridge’s Christ’s College before being named a research fellow at the University of Stockholm, and later at the Karolinska Institute. He accepted his first fellowship at ANU’s Institute of Advanced Studies in 1974.

Israelachvili was one of the world’s foremost experts in friction and adhesion, and his work has had applications across a variety of fields, from ice cream and hair products to cancer and arthritis research.

He was instrumental in devising a method for the removal of dust from the windows and cameras of Mars rovers.

A fellow of the Royal Society, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Physical Society, Israelachvili was the recipient of an American Chemical Society Award in Colloid Chemistry (2009), a Materials Research Society Medal (2004), the David Syme Research Prize (1983), a Pawsey Medal (1977), and the Tribology Gold Medal (2013).

“Most important to Jacob were his students and their success,” said his wife Trudi Carey. “He believed in excellence in education and science research, so it is befitting that a fund has been set up in his name for the advancement of education and science,”

To donate to the Jacob N. Israelachvili Honors Science Scholarship Fund, contact Nicole Jones, Scholarship Foundation donor relations manager, 805-687-6065 or [email protected]

For additional information about The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, visit www.sbscholarship.org.

— Tim Dougherty for The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara.


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