Bruria Kaufman

Bruria Kaufman

Ask a question about 'Bruria Kaufman'
Start a new discussion about 'Bruria Kaufman'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
Bruria Kaufman was an Israeli theoretical physicist. She contributed to Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

's Theory of general relativity and to statistical physics
Statistical physics
Statistical physics is the branch of physics that uses methods of probability theory and statistics, and particularly the mathematical tools for dealing with large populations and approximations, in solving physical problems. It can describe a wide variety of fields with an inherently stochastic...

. She is well-known for her studies of derivation using spinor analysis of the exact result of Lars Onsager
Lars Onsager
Lars Onsager was a Norwegian-born American physical chemist and theoretical physicist, winner of the 1968 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.He held the Gibbs Professorship of Theoretical Chemistry at Yale University....

 on the partition function of the two-dimensional Ising Model
Ising model
The Ising model is a mathematical model of ferromagnetism in statistical mechanics. The model consists of discrete variables called spins that can be in one of two states . The spins are arranged in a graph , and each spin interacts with its nearest neighbors...

. She collaborated with John von Neumann
John von Neumann
John von Neumann was a Hungarian-American mathematician and polymath who made major contributions to a vast number of fields, including set theory, functional analysis, quantum mechanics, ergodic theory, geometry, fluid dynamics, economics and game theory, computer science, numerical analysis,...

 and Harry Lipkin on the Mössbauer effect
Mössbauer effect
The Mössbauer effect, or recoilless nuclear resonance fluorescence‎, is a physical phenomenon discovered by Rudolf Mössbauer in 1958. It involves the resonant and recoil-free emission and absorption of γ radiation by atomic nuclei bound in a solid...



Kaufman was born in New York to a Jewish family of Russian origin. In 1926 the family immigrated to Palestine, living first in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

, and then in Jerusalem. Her main interests during her youth were music and mathematics.

She studied mathematics, earning a B.Sc. from Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem ; ; abbreviated HUJI) is Israel's second-oldest university, after the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. The Hebrew University has three campuses in Jerusalem and one in Rehovot. The world's largest Jewish studies library is located on its Edmond J...

 in 1938, and a PhD from
Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 in 1948. She married the linguist Zellig S. Harris in 1941.

Kaufman was a research associate at the Institute for Advanced Study
Institute for Advanced Study
The Institute for Advanced Study, located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States, is an independent postgraduate center for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry. It was founded in 1930 by Abraham Flexner...

 in Princeton from 1948 to 1955, where she worked with John von Neumann (1947/48) and with Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

 (1950–1955). She spent the following years at the University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States,Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution...

 working on a mathematical linguistics project.

Kaufman returned to Israel in 1960 (with Harris) where she became professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science
Weizmann Institute of Science
The Weizmann Institute of Science , known as Machon Weizmann, is a university and research institute in Rehovot, Israel. It differs from other Israeli universities in that it offers only graduate and post-graduate studies in the sciences....

 in Rehovot (1960–1971) and later on at the University of Haifa
University of Haifa
The University of Haifa is a university in Haifa, Israel.The University of Haifa was founded in 1963 by Haifa mayor Abba Hushi, to operate under the academic auspices of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem....

 (1972–1988). They settled in kibbutz
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism...

 Mishmar Ha'emek, and adopted a daughter, Tamar.

The couple returned to the US in 1982; they settled in Pennsylvania, where Harris taught. He died in 1992. She moved to Arizona and in 1996, married the Nobel laureate Willis Eugene Lamb; they later divorced.

She died in early January, 2010 at the Carmel Hospital, Haifa, following a stay at a nursing home in Kiryat Tiv'on, not far from Haifa. Her body was cremated, according to her wishes.


  • "Crystal Statistics. II. Partition Function Evaluated by Spinor Analysis," Phys. Rev. 76: 1232 (1949).
  • "Crystal Statistics. III. Short-Range Order in a Binary Ising Lattice," Phys. Rev. 76: 1244 (1949), with L. Onsager.
  • "Transition Points," Physical Society Cambridge International Conference on Low Temperatures (1946), with L. Onsager.
  • The Meaning of Relativity with A. Einstein and E.G. Strauss, Princeton University Press (1953)
  • "Algebraic Properties of the Field in the Relativistic Theory of the Asymmetric Field," Annals of Mathematics 59: 230-244 (1954), with A. Einstein.
  • "A New Form of the General Relativistic Field Equations," Annals of Mathematics 62: 128-138 (1955), with A. Einstein.
  • "Mathematical Structure of the Non-symmetric Field Theory," Proceedings of the Fiftieth Anniversary Conference on Relativitiy 227-238 (1955).
  • "Neighbor Interactions and Symmetric Properties of Polyelectrolytes," Journal of Chemical Physics 27: 1356-1362 (1957), with S. Lifson and H.Lifson.
  • "The Stability of a Rotating Viscous Jet," Quarterly of Applied Mathematics 19: 301-308 (1962), with J. Gillis.
  • "Momentum Transfer to Atoms Bound in a Crystal," Annals of Physics 18:249-309 (1962), with H.J. Lipkin.
  • "Unitary Symmetry of Oscillators and the Talmi Transformation," Journal of Mathematical Physics 6: 142-152 (1965), with C.C. Noack.
  • "Special Functions of Mathematical Physics from the Viewpoint of Lie Algebra," Journal of Mathematical Physics 7: 447-457 (1966).