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Dr. Giulo Racah, Hebrew U. Rector, Prominent Scientist, Dead at 56

Dr. Giulo Racah, noted theoretical physicist and rector of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, died of a heart attack this weekend in Florence, first stop of a lecture tour of several Italian cities. He was 56.

Born in Florence, the descendant of a family that traced its roots in Italy to the First Century, Dr. Racah fled the country in 1938, when Mussolini adopted his anti-Semitic policies. He joined the faculty of the Hebrew University as professor of theoretical physics, later became dean of the faculty of sciences, and, in 1961, rector of the university. A member of the Jewish underground before the establishment of Israel, he had served as deputy commander of the Haganah on Mount Scopus, where the Hebrew University was then located, during the War of Liberation.

Dr. Racah’s field was atomic spectroscopy, the study of various atomic particles. The “Racah coefficient,” a geometric quantity connected with atomic structure, is used by scientists the world over. Dr. Racah was chairman of the science section of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and a member of the Israel Research Counci. He was a guest member of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton, N.J., in 1950-51.

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