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Jacob Bekenstein

Jacob Bekenstein

Jacob Bekenstein at Harvard
BornMay 1 1947 (1947-05-01) (age 65)
Mexico City, Mexico
ResidenceJerusalem, Israel
FieldTheoretical physics
InstitutionsHebrew University of Jerusalem
Alma materPolytechnic University of New York
Academic advisor  John Wheeler
Known forblack hole thermodynamics
Notable prizesRothschild Prize in Physics
Israel National Prize
Religious stanceJewish

Jacob David Bekenstein (born May 1, 1947) is a physicist who has contributed to the foundation of black hole thermodynamics and to other aspects of the connections between information and gravitation. He was born in Mexico City, Mexico. He is Polak Professor of Theoretical Physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and of The World Jewish Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Rothschild Prize in Physics and of the Israel National Prize.

Additional recommended knowledge



Bekenstein received his undergraduate education in the Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, New York. He received his PhD from Princeton University in 1972, supervised by John Wheeler.

Major contributions to physics

In 1972, Bekenstein was the first to suggest that black holes should have a well-defined entropy. Bekenstein also formulated the generalized second law of thermodynamics black hole thermodynamics for systems including black holes. Both contributions were affirmed when Stephen Hawking proposed the existence of Hawking radiation two years later.

Based on his black-hole thermodynamics work, Bekenstein also demonstrated the remarkable fact that there is a maximum to the amount of information that can potentially be stored in a given volume, and that this maximum is proportional to the area that bounds this volume and not to the volume itself (related to the holographic principle).

In 1982, Bekenstein was the first person to develop a rigorous framework to generalize the laws of electromagnetism to handle inconstant physical constants. His framework replaces the fine structure constant by a scalar field. However, this framework for changing constants did not incorporate gravity.

In 2004, Bekenstein greatly boosted Mordehai Milgrom's theory of Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND) by developing a relativistic version. It is known as TeVeS for Tensor/Vector/Scalar and it introduces three different fields in space time to replace the one gravitational field.

See also


  • Jacob D. Bekenstein, Information in the Holographic Universe. Scientific American, Volume 289, Number 2, August 2003, p. 61.
  • J. D. Bekenstein and M. Schiffer, "Quantum Limitations on the Storage and Transmission of Information", Int. J. of Modern Physics 1:355-422 (1990).
  • J. D. Bekenstein, "Entropy content and information flow in systems with limited energy", Phys. Rev. D 30:1669-1679 (1984). [citeseer]
  • J. D. Bekenstein, "Communication and energy", Phys. Rev A 37(9):3437-3449 (1988). [citeseer]
  • J. D. Bekenstein, "Black holes and the second law", Nuovo Cimento Letters 4:737-740 (1972).
  • J. D. Bekenstein, "Entropy bounds and the second law for black holes", Phys. Rev. D 27(10):2262-2270 (1983). [citeseer]
  • J. D. Bekenstein, "Specific entropy and the sign of the energy", Phys. Rev. D 26(4):950-953 (1982). [citeseer]
  • J. D. Bekenstein, "Black holes and everyday physics", General Relativity and Gravitation, 14(4):355-359 (1982). [citeseer]
  • J. D. Bekenstein, "Universal upper bound to entropy-to-energy ratio for bounded systems", Phys. Rev. D 23:287-298 (1981). [citeseer]
  • J. D. Bekenstein, "Energy cost of information transfer", Phys. Rev. Lett 46:623-626. (1981). [citeseer]
  • J. D. Bekenstein, "Black-hole thermodynamics," Physics Today, 24-31 (Jan. 1980).
  • J. D. Bekenstein, "Statistical black hole thermodynamics", Phys. Rev. D12:3077- (1975). [citeseer]
  • J. D. Bekenstein, "Generalized second law of thermodynamics in black hole physics", Phys. Rev. D 9:3292-3300 (1974). [citeseer]
  • J. D. Bekenstein, "Black holes and entropy", Phys. Rev. D 7:2333-2346 (1973). [citeseer]
  • J. D. Bekenstein, "Nonexistence of baryon number of static black holes", ii. Phys. Rev. D 5:2403-2412 (1972). [citeseer]
  • Bekenstein's papers list at ArXiv with links to the full papers.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Jacob_Bekenstein". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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