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Tag search results for: "i. i. rabi"
Author/Compiler: Tihomir Dimitrov (; also see


Nobel Prize: I. I. Rabi (1898-1988) won the 1944 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the magnetic properties of atomic nuclei.

Nationality: Austrian; later American citizen

Education: Ph.D. in physics, Columbia University, 1927

Occupation: Professor of Physics at Columbia University (1937-1988)


1. “Physics filled me with awe, put me in touch with a sense of original causes. Physics brought me closer to God. That feeling stayed with me throughout my years in science. Whenever one of my students came to me with a scientific project, I asked only one question, ‘Will it bring you nearer to God?’ ” (I. I. Rabi 1999, Physics Today).

2. “The first verses of Genesis were very moving to me as a kid. The whole idea of the Creation - the mystery and the philosophy of it. It sank in on me, and it’s something I still feel.

There’s no question that basically, somewhere way down, I’m an Orthodox Jew. My early upbringing, so struck by God, the Maker of the world, this has stayed with me.” (Rabi, as cited in John S. Rigden, Rabi: Scientist and Citizen, Harvard University Press, 2000, 21).

3. “Rabi’s Orthodox upbringing had given him a feeling for the mystery of physics, a taste for generalization, and a belief in the profundity and underlying unity of nature.

‘When you’re doing physics, you’re wrestling with a champ,’ he liked to say. ‘You’re trying to find out how God made the world, just like Jacob wrestling with the angel.’ Physics brought Rabi nearer to God because the world was His creation. And like God, physics was infinite and certainly not trivial.” (Brian VanDeMark, Pandora’s Keepers: Nine Men and the Atomic Bomb, Little Brown & Co., 2003, ch. 1).

4. In his article “Isidor Isaac Rabi” (Physics World, November 1999) John Rigden wrote:

“To Rabi, physics, like religion, springs from human aspirations, from the depths of the soul, from deep thinking and deep feeling. For Rabi, doing great physics was walking the path of God.” (Rigden 1999, 31).