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Prof. Bilha Segev 1963 – 2005


Professor Bilha Segev was born and grew up in Haifa, Israel. She

received her B.Sc. in 1988, Suma cum Laude, her M.Sc. in 1992,

and her Ph.D. in 1996 from the Technion. She won a Rothchild

Fellowship and a Fulbright Fellowship, and from 1996 to 1998 she

was a Research Associate at the Institute for Theoretical Atomic

and Molecular Physics (ITAMP) at Harvard University; she also

won a prestigious ITAMP Fellowship. At ITAMP she worked on

varied topics such as electron-positron pair production in heavy

ion collisions, evanescent-wave atomic mirrors, energy transfer

processes between Born-Oppenheimer surfaces in molecules,

and superluminal light propagation and quantum noise. She

joined the faculty of Ben-Gurion University in 1998, after

receiving the prestigious Alon Fellowship for outstanding young

faculty. In 2002, she received the Toronto Prize for excellence in research. Her main research interests

were in theoretical and mathematical physics and chemistry. In particular she worked on the following

topics: quantum and QED effects in atomic and molecular optics, time dependence in quantum scattering

processes, formulation of the principle of causality in the quantum regime, tunneling phenomena, phase-

space dynamics in the Wigner representation, applications of the above to quantum gates of cold atoms

in optical lattices, non-perturbative effects in quantum electrodynamics, and radiationless transitions in

polyatomic molecules.

Bilha was a gifted teacher and lecturer, and was awarded several Ben-Gurion University awards for

teaching excellence. Her ability to anticipate potential sources of confusion, and explain these away

to her students and colleagues, was phenomenal. Her lectures at scientific meetings were universally

lauded. Her students venerated her.

Prof. Bilha Segev was “noach labriot” and was universally loved by her students and colleagues. Her

smile was contagious, and her wisdom, inspirational. We lost a very dear colleague; a colleague who

shared her enthusiasm for science and for life with us. She will be sorely missed.

Prof. Yehuda Band, Ben-Gurion University.