Prof. David Gerlich - Biography

updated: 28.09.2017


Prof. David Gerlich was born in Mannheim, Germany, on May 13, 1929. The family came on aliya in 1934 and lived in Tel Aviv. David went to Bialik Elementary School in Tel Aviv and then to Balfour High School where, as an outstanding student, he had a special stipend.


David joined the army when the War of Independence broke out in 1948. After the war he studied physics at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he completed all his academic degrees. After finishing his Ph.D. in physics in 1958, he spent seven years in the U.S., where he worked as a researcher at the RCA Laboratories in Princeton, NJ. In 1965 he returned to Israel, accepting an academic position as senior lecturer at the newly established Physics Department at Tel Aviv University. He was later promoted to associate professor and full professor and retired in 1996. During these years, he was a visiting scientist and visiting professor in several laboratories, including the University of California at Berkeley, UCLA, Köln University and General Electric, NY. 


David's main scientific interests were in the high-temperature specific heat of solids, elastic properties of crystals and amorphous materials, hypersonic velocities in solids and liquids, the piezoelectric effect, and Brillouin scattering in various crystals. He had several Ph.D. students who graduated from Tel Aviv University. They include Shmuel Alterovitz, Shlomo Levin, Miron Gross and Yaakov Azoulay.


David married Yemima in 1954. They have a son, Ehud, and a daughter, Michal, and four grandchildren, Tuval, Or, Naama and Noga. David was fond of sailing, and had a sailboat. As a classical music fan, he went regularly to concerts and shows.


David passed away after a long illness in 2011.



Written by Reuven Chen in collaboration with David's family.


Tel Aviv University

Tel Aviv, Israel

February 2012

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