Prof. Uri Maor - Obituary

updated: 14.01.2018


Uri was born on January 1st, 1937, in Ramat-Gan.

His parents Ita and Moshe had their roots in Moldavia (Bessarabia). After their marriage they traveled to Brussels (Belgium), where they completed their studies, Moshe as a pharmacist and Ita as a chemist. In 1934 they immigrated to Palestine and settled in Tel Aviv. With the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, Moshe enlisted in the medical

corp of the IDF. He later joined the ministry of defense where he worked until his retirement.


Uri had his schooling in Tel Aviv, at the “Dugma” Elementary School, and the acclaimed “Tichon Hadash” High School. During his High School years, he was also very active in the youth movement "Hashomer Hatzair". In 1955 he enrolled at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, majoring in Physics, and he obtained his M.Sc. Degree in 1960. In 1963 he completed his Ph.D. studies at the Weizmann Institute, under the supervision of Prof. Gideon Yekutieli.


While completing his studies, Uri married Sheila (Austin), and they were together for 52 years, until Sheila’s untimely death in 2015. They had three daughters, Yasmin, Hadas and Irit, and seven grandchildren.


Uri held postdoc positions at SLAC and Harvard from 1963-1966 and at CERN from 1966-1967, after which he returned to the Weizmann Institute as a Research Associate. In 1968, he joined the faculty of the Department of Physics at Tel Aviv University, where he remained until his retirement in 2005.


Uri's research interests throughout his career concerned phenomenological aspects of Elementary Particle Physics, in particular those relating to Strong and Electromagnetic interactions.


The main goal of his research was to reconcile the theoretical approach with experimental data. Together with his colleagues Asher Gotsman and Eugene Levin, they attempted to develop a description for the theoretical interpretations of reactions, such as the deep inelastic scattering at small virtualities of the photon (vector dominance models and their generalizations) and at small values of x (shadowing corrections and the saturation of

gluon density); and the strong interaction hadron collisions at high energies. The Tel-Aviv group was amongst the few that were prepared to discuss the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) data on soft interactions. They were successful in creating a model that describes the complete set of the experimental data at the LHC, and includes theoretical approaches based on the development of a high energy effective theory in Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD).


During his career Uri worked abroad in leading high energy groups in various universities including Stanford, Harvard, University of California (UC Berkley, UCLA, UC Irvine), University of Illinois (Chicago, Fermilab, Urbana/Champaign), University of Rio de Janeiro, CERN, Etranger Saclay, DESY Hamburg University, KEK Japan, Westfield College London and others. 


Always loyal to his inner conscience, even at times it did not reflect accepted views in society, Uri was very active politically throughout his life. In the early 1970s he was involved in direct communications with PLO representatives to promote peace in the Middle East. He was later involved in many left-wing groups, including “Shalom Achshav” and "Ad Can", academics against occupation and for promoting peace. He was a member of The Israeli council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace.


Uri was also active in the campaign to help refuseniks - Soviet Jews who were denied permission to emigrate by the authorities of the former Soviet Union - whom he met in Russia and befriended while attending various conferences there. In the summer of 1970 at the Kiev Rochester Conference he first became acquainted with the legendary Volodya Gribov, and they became firm friends thereafter.


In his various travels around the world he always found extra time to visit distant and remote places, to befriend the local people and to expand his knowledge of history, culture and art. Uri was also a true connoisseur of classical music.


Uri passed away unexpectedly on August 14th, 2016.



Asher Gotsman, Evgeny Levin and the Maor Family

Tel Aviv University



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