Farkas, Ladislaus

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FARKAS, LADISLAUS (Wilhelm; 1904–1948), Israel physical chemist. Farkas was born in Dunaszerdahely, Slovakia, the son of a pharmacist. From 1928 he worked at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry in Berlin-Dahlem as assistant to Fritz Haber. On the advent of Nazism in 1933, Farkas moved to Cambridge and in 1934 joined the staff of the Sieff Institute in Reḥovot and of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he was subsequently appointed professor of physical chemistry. He was killed in an air crash while on his way to the U.S. to buy scientific equipment. He left his mark on a generation of students who were later among Israel's outstanding chemists. Farkas' research covered photochemistry, gas reactions, combustion, the chemistry of parahydrogen and heavy hydrogen, and the recovery of bromine and the reactions of its compounds. During World War ii, he acted as secretary of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Palestine War Supply Board and was instrumental in developing local production methods for essential chemicals from the resources of the Dead Sea. He laid the foundations for the establishment of the Research Council of Israel.


I. Farkas and E.P. Wigner, L. Farkas Memorial Volume (1952).

[Samuel Aaron Miller]