Oppenheimer, Hillel (Heinz) Reinhard

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OPPENHEIMER, HILLEL (Heinz ) REINHARD (1899–1971), Israeli plant physiologist. Born in Berlin, son of the sociologist and economist Franz *Oppenheimer, Hillel Oppenheimer became assistant in plant physiology at the Geisenheim experimental station in 1923. After a year's work in Berlin he went to Palestine in 1926 as keeper of the Aaron Aaronsohn Herbarium at Zikhron Ya'akov, where he arranged and cataloged the famed botanical collection. He was head of the plant physiology section at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1931–32, and in 1933 established the horticultural, physiological, and genetics station at the Jewish Agency's Agricultural Experiment Station at Reḥovot, which he directed for twenty years. From 1952 until his retirement in 1967, he was professor of horticulture and of plant physiology at the Hebrew University, and dean of its agricultural faculty, 1952–54. In 1959 he was awarded the Israel Prize in Agriculture.

Oppenheimer contributed notably to the knowledge of the theory of irrigation, plant-water relations, and the mineral and irrigation requirements of plantation crops, especially citrus, which was his special interest and on which he was a world authority. His research encompassed germination inhibitors in fruits, the osmotic and elastic properties of plant cells, and drought tolerance of plant cells; and citricultural physiology, including timing of irrigation, foliar analysis, rootstock selection, response to pruning and fruit production. He was also concerned with forestry and tree physiology, including water relations in semiarid surroundings, root structure and growth, and the action of the cambium. His work helped to bridge the gap between plant-physiology and plant-geography. Oppenheimer's books include Giddul Aẓei Hadar ("Citrus Growing," 1957). In 1935 he founded The Palestine Journal of Botany, which he edited until 1953.


I. Reichert, in: brci, section d Botany, 8d (April 1960), i–vi (includes biography, portrait, and list of publications); A. Halevy, in: Madda, 14 (1969), 193 (Heb.).

[Julian Louis Meltzer]