Orange Alert

Skip to main content
Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

2018-11-29 A Moral Vision of Science

Posted on: Nov. 29, 2018

Physicist Joel L. Lebowitz G’55, G’56, H’12 believes science and morality are inextricably linked


Joel L. Lebowitz G’55, G’56, H’12 credits his longevity to luck and good genes. “I’ve always had a healthy constitution,” says the 88-year-old scientist and Holocaust survivor, who is the George William Hill Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Rutgers University.

Born and raised in Central Europe, Lebowitz narrowly escaped the Auschwitz gas chambers to settle in the United States, where he earned degrees from Brooklyn College and Syracuse University. Lebowitz spent the first two years of his professorial career at Stevens Institute of Technology, followed by 18 years at Yeshiva University. 

In addition to his scientific work, Lebowitz has taken up the cause of oppressed scientists around the world. Through his leadership of such organizations as the Committee of Concerned Scientists and the New York Academy of Sciences, he has put pressure on the former Soviet Union to respect human rights agreements.

Along the way, the New Jersey resident has published more than 600 research papers, and has a cornucopia of science awards, including the Boltzmann, Max Planck and Poincare prizes, as well as an extremely selective membership in the National Academy of Sciences. 

The College of Arts and Sciences recently caught up with Lebowitz to discuss his multifaceted life and career. Full interview at A&S News