BEN-ABRAHAM, ZVI (1941– ), geologist. Born in Jerusalem, he received his B.Sc. in geology in 1968 from the Hebrew University and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1973. Upon his return to Israel in 1973, after six months as a postdoctoral fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, he began working at the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute in Haifa and later at the Weizmann Institute of Science in the Department of Applied Mathematics. In 1982, after a two-year sabbatical at Stanford University, Ben-Avraham joined the Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences at Tel Aviv University, holding the Nebenzahl and Grossberg Chair in Geodynamics, and heading the Minerva Dead Sea Research Center. That same year, he was appointed professor of geophysics at Stanford University. In 1989 Ben-Avraham accepted an offer to hold the Max Sonnenberg Marine Geosciences Chair at the University of Cape Town. He conducted detailed measurements on the sea floor, magnetic field, gravity field, sub-bottom, and heat flow of the Sea of Galilee, Dead Sea, and the Gulf of Eilat using different geophysical methods. He made numerous geophysical studies of the Levant continental margin and the Levant basin, eastern Mediterranean. He also researched the evolution of the Pacific oceanic margins and ways in which continents grow and compared the San Andreas and Dead Sea faults, which are tectonically similar. As a result, a number of advances were made in understanding the Dead Sea fault valley. Ben-Avraham gained extensive academic experience at various universities in the U.S. and Europe and conducted scientific studies of numerous seas. He is a fellow or member of numerous scientific societies and recipient of the Israel Prize (2003) and the L. Meitner-A.V. Humboldt Research Award (2004). (Bracha Rager (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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