BERGMANN, ERNST DAVID


BERGMANN, ERNST DAVID
BERGMANN, ERNST DAVID (1903–1975), Israeli organic chemist. Bergmann was born in Karlsruhe, Germany, the son of judah bergmann . He obtained his doctorate at the University of Berlin and joined the staff of the Chemical Institute of the university. In 1933 he moved to London and began his long and close association with Chaim Weizmann. After working in the Featherstone Laboratories in London, he was made responsible for the planning of the Daniel Sieff Research Institute in Reḥovot, Palestine, and in 1934 went there to become its scientific director. In 1939 Bergmann went to France to work in the Ministry of Armaments and in 1940 to London, to work in the Grosvenor Laboratories of the Ministry of Supply. Weizmann and Bergmann developed the "catarole process" for making aromatic hydrocarbons from petroleum, and also worked on fermentation and a process for making isoprene. Bergmann returned in 1946 to the Daniel Sieff Institute and, when this was incorporated in the Weizmann Institute in 1949, was named scientific director. In 1948 he became scientific director of the science department of the Israel Ministry of Defense, a position he held for nearly 20 years. He resigned his position at the Weizmann Institute in 1951 and the following year was appointed professor of organic chemistry at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. From 1953 to 1966 he was chairman of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission. He was a member of Israel's National Council for Research and Development and the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. In 1968, he was awarded the Israel Prize for Natural Sciences. His output of scientific work covered a wide range of topics, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, carcinogenic agents, the addition of sodium to double bonds, dipole moments, molecular rearrangements, photochemistry, and insecticides. Bergmann and W. Schlenk wrote Ausfuehrliches Lehrbuch der organischen Chemie (2 vols., 1932–38; Bergmann's name was deleted from the title page). In 1948 he published The Chemistry of Acetylene Compounds and Isomerisation of Organic Compounds. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Israel Journal of Chemistry, 1 (1963), 323–50 (includes list of publications until 1962); D. Lazar, Rashim be-Yisrael, 2 (1955), 211–5. (Samuel Aaron Miller)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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