Prof. Yacov Kantor

Emeritus in School of Physics and Astronomy
ביה"ס לפיזיקה ואסטרונומיה אמריטוס
Prof. Yacov Kantor
Phone: 03-6409121
Office: Shenkar Physics, 422


Prof. Yacov Kantor works on several topics of statistical mechanics of random and entropy-dominated systems. The research includes both equilibrium properties and dynamics. Study of the properties of polymers plays a central role in his research.


Research achievements include: Development of a theory that views translocation of polymers through a hole in a membrane as an anomalous diffusion process. Since such processes play an important role both in biophysical systems and in the experimental manipulation of polymers, this approach became a standard language with which such processes are described. Single molecule manipulation by holding it attached to a surface, or to an atomic force microscope tip is a standard technique for more than a decade. Prof. Kantor found that forces between scale-free surfaces (such as infinite planes, cones, pyramids, etc.) mediated by flexible polymers, are universal, and can be solely described by  means of critical exponents and without any reference to microscopic details of the interactions. (This is an unusual case of exponents, typically describing phase transitions, directly determining the numerical outcome of a mechanic measurement.)


Future directions include: nonequilibrium dynamics of knots and loops in polymers, study of competing adhesion of a polymer to objects of several dimensionalities, as well as behavior of polymers far from equilibrium.


  • B.Sc. in Physics, Tel Aviv University, 1974

  • M.Sc. in Physics, Tel Aviv University, 1980

  • Ph.D. in Physics, Tel Aviv University, 1984

Academic Appointments

  • Post-doc at Exxon Corp. Res. Laboratories, 1983-1985

  • Post-doctoral Fellow, Harvard University, 1985-1987

  • Senior Lecturer, Tel Aviv University, 1987-1989

  • Associate Professor, Tel Aviv University, 1989-1995

  • Visiting Scientist, Harvard and MIT, 1993-1994

  • Full Professor, Tel Aviv University, 1995-Present

  • Incumbent  of J. & R. Meyerhoff Chair of Theoretical Solid State Physics and Thermodynamics, 2010-Present

Awards and Prizes

  • Alon Fellowship for Young Scientists , 1987-1990

  • Bat-Sheva de Rothschild Fellow, 1988-1990

  • Ernest Bergmann Memorial Award, 1988-1991 

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