Prof. Jacobsen was born in 1927 in Hamburg, Germany, educated in England, and immigrated to Israel in 1948. After receiving a Ph.D. degree in Sociology (Wisconsin). He was appointed as a faculty member at the Technion in 1969. He officially retired in 1995.

Prof. Jacobsen's main focus of study was the basic problem of sociology as an empirical science, namely the lack of a practicable method to test and validate theory. The development of computer technology has opened up new possibilities for conducting simulation experiments with replications on large populations. He developed generic theories of a number of social processes. Transforming these theories into system dynamic models they were tested on a variety of time series, patterned deviance (14 data sets), charismatic leadership (16 data sets), and crescive legitimation and delegitimation (8 data sets). The theories were found to be empirically adequate to explain the phenomena. In addition he was an active investigator in the areas of theoretical analysis of social control, and in theory-oriented methodology of the process of secularization .