Pinhas Naor

Operation Research and System Analysis




Pinhas (Paul) Naor was born in Vienna, Austria, and immigrated to Palestine (Israel) in 1939 with the Youth Aliyah movement. He was a member of the Haganah and served in the Israel Defence Forces. During his studies at the Technion, he excelled in Mathematics and Physics, and was later awarded a Fellowship by the British Council to study for a Ph.D. in Metallurgy at the University of Birmingham in England. After the completion of his studies, he won a post-doctoral fellowship to study Statistics at the University of Chicago. It was there that he began to develop an interest in Applied Mathematics, which later on led him to specialize in Operations Research. He was married to Nehama, and had two sons, Seffi and Moni.

In 1953, he joined the Department of Metallurgy at the Technion, and shortly thereafter founded, together with several colleagues, the Department of Industrial Engineering, which eventually evolved into the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management. In 1960 he became the head of the department, and in 1964 he was promoted to full professor. During the period of 1966-1969 he served as Senior Vice President of the Technion.

Professor Naor had a strong impact on the structure and the content of the curriculum in the Industrial Engineering and Management Faculty. He pushed for an interdisciplinary curriculum and introduced engineering, economics, and social sciences courses to it. These were novel ideas at the time, inspiring the recruitment of many new faculty members from a broad range of disciplines, placing the department as one of the outstanding ones in the field. His ideas about the field influenced all other Industrial Engineering academic departments in Israel as well.

Professor Naor spent his sabbatical leaves at the University of North Carolina (1962-1964), at Stanford University (1969), and at the City University of New York (1969 –1970). He played an active role in numerous public and professional organizations, such as the Council of Higher Education, the Productivity Institute, and the Broadcasting Authority of Israel. He founded the Operations Research Society of Israel, and became its first President. He also consulted for various organizations in the country. In 1970 he was asked by the then Minister of Education, Yigal Allon, to establish a committee for planning and budgeting for the Council of Higher Education (which later evolved into VATAT), and serve as its head. He did not live to play this role. In December 1970, while on route to Europe to organize the International Conference of Operations Research, he was killed in an airplane crash.

Professor Naor was a magnet and mentor to many students in the fields of Operations Research and Industrial Engineering, both undergraduate and graduate. Many of them currently hold key academic and industrial positions, both in Israel and abroad. His studies in queuing theory are world-renowned and often cited. He did seminal work on optimal control of queuing systems that opened up a whole new interdisciplinary research field, to be followed since by a long line of papers from diverse fields, such as Economics, Operations Research, Applied Probability, Computer Systems, and Communication.

His generous personality, comprehensive education and scholarship, humor and sociable behavior, were highly valued by faculty and Technion staff, and by all who had the good fortune to know him. His untimely death at the prime of his career is much lamented by all of us.

The Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management has established an annual prize in his honor for outstanding students in Operations Research, and the Pinhas Naor Memorial Lecture is given in his honor at the annual conference of the Operations Research Society of Israel.

We miss his wise counsel, his integrative abilities and wide horizons! 


Friends and Supporters

 Prof. Pinchas Naor was one of the founders of the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management. He joined the faculty of the Technion in 1953, and served as president of the Operations Research Society of Israel, as a member of the Council for Higher Education, and as a senior vice president of the Technion. He was one of the main forces behind the development of the field of operations research in Israel. Prof. Naor was killed in an aviation accident in 1970, at the age of 47.

The Pinchas Naor Prize consists of a scholarship grant given to outstanding students in the field of operations research.


 פרופ' פנחס נאור ז"ל היה מבין מייסדי הפקולטה להנדסת תעשייה וניהול בטכניון. פרופ' נאור הצטרף לסגל הטכניון בשנת 1953 וכיהן כנשיא האגודה הישראלית לחקר ביצועים, חבר המועצה להשכלה גבוהה ומשנה בכיר לנשיא הטכניון. הוא היה אחד מהתורמים העיקריים לפיתוח תחום חקר הביצועים בארץ. בסוף שנת 1970 נהרג פרופ' נאור בתאונת מטוס, בן 47 במותו.

הפרס על שם פנחס נאור ז"ל מעניק מלגות לסטודנטים מצטיינים בתחום חקר הביצועים.