News, Obituaries

Physics professor passed away Wednesday

courtesy UM Physics

Professor Josef Ashkenazi, known to some as “Yossi,” passed away last Wednesday. Ashkenazi, who was born in Beit Hanan, Israel, in 1944, had been teaching at the University of Miami for the past 24 years.

Ashkenazi attended Hebrew University in Jerusalem, graduating with a Ph.D. in physics. In 1988, he came to teach at the University of Miami, where he became a tenured professor.

According to an obituary published in The Miami Herald, Ashkenazi had been publishing work in the field of superconductivity until recently.

Kenneth Voss, physics professor and chairman for UM’s Department of Physics, began teaching at the university around the same time as Ashkenazi. The two professors worked together, at one point co-teaching an introductory physics course.

“It was fun to teach with him because Yossi always took care of the details,” Voss said.

With his help, James Nearing, a UM professor who retired last May, will take over the class, according to Voss.

“Yossi was extremely organized and had lots of energy,” Voss said. “He was always done ahead of time. His energy in the department will be missed. It’s going to be hard. He was a positive and optimistic person.”

Voss said that it was quiet in the physics department the Thursday and Friday after he died.

Senior Liliana Paan was in Ashkenazi’s introductory physics course this semester. She remembers Ashkenazi’s cheerful demeanor.

“Even though I had professor Ashkenazi for only two months, you felt how caring he was for his students and the love he had for physics,” said Paan, a psychology major. “He made going to class enjoyable by incorporating jokes and demonstrations into his lectures. There wasn’t one class he did not smile and crack a joke.”

Senior Sara Gutekunst also took Ashkenazi’s introductory physics course this semester. She was hesitant about taking physics, but was surprised to see how Ashkenazi conducted his class.

“He made it fun. It wasn’t too difficult,” she said. “It was a great surprise. I really liked him as a teacher. He was pretty humorous and I enjoyed the class.”

Though Gutekunst believes she is sure they will replace him with a good teacher, she will miss his energy and the way he taught.

“I’m going to miss him,” Gutekunst said. “I was really stunned when they told us he had passed away.”

October 7, 2012

About Author

Stephanie Parra Editor-in-chief


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Here’s a positive sign for the University of Miami football program: receiver Lawrence Cager appears ...

Tidbits from UM spring football Day 4: • Three of what likely will be UM’s top four corners haven’t ...

You’ve probably seen them: the emotive tweets from University of Miami football coach Mark Richt and ...

And another one... The stars just keep committing. A few hours after Miami Southridge’s nationally h ...

Want an early look at the incoming shooting guard who has a chance to become Miami’s best basketball ...

More than 250 participants met at the UM Fieldhouse at the Watsco Center to learn more from industry ...

Redshirt freshman diver David Dinsmore won the NCAA national championship in the men’s 10-meter plat ...

UM junior Gina Panarese was surprised on campus Thursday by the Ellen DeGeneres show and asked to pa ...

A conversation with Belén Garijo and Felicia Marie Knaul. ...

Nova Southeastern University’s Jacqueline A. Travisano will be UM’s Executive Vice President for Bus ...

Highlights from the 2016-17 Miami men's basketball season ...

Miami fell to No. 34 University of Louisville, 4-1, Sunday at the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center. ...

Facing its 10th top-30 opponent in 13 matches this season, the No. 37 Miami women's tennis team ...

Junior lefthander Michael Mediavilla was his vintage self, Miami's offense came through again, ...

Miami redshirt freshman David Dinsmore won the NCAA national championship in the men's 10-meter ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.