Tag: Honours & Awards

The “Nobel of Mathematics”: TAU Prof. Noga Alon Wins the Prestigious Shaw Prize in Mathematical Sciences

The second Israeli in history to receive the prize.

Prof. Noga Alon of Tel Aviv University and Princeton University has won the 2002 Shaw Prize in Mathematical Sciences. Prof. Alon, one of the world’s leading researchers in mathematics and computer science, is the second Israeli in history to receive the prestigious prize.

Noga Alon, born in 1956, is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics and Computer Science at Tel Aviv University and Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University. Prof. Alon joined Tel Aviv University in 1985, where he served as head of the School of Mathematical Sciences and was entrusted with the Chair of Combinatorics and Computer Science at TAU’s Blavatnik School of Computer Science. He is a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Academia Europaea. In the past, he has won the Israel Prize, the EMET Prize, Gödel Prize and the Steele Prize.

The Shaw Prize was awarded to Prof. Alon for the entirety of his groundbreaking work, which has included laying the foundations for streaming algorithms used in Big Data analysis and the development of algebraic and probabilistic methods to deal with problems in graph theory and additive number theory. “[Noga Alon] introduced new methods and achieved fundamental results which entirely shaped the field,” the judges wrote.

Equivalent to the Nobel

The Shaw Prize was founded in 2002 by Hong Kong media tycoon Run Run Shaw, who decided to award it annually to “individuals, regardless of race, nationality, gender and religious belief, who have recently achieved significant breakthroughs in academic and scientific research or applications and whose work has resulted in a positive and profound impact on mankind,” in three categories – mathematics, astronomy, and life sciences and medicine. The prize in each category is $1.2 million.

“Because there is no Nobel Prize in mathematics, there are two prizes, the Abel Prize and the Shaw Prize, which see themselves as equivalent to the Nobel in this field,” explains Prof. Alon. “Obviously, as with any other award, winning depends on various factors, including the composition of the committee, and perhaps ultimately it’s also a matter of luck – because there are certainly quite a few researchers in the world who are deserving of this award. For me, this is a very pleasant surprise; the list of previous winners of the Shaw Prize is really very impressive.”

“Israel is a country that is very strong in the sciences in general, and in mathematics and computer science in particular,” says Prof. Alon. “The global standing of Israeli research in these fields far exceeds the relative size of the population. My own research focuses on combinatorics, which is the mathematics of finite structures, with uses and applications in computer science, additive number theory, combinatorial geometry and other related fields.”

“Prof. Noga Alon  has been one of the most influential and prolific scientists in the field for the past decades,” says Head of the School of Mathematical Sciences, Raymond & Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences,Yaron Ostrover. “His research is characterized by originality, an exceptional ability to solve difficult problems, often using an impressive variety of tools and methods. In addition to his outstanding scientific achievements, Prof. Alon has established a long line of outstanding students who have become leading researchers in mathematics and computer science in their own right, and hold positions at prestigious research universities in Israel and abroad.”

In 2020, the Shaw Prize was awarded to Prof. David Kashdan of the Hebrew University, and this year Prof. Alon shares the prize with another Israeli – Prof. Ehud Hrushovski of Oxford.

Featured image: Prof. Noga Alon (photo: Wikipedia)

BOG 2022: Kadar Family Award for Outstanding Research Presented to Four TAU Scholars

8th annual Kadar Award ceremony honors excellence in science and teaching.

In recognition of their trailblazing academic work, the 2022 Kadar Family Award for Outstanding Research was presented to four Tel Aviv University scholars: Prof. Michal Feldman (Exact Sciences), Prof. Leo Corry (Humanities), Prof. Jonathan Berant (Exact Sciences) and Dr. Roy Tzohar (Humanities).  

Now in its eighth year, the Kadar Family Award honors pioneering scientists and scholars who have reached the highest levels of excellence in both research and teaching. The Award is granted annually to four TAU researchers, two senior and two junior faculty members, from across the entire spectrum of faculties and disciplines at TAU.   

The Award Committee selects the winners based on a number of criteria including: groundbreaking research; teaching quality; research grants earned from competitive foundations; quality and quantity of scientific publications; and their status in the global scientific community.  

Prof. Dan Peer, TAU Vice President for Research and Development, conferred the awards to the recipients at a festive ceremony, which also included presentations of the researchers’ work, during TAU’s 2022 Board of Governors meeting. 

Professor Corry spoke on behalf of the recipients and noted that while scientific advancements in TAU’s hard science faculties are globally recognized, “One important aspect of this award is in the explicit acknowledgment that a great university, like ours, promotes not only one kind of achievement, but also excellence in the humanities and social sciences. 

“Precisely in an era of deep technological and scientific change…the study of the humanities is more relevant and necessary than ever before to help interpret and place new context on how these changes are affecting us as a society and individually,” he said.  

The Naomi Foundation established the Award in 2015 to honor the memory of Naomi Prawer Kadar PhD, a lifelong Yiddish specialist and the late wife of TAU benefactor Dr. Avraham Kadar, a TAU graduate, physician, educator and innovator. The three Kadar children, Einat Kadar Kricheli, Nadav Kadar, and Maya Kadar Kovalsky, are all TAU alumni and active board members of the Kadar Foundation along with their father. Avraham, Nadav and Maya are also members of TAU’s Board of Governors.  

Maya Kadar Kovalsky opened the ceremony and welcomed everyone via a recorded message.  She lauded the laureates: “Congratulations…on reaching this high level of distinction and thank you for your pathbreaking contributions in your respective fields.” 

TAU President Prof. Ariel Porat also addressed the crowd; “The Kadar Foundation does an excellent job in advancing academic research and excellence,” he said, noting other programs the Foundation supports such as MD-PhD scholarships and the Naomi Prawer Kadar International Yiddish Summer Program, housed in TAU’s Goldreich Family Institute for Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture at the Lester and Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities

 

The 2022 Kadar Family Award recipients: 

 

Prof. Michal Feldman – Professor of Computer Science at the Blavatnik School of Computer Science, Raymond and Beverly Faculty of Exact Sciences. She is one of the most visible and successful researchers of her generation working in the rapidly emerging field of algorithmic game theory, which is situated at the intersection of theoretical computer science and economics. She is also a trailblazer in the field, where women are significantly underrepresented.  

 

 

 

Prof. Leo Corry – Professor at the Cohn Institute for History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Lester and Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities, and former Dean of Humanities. Corry is a historian of mathematics. His research explores the historical development of some of the main threads of twentieth-century mathematics, such as the rise of modern algebra and the development of the idea of a mathematical structure. Since 2013, he has held the Bert and Barbara Cohn Chair for History and Philosophy of Exact Sciences. 

 

 

 

Prof. Jonathan Berant – Associate Professor at the Blavatnik School of Computer Science, Raymond and Beverly Faculty of Exact Sciences. His research examines Natural Language Processing (NLP), which stands at the crossroads between linguistics, computer science, and artificial intelligence.  

 

 

 

Dr. Roy Tzohar – Associate Professor at the Department of South and East Asian Studies, Lester and Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities. His research, publications, and teaching are driven primarily by an interest in the Buddhist philosophical understanding of the role and function of language. His first book, A Yogācāra Buddhist Theory of Metaphor, was published by Oxford University Press and won the Numata Prize for the best book in Buddhist Studies in 2018. 

 

Featured image: The 2022 Kadar Family Award recipients from left: Prof. Jonathan Berant, Dr. Roy Tzohar, Prof. Michal Feldman, and Prof. Leo Corry. (Photo: Israel Hadari)

Blavatnik Prizes for Computer Science Awarded to Doctoral Fellows

TAU hosts annual ceremony recognizing standout research in growing field.

The second annual Blavatnik Prizes for Outstanding Israeli Doctoral Students in Computer Science were awarded on June 8 to four recipients, in a ceremony at Tel Aviv University. 

With generous funding from the Blavatnik Family Foundation, the Prizes were established to highlight excellent research by Israeli PhD candidates in the field of computer science and emphasize the importance of doctoral studies in general.  

 

The 2022 recipients were:

  • Nave Frost of Tel Aviv University
  • Gal Yona of the Weizmann Institute of Science
  • Assaf Shocher of the Weizmann Institute of Science
  • Leshem Choshen of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

 

Honorable mention went to:

  • Hagai Rossman of the Weizmann Institute of Science
  • Elad Romanov the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Gilad Yehudai of the Weizmann Institute of Science
  • Lior Rotem of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

 

Among the ceremony attendees was British-American industrialist and philanthropist Sir Leonard Blavatnik (Len Blavatnik), for whom the Prizes are named. The Prize is among the latest programs backed by the longtime TAU benefactor and dedicated supporter of science, innovation and higher education in Israel.  

Forefront of the Computer Science Revolution 

“Israel is at the forefront of the ongoing computer science revolution that increasingly affects everyday lives around the world,” said Sir Leonard Blavatnik. “As such, it is vital to amplify the academic achievement of emerging trailblazers, who are poised to become future leaders and innovators in academia and industry.” 

Sir Leonard Blavatnik, a TAU Governor and Honorary Doctor, has a transformative legacy of giving at TAU, which began over a decade ago with backing for scholarships and the Blavatnik School of Computer Science. From there, his Foundation pledged sizeable gifts to establish the Blavatnik Initiative, a multi-year program in the fields of computing, cyber, drug development, film production, and faculty recruitment. Key programs benefited by the Initiative include the Blavatnik Center for Drug Discovery and Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center.  

The Prizes are conferred at TAU by the Blavatnik School of Computer Science at the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences and the School’s Blavatnik Computer Science Research Fund for high-impact areas that contribute to Israel’s economic prosperity. As computer science becomes increasingly central to life today, the Blavatnik School of Computer Science plays a cutting-edge role in TAU’s academic achievements and real-world contributions advancing innovation. Graduates fill leading positions in high-tech companies, Israel’s defense establishment and defense industries, and academic institutions worldwide. 

New Avenues for Excellence

TAU President Prof. Ariel Porat welcomed Sir Leonard Blavatnik to campus in front of a packed auditorium at the state-of-the-art Check Point Building: “Again and again, Sir Leonard Blavatnik has demonstrated his heartfelt commitment to nurturing the next generation of outstanding young scientists and creators – at TAU, in Israel and globally. We at Tel Aviv University are grateful for his support and friendship that is felt throughout the campus, and that is opening new avenues for excellence in crucial fields.” 

Prof. Sivan Toledo, Head of the Blavatnik School of Computer Science at Tel Aviv University, who moderated the event said: “Israeli PhD fellows in computer science contribute immensely to research and teaching that move the field forward. Sir Leonard Blavatnik and his considerable contributions play an immeasurable role in propelling them to new frontiers. The Blavatnik Prizes celebrate the achievements of the best of these PhD students, and the Blavatnik School of Computer Science is honored to award these prizes for the second time.” 

A jury of computer science experts from Israeli universities including TAU, the Weizmann Institute of Science, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem select winners from a pool of doctoral students and recent PhD recipients from all Israeli universities.   

Also on June 8, the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in Israel were awarded in a separate evening ceremony held at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation. The Awards recognize the country’s most promising faculty-rank (academic staff) researchers in life sciences, physical sciences & engineering, and chemistry. The Blavatnik Family Foundation funds the Awards, which are co-administered by the New York Academy of Sciences and The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. To date, two outstanding TAU scientists, Prof. Oded Rechavi of the School of Neurobiology, Biochemistry and Biophysics, and Prof. Yossi Yovel of the School of Zoology, have been Blavatnik Award laureates.  

Prof. Ehud Gazit – First Israeli to Receive Prestigious International Recognition in Chemistry

Selected as International Solvay Chair in Chemistry for 2023.

Prof. Ehud Gazit from The Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research at The George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences and The Department of Materials Science and Engineering at The Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering, was selected as the International Solvay Chair in Chemistry for 2023. Prof. Gazit, who also heads TAU’s Blavatnik Center for Drug Discovery, is the first Israeli to receive this annually awarded honor and the first scientist to be appointed to the position outside of the United States and Europe. 

 Joining 15 Other World Top Scientists

The Solvay International Institute was founded in Belgium about a century ago and is designed to develop and support creative and groundbreaking research in physics, chemistry and related fields, in order to increase and deepen the understanding of natural phenomena. The Institute organizes annual conferences on physics and chemistry, as well as international workshops for the training of doctoral students and selected topics. 

As part of Gazit’s new appointment, he will spend a month or two in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, during which he will give lectures on his field of research. The prestigious nomination has previously been awarded to 15 of the world’s top scientists, including three Nobel laureates in chemistry, the Wolf Prize winner and laureates of other prestigious awards, all from leading institutions in the US and Europe, who are now joined by Gazit. 

Gazit is a biophysicist, biochemist and nanotechnologist. His main area of expertise is “Solid State Biology”, an innovative field of study that combines disciplines from physics, chemistry, synthetic and structural biology and materials engineering. He is a world-renowned expert in nanotechnology and biological chemistry, a highly cited researcher who has published more than 350 scientific articles and inventor of more than 100 patents.

Previously, he served as Vice President for Research and Development of the University, as the Chairman of Ramot, Tel Aviv University’s Tech Transfer Company, and as the Chief Scientist of Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology. 

Over the years, Gazit has won a number of prestigious awards and prizes in Israel and around the world, including The Kadar Family Award for Outstanding Research, the Landau Prize in Science and Arts and the Rapaport Prize for Excellence in Biomedical Research. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in the UK, a Foreign Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences in India and a Member of the European Organization for Molecular Biology.  

Gazit stated: “I thank the Solvay Institute for selecting me, a great honor and excitement for me. It is a great privilege for me to join such a prestigious and impressive list of leading researchers. Today I am reminded of the former President of Israel, Prof. Ephraim Katzir, one of Israel’s greatest scientists, and of whom I am one of his academic ‘great grandchildren’ and who organized the Solvay Institute’s Chemistry Conference about 40 years ago. Apart from the personal honor, I am happy and proud to represent Tel Aviv University and the State of Israel in this appointment.”

The New Dan David Prize Announces Inaugural Cohort of Winners

Nine outstanding scholars and practitioners of history to receive $300,000 each in recognition of breakthrough achievements in the study of the past.

The Dan David Prize, the world’s largest history prize, has announced its first cohort of winners, which includes a historian who investigates the environmental impact of big business, a researcher who uncovers Jewish hiding places during the Holocaust and the founder of a mobile museum of African heritage. The Prize recognizes early and mid-career scholars and practitioners who illuminate the human past in bold and creative ways, and awards nine winners $300,000 each to help further their work. 

The 2022 winners cover a wide range of historical disciplines – from bioarchaeology to medieval studies to modern U.S. history. They are unlocking the secrets held by human remains and medieval manuscripts, uncovering forgotten legal cases from the American South and revealing echoes of Ethiopian global power. They are experimenting with new ways of imagining museums, rewriting the story of the world’s most popular soft-drink and tracing the little-known history of African-American philanthropy. 

The 2022 winners are listed below:

                     ​      Mirjam Brusius is a cultural historian who studies visual and material culture in global and colonial contexts. She investigates how objects made their way into the major museums and collections, and what happened to them there. Through the “100 Histories in 100 Worlds in 1 Object” project she uncovers what meanings museum objects hold for the people in the places where they were initially taken. Brusius is currently a Research Fellow in Global and Colonial History at the German Historical Institute in London, where she is completing a book on the movement of ancient artifacts from the Middle East into Western museums. 
 Bart Elmore is an environmental historian who uses everyday products – from sodas to seeds – to demonstrate how large multinational firms have reshaped global ecosystems. In addition to uncovering the environmental impacts of capitalism, he invites us to draw on the past to find strategies for developing an ecologically healthier economy for the future. Elmore is an Associate Professor of Environmental History at Ohio State University and the author of Citizen Coke: The Making of Coca-Cola Capitalism and Seed Money: Monsanto’s Past and Our Food Future.   

Tyrone Freeman is a historian of philanthropy who researches African-American charitable giving and activism. His work invites us to rethink traditional views of philanthropy as an arena reserved for wealthy elites, and to reconsider what philanthropy is and who can engage in it, as well as how African-American communities are understood and represented. Freeman is an Associate Professor of Philanthropic Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and author of Madam C.J. Walker’s Gospel of Giving: Black Women’s Philanthropy during Jim Crow.

Verena Krebs is a cultural historian who draws on material culture and art, alongside written sources, to uncover the complex relationship between Ethiopia and Western Christendom. Her work overturns traditional narratives of European-African relations, and paints a vivid picture of medieval Ethiopia at the height of its power. Krebs is a W1 professor of “Medieval Cultural Realms and their Entanglements” at Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany and is the author of Medieval Ethiopian Kingship, Craft, and Diplomacy.
Efthymia Nikita is an osteoarchaeologist who uses a wide range of innovative methods to unlock what human skeletal remains reveal about the health, diets and mobility of ancient peoples. Her work reanimates the everyday lives of those – such as slaves or women – excluded from written sources and reveals the long history of migration in the Mediterranean world. Nikita is an Assistant Professor in Bioarchaeology at the Science and Technology in Archaeology and Culture Research Center (STARC) at the Cyprus Institute and is the author of a textbook on osteoarchaeology.

 Nana Oforiatta Ayim is a curator, writer, filmmaker and public historian whose work recenters African narratives, institutions and cultural expressions in telling the past. She established the pan-African Cultural Encyclopedia, an open-source archive of African arts, and has developed a Mobile Museum that draws on local traditions of knowledge and display as it travels across Ghana. Oforiatta Ayim is the director of the ANO Institute of Arts and Knowledge in Accra, Ghana, and author of The God Child.

Kristina Richardson is a social and cultural historian of the medieval Islamic world. Working with understudied manuscripts, she focuses attention on non-elites and marginalized groups, from Roma printers to free and unfree African and Asian laborers. Richardson is an Associate Professor of history at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center and the author of Difference and Disability in the Medieval Islamic World , Roma in the Medieval Islamic World: Literacy, Culture, and Migration.
Natalia Romik is a public historian, architect and curator whose work focuses on Jewish memory and commemoration of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe, especially Poland and Ukraine. She created the Nomadic Shtetl Archive Project, which engages local communities in remembering Jewish history. Her work draws attention to often-overlooked sites of Jewish and Holocaust history, with a focus on uncovering and preserving Jewish wartime hiding places. Romik is a postdoctoral fellow at the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah in Paris.
Kimberly Welch uses endangered local legal archives from the antebellum American South to explore lawsuits brought by free and enslaved Black people. Her work reveals a new picture of the agency of African-Americans in the Antebellum era and recounts their active role in society and the economy. Welch is an Associate Professor of History at Vanderbilt University and author of Black Litigants in the Antebellum American South. She is working on a book that examines free Black moneylenders and their involvement in the credit economy of the early modern Atlantic world.

Moving History Forward

“These nine winners represent the innovation and energy that move the historical disciplines forward. Their work is at once a testament to the power of research and expertise, and to the ways knowledge of the past can enrich our understanding of the present,” said Prof. Katherine E. Fleming, Provost of New York University and member of the Dan David Prize board.

The recently redesigned prize attracted hundreds of nominations from around the world and the nine winners were chosen following a rigorous selection process by a committee of eminent scholars in a wide range of historical fields.

The Prize, endowed by the Dan David Foundation and headquartered at Tel Aviv University, was established in 2001 by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Dan David. Initially dedicated to recognizing achievements in rotating disciplines of the sciences and the humanities, the Prize was redesigned in 2021 ahead of its 20th anniversary.

“We live in a world in which the humanities, and particularly history, are devalued and attract less investment, even as it remains clear that only by deepening our knowledge of the past we can gain a better understanding of the present,” said Ariel David, board member of Prize and son of the founder. “For this reason we have chosen to focus exclusively on the historical disciplines and support emerging scholars and practitioners, within and beyond the academy, at a stage in their career when the Prize can make a bigger impact.” 

“If you are a person who believes history can make a difference in the world, this prize is an affirmation of that,” said Bart Elmore, environmental historian and recipient of one of this year’s prizes.

The nine winners will be honored at the 2022 Dan David Prize Award Ceremony in Tel Aviv in May.

Learn more about Dan David, the Prize and the 2022 winners: www.dandavidprize.org.

Prof. Oded Lipschits Awarded the 2022 EMET Prize in Archaeology

The annual prize is considered the “Israeli Nobel Prize”.

Prof. Oded Lipschits, head of The Sonia & Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology at The Lester and Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities at Tel Aviv University was announced as a recipient of the 2022 EMET Prize (for art, science and culture). He will be awarded the prize in June this year, in the presence of the Prime Minister of Israel.

The Researcher of the Great Empires

Prof. Lipschits was born in Jerusalem, a city which is very central to his research pursuits. He has served for more than a decade as Head of the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University, is the Austria Chair of the Archeology of the Land of Israel in the Biblical Period and Founder and Director of Ancient Israel Studies for MA and doctoral students.

He has been directing the excavation delegation at Tel Azka since 2010, and since 2018 he has also been heading the excavations at the temple which was discovered at Tel Motza and which dates back to the biblical period.

Prof. Lipschits’ works focus on the “Age of Empires” – the period of the rule of Assyria, Egypt, Babylon and Persia – and its far-reaching effects on the southern Levant in general, and Judea in particular. One of the great contributions of Prof. Lipschits was the recognition that contrary to the accepted chronological conception, the archaeology and history of the Levant in most of the first millennium BCE were shaped by the presence and rule of the great empires.

Through a series of books and articles he has illuminated how the destruction of Jerusalem and the First Temple did not lead to a period of complete exile of the land (“the myth of the empty land”), and that the period of “Return to Zion” is also largely a reflection of “the myth of mass return”.

“Striving for Excellence in the Archaeological and Historical Research of the Land of Israel”

In addition to his many publications, which became important cornerstones for the study of this period, another “building block” laid by Prof. Lipschits is an innovative study of Judean traditions within administration and economy, and especially when it concerns imprints on the handles of jars, a practice which was introduced in the late eighth century and continued into the middle of the second century BCE, during the entire period of the rule of the empires in Judea. These studies demonstrate the continuity of the administration and economy in Judea during the days of the First and Second Temples, before and after the destruction of Jerusalem, during the 600 years between the reign of Ahaz and Hezekiah until the establishment of the Hasmonean dynasty.

“This is a great honor for me personally, and of course for all of us in the Department and Institute of Archaeology, at the Faculty of Humanities and Tel Aviv University, my academic home since the beginning of my studies,” said Prof. Oded Lipschits.

“This is an important and significant award for striving for excellence in the archaeological and historical research of the Land of Israel, and for many years of hard work and fruitful cooperation with friends and colleagues here at TAU and at other universities and Israel and around the world. I would like to thank the award committee for choosing me, and of course my friends and colleagues, my wife Yael and our four children, for the love and support throughout the years that I’ve been engaged in excavations, research and writing.”

Coexistence – Israel’s Inevitable Faith

The Arditi Prizes for coexistence were awarded to students for their original plays on Jewish-Arab relations.

Tel Aviv University presented the Arditi Foundation Awards to outstanding students in the field of art in Jewish-Arab relations. Students from various disciplines at six Israeli universities – Tel Aviv University, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Bar-Ilan University, University of Haifa, and The Open University of Israel – took part in the competition to write short original plays on Jewish-Arab relations in Israel, with the shared theme of “smells, sounds and tastes.”

The three winning plays were selected by a panel of judges from TAU’s Department of Theater Arts, The Department of Literature, and The Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies. The event was hosted by The S. Daniel Abraham Center for International and Regional Studies, sponsored by the Arditi Foundation, and in collaboration with the Department of Theater Arts in The David and Yolanda Katz Faculty of the Arts.

First Place – Emulsion

The prize for first place was awarded to Emulsion, a play by Nir Cohen Rothschild and directed by Riki Assor. The play is about Wajdi, the pantry chef in a successful restaurant. On a particularly difficult shift, when new apprentice Uri is shadowing Wajdi, another cook is running late, pressure’s high – as are the kitchen manager’s high expectations – Wajdi and Uri are experiencing communication issues that are preventing the kitchen from running efficiently. The play shows how communication problems arise and how they can be dealt with.

Emulsion is exactly what we need – not only here in Israel but throughout the world,” said Hanna Birach, the student who played the role of Wajdi.

“The message of the play is that it is mixing, or unmediated contact that creates a delicious dish. We mustn’t judge those who have a different faith than us, and we are not the sole bearers of the truth. Only when we learn to listen will we achieve true coexistence.”

 

From Nir Cohen Rothschild’s winning play – Emulsion (Photo: Chen Galili)

Second Place – The Country’s Chef

Second place, went to The Country’s Chef, a play by Doron Rechlis and directed by Yochai Hacker. The play follows an Arab and a Jewish contestant competing against each other in the grand finale of the popular reality cooking show.

 

From Doron Rechlis’ play The Country’s Chef (Photo: Chen Galili)

Third Place – Being Only You for the Rest of Your Life

The play Being Only You for the Rest of Your Life, written by Sigi Golan and directed by Mor Halevi, won third place. The play is about a young woman who decides to meet with a man from a dating app. He is not at all what she expected, but they learn that there is much more to the other person than what meets the eye.

 

From Sigi Golan’s play Being Only You for the Rest of Your Life (Photo: Chen Galili)

No Choice But to Live Together

Prof. Raanan Rein, head of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for International and Regional Studies, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic which affected everyone, regardless of national or ethnic identity, in combination with the sequence of violent events between Arabs and Jews that took place in May 2021 following the military Operation Guardian of the Walls, highlighted the need to find ways to live together in this country.”

“Tel Aviv University, as a leading research institution, has a cultural and social commitment. In a time of public discourse characterized by a degree of xenophobia and racism, there is a lot of value in a competition that expresses the pluralistic nature of the University and of Israeli society and the importance we place on the need to know ‘the other.’”

The founder and head of the Arditi Foundation, Mr. Metin Arditi, is a Jewish Swiss writer and philanthropist. He congratulated the participants, saying, “In Israel, Jews and Arabs have no choice but to live together.”

“Coexistence between Jews and Arabs is the inevitable fate of the State of Israel,” he concluded.

Features image: The winning playwrights (left to right): Nir Cohen Rothschild (1st place), Sigi Golan (3rd place), Doron Rechlis (2nd place) (Photo: Chen Galili)

Prof. Zvi Galil, Former President of Tel Aviv University, is Ranked 7th Among the World’s Most Influential Computer Scientists

Remarkable achievement for Israeli researcher.

The prestigious Academic Influence ranking has placed Prof. Zvi Galil as 7th among the world’s most influential computer scientists for the decade of 2010-2020. Prof. Galil is an alumnus, former faculty member and department chair, and seventh president of Tel Aviv University. Academic Influence is an American AI-based platform that ranks academic institutions and lecturers according to their impact. Prof. Galil was ranked in the top 10 in his field, in part due to his contribution to making the knowledge of computer science accessible to wide audiences, and specifically for the online MSc in Computer Science that he pioneered in 2014 at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). The launch of the online program significantly reduced the cost of obtaining an advanced degree and made it available to populations unserved by institutions of higher learning. The program was widely acclaimed, and former US President Barack Obama commended it enthusiastically. Prof. Galil is an acclaimed computer scientist who has published more than 200 papers in leading journals, and one of the most highly cited researchers in his field. Among his leaderships roles he is the former dean of Georgia Tech’s College of Computing and former Morris and Alma A. Schapiro Dean of Engineering at Columbia University. Prof. Zvi Galil: “It was a great privilege to initiate and lead an online master’s program in computer science which offers high academic quality at low cost, thereby enabling large numbers of students – 16,000 to date – to realize their aspirations and improve their lives.”

2020 Kadar Ceremony Celebrates Pioneering Spirit and Hard Work

In its sixth year, the Kadar Family Award continues to nurture research and excellence in teaching at TAU.

Four outstanding junior and senior TAU faculty members on campus were presented with the 2020 Kadar Family Award for Outstanding Research at a special online event as part of the 2020 Board of Governors meeting. The winners, Prof. Tal Ellenbogen (Engineering), Prof. Ilit Ferber (Humanities), Prof. Ishay Rosen-Zvi (Humanities) and Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro (Medicine), were selected from multiple candidates who went through a rigorous review process.

Nadav Kadar, TAU alumnus, recently elected member of the TAU Board of Governors and co-founder of the Naomi Foundation, delivered remarks at the virtual event. Also present were Prof. Yoav Henis, outgoing VP for Research and Development and Chairman of the award committee; TAU President Prof. Ariel Porat; and outgoing TAU Rector Prof. Yaron Oz.

“My family joins me in congratulating the 2020 recipients of the award. Thank you for your magnificent contributions in your respective fields,” said Nadav Kadar on behalf of the Kadar family during the ceremony. “Our award honors outstanding research and scholarship in the sciences and the humanities and celebrates the pioneering spirit and hard work necessary to change the world. My mother, Naomi Prawer Kadar, taught Yiddish at schools and institutions of higher learning around the world including the International Yiddish Summer Program at TAU. We are proud to support Tel Aviv University as a hub of innovation.”

Prof. Henis, chair of the event, gave special thanks to the Kadar family for supporting the award for the sixth year in a row. “We truly hope that this important tradition will continue.”

“The Kadar Award has become the most prestigious research award at TAU,” said President Porat at the ceremony. “In order to become prestigious, an award must meet two conditions: candidates must be high quality, and the selection committee members must be distinguished scholars who are able to make judgments outside their field. The committee has done a wonderful job year after year.”

The Kadar Family Award is funded by the Naomi Foundation, which honors the memory of Naomi Prawer Kadar PhD, a lifelong educator and the late wife of physician, educator and innovator Dr. Avraham Kadar, a TAU graduate and benefactor. Naomi and Avraham Kadar’s three children, Nadav Kadar, Einat Kadar Kricheli, and Maya Kadar Kovalsky, are alumni of TAU and active board members of the Foundation alongside their father.

The 2020 Kadar Family Award laureates:

Prof. Tal Ellenbogen is the Head of the Laboratory for Nanoscale Electro-Optics at the School of Electrical Engineering within the Fleischman Faculty of Engineering. He studies light-matter interactions in the atmosphere to develop and improve optical technologies. Ellenbogen strives to influence industry and humanity by improving technologies that are used everywhere; mobile phones, camera lenses, computer screens, car scanners, and more.

 

 

Prof. Ilit Ferber is a member of the School of Philosophy, Linguistics and Science Studies at the Entin Faculty of Humanities. Her research examines the relationship between human communication and painful emotions such as melancholy, loss and anxiety. These emotions, generally perceived as negative, can cause language communication to collapse, making it difficult to express pain. Ferber believes, however, that painful emotions can open up a new world of communicating these feelings without words.

 

 

Prof. Ishay Rosen-Zvi belongs to the Rosenberg School of Jewish Studies and Archaeology at the Entin Faculty of Humanities.  He specializes in Talmudic literature and culture and has researched and written on the Midrash and Mishnah, as well as on issues of self-formation and collective identity in Second-Temple Judaism and rabbinic literature. He is a recipient of the Alon Fellowship and serves as a mentor for numerous master’s and PhD students.

 

 

Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro is the Chair of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine. Her research focuses on the interactions between cancer calls and their microenvironments, including tumor progression and angiogenesis. For the past five years, she has worked on using the immune system to attack cancer cells using nanotechnology. In 2020, her team pivoted their work to find a COVID-19 nano-vaccine, and plan to translate research findings into clinical trials soon. She has published close to 100 scientific articles and registered numerous patents.

 

 

Two TAU Professors Win 2020 Nature Mentoring Award

Prof. Neta Erez and Prof. Tal Pupko, nominated by students, are building the future generation of scientists.

Two scientists from Tel Aviv University – Professor Neta Erez, head of the Department of Pathology at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine, and Professor Tal Pupko, head of the Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research at the Life Sciences Faculty, have won the 2020 Nature Research Awards for Mentoring in Science, given by the Springer Nature Group, which is the home of the leading journal Nature.

The prestigious award (which is given in a different country each year), was given in Israel this year, with Tel Aviv University sweeping all the honors for mid-career mentoring. The award is given to scientists who excel in mentoring research students in their laboratories, thus contributing to the development of the future of science — in Israel in particular and in the world in general. Both winners will share the $10,000 prize. They said that the prize was especially moving for them because the ones who had nominated them for it were the very ones whom they mentored — the students and graduates of their laboratories.

Professor Erez, who established a laboratory ten years ago for researching metastasis of breast cancer and melanoma, and who has mentored 16 doctoral candidates and five master’s degree students so far, said, “For me, mentoring is a central part of my identity as a scientist. When a doctoral candidate comes to me, I tell them: ‘You are starting off as my student, and I want you to end up as my peer.’ For that reason, my role as a mentor is not only to accompany the research. My role is to teach my students to think and do research like scientists, and to find their own way in science and in life in general.  I am very proud of their accomplishments. Quite a few graduates of the laboratory have been awarded prizes and grants. As of now, four of the students have completed their medical studies and are planning to combine medicine and research. One is a research fellow and a lab manager in an academic setting, another is doing post-doctoral work in the United States, and four others are working as scientists in the biotech industry. In addition, I serve as a mentor for two young researchers who recently established their own laboratories.” 

Professor Pupko, who established a laboratory 17 years ago that deals with molecular evolution and bioinformatics, has mentored 18 doctoral candidates so far. “The members of the academic staff are evaluated based on a variety of parameters: research grants, publications and teaching. Another index, which I feel does not receive enough emphasis, is the success of a staff member’s laboratory graduates — the young scientists whom he taught, mentored, and ‘raised.'” I invest a great deal of thought and effort in my students in order to support, encourage, advise, and nurture them. All 12 doctoral candidates who completed their degree in my laboratory have gone on to do post-doctoral work.  Four of them are staff members in academia (including three at Tel Aviv University) — a particularly high number for an academic research laboratory. Other graduates of my laboratory hold high-ranking positions in the hi-tech and bio-tech industries. As I see it, a student who excels is better than another three scientific papers. My aim is to raise up generations of researchers in Israel. I see that as my mission.”

The prize committee, which included Professor Karen Avraham of the Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, announced that it had chosen the two recipients because “it was impressed with their contagious enthusiasm of former students,” who had nominated them for the award. The committee also praised Professor Pupko for his inclusive approach and encouragement of a healthy work-life balance alongside professional excellence, and Professor Erez for her work to advance women in science and for projects that bring her influence as a mentor to wider circles, including ones outside her laboratory.

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