Dozens of academic prizes were awarded to outstanding Technion researchers in a festive ceremony held as part of the 2019 Board of Governors’ events.
“Today we award prizes for excellence in teaching, research and innovation and honor researchers who have received grants from the European Research Council (ERC).” said the host of ceremony Prof. Steven Frankel of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. “We are grateful to the people, the families, the foundations, and the organizations that fund the prizes. For us, it is an opportunity to cherish excellence and nurture excellent research to help tackle the challenges of modern life and to advance science and technology.”
“We are the tip of the iceberg of research,” said Associate Prof. Mirella Ben-Chen of the Faculty of Computer Science, speaking on behalf of the award winners. “Research is not the work of a single researcher but the result of close and long-term collaborations. I thank the generous donors who support research and the development of new ideas, as well as the other people without whom our research would not have been possible: Graduate students, who do most of the work in practice; laboratory managers and other technical personnel; and the people who keep our sanity and remind us that there is life outside the laboratory – spouses, family, and friends.”
This year was the first time that the Mauerberger Foundation Fund (MFF) Research Award for Transformative Technologies for Africa was awarded. The prize is intended to strengthen academic ties and the exchange of information between researchers in Israel and in Africa and to harness new technologies for the benefit of humanity. The award is open to researchers from the Technion and other universities in Israel.
Prof. Emeritus Uri Shamir of the Technion’s Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering headed the professional evaluation committee, which submitted its recommendations to the MFF’s management committee. He said that the committee received eight proposals, from which two research groups were selected: From the Technion – Prof. Yehuda Agnon, Associate Prof. Mark Talesnick and Dr. Guy Ramon. From the University of Ben Gurion in the Negev – Prof. Yoram Oren, Prof. Zeev Ronen, and Prof. Jack Gilron.
Jonathan Yach, a trustee of the fund, said that: “Technology and high-tech are wonderful things… our grandfather, Morris Mauerberger, founded the award to make technology available to people who do not normally enjoy it. As noted, this is the first year that the prize was awarded, and this year we focused on water. Water is a vital resource, and as the biologist, Sylvia Earl said: ‘There may be water without life, but there can be no life without water.’”
The Technion’s Vice President for External Relations and Resource Development Prof. Boaz Golany thanked Jonathan Yach, Stephen Seiden and Renie Carniol for being “the next generation of Friends of the Technion.”
The Cooper Award for Research in Excellence
Awarded to Prof. Shaul Markovitch of the Faculty of Computer Science for the development of a new methodology for automatic processing of natural languages.
The Diane Sherman Prize for Medical Innovations for a Better World
Awarded to Prof. Jackie Schiller of the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine for her contribution to understanding the dynamics of the basic computational units in the brain.
The Norman Seiden Prize for Academic Excellence
Awarded to Associate Prof. Guy Bartal of the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering for the development of nanoscale “Nano-Hedgehogs of Light” that pave the way for new applications in information processing, transmission, and storage. Steven, the son of Norman Seiden, explained that the prize was created in honor of his father’s 90th birthday and said that “unfortunately my father was unable to attend the ceremony this year, but it is important for us to note that the Technion has been, and still is, a central part of his life.”
The Henry Taub Prizes for Academic Excellence
Awarded to Prof. Efrat Lifshitz of the Schulich Faculty of Chemistry for her achievements in the development of nanoscale semiconductors and magnetic materials, including quantum wells and semiconductor nanoparticles; to Prof. Oded Béjà of the Faculty of Biology for the discovery of a new family of rhodopsin – light-sensing proteins; to Associate Prof. Mirela Ben-Chen of the Faculty of Computer Sciences for her achievements in algebraic representation of geometer information; to Assoc.Prof. Alex Leshansky of the Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering for his theoretical contribution to understanding the movement of artificial nanometer swimmers; to Associate Prof. Dan Mordehai of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering for his achievements in calculations relating to nanocrystals; and to Assoc.Prof. Meytal Landau of the Faculty of Biology for discovering the mechanism of attack of the violent bacteria “Staphylococcus aureus.”
The Uzi and Michal Halevy Innovative Applied Engineering Award
Awarded to Asst.Prof. Yoav Shechtman of the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering for his work on the subject – High Throughput Three-Dimensional Multicolor Localization.
The Uzi and Michal Halevy Innovative Applied Engineering Research Grants
Awarded to Asst.Prof. Amir Gat of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering for his work on Etafoils – Morphing airfoil skins and to Associate Prof. Gilad Yossifon for innovative technology for the analysis of sperm sampling and screening of live sperm cells.
The Hilda and Hershel Rich Technion Innovation Awards
Prof. Assaf Schuster and Mr. Ilya Kolchinsky of the Faculty of Computer Science, to Prof. Gershon Elber and to Fady Massarwi of the Faculty of Computer Science, to Asst.Prof. Shai Berlin of the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, to Prof. Hossam Haick and Mr. Mohamed Khatib of the Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering, and to Asst.Prof. Michal Rahat of the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine.
European Research Council Grants
Noted recipients: Assoc. Prof. Ronen Talmon of the Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Asst.Prof. Yuval Filmus of the Faculty of Computer Science, Asst.Prof. Yoav Shechtman, Prof. Shulamit Levenberg and Prof. Amit Meller of the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering and Assoc. Prof. Kinneret Keren and Assoc. Prof. Oren Cohen from the Faculty of Physics.