Honorary Doctorate Awardees

The Technion Awarded an Honorary Doctorate to Author David Grossman and Nobel Laureate Prof. Ada Yonath. The Award Ceremony Took Place During the Technion's Annual Board of Governors Meeting

The Technion awarded Israeli author David Grossman an honorary doctorate “in recognition of the extensive impact of his literary works in Israel and around the world and the talent through which he described the diversity and complexity of Israeli society; in gratitude for his deep love of the Hebrew language and his commitment to truth and dialogue; and for his inspiring efforts to foster coexistence and peace and to establish a better and more ethical society.”

Prof. Ada Yonath of the Weizmann Institute of Science, Nobel Prize laureate in Chemistry for 2009,  received an honorary doctorate “in recognition of her pioneering contribution to ribosome research – the universal complex for translating genetic information into proteins – in mapping its structure and deciphering its function, and for discovering the mechanisms of antibiotic effects on bacterial ribosomes; and with great appreciation for her outstanding contribution to the advancement of science in Israel and worldwide.”

An honorary doctorate is the highest honor bestowed by the Technion on individuals who have excelled in their scientific and cultural endeavors or in their contributions to Israel, the Jewish people, and humanity. Previous recipients of this honor include Chaim Weizmann (1952), Albert Einstein (1953), Niels Bohr (1958), David Ben-Gurion (1962), Eugene Wigner (1971), Margaret Thatcher (1989), Yitzhak Rabin (1990), and Angela Merkel (2021).

“David Grossman is one of the greatest Israeli authors of our generation,” said Technion President Prof. Uri Sivan. “His contribution to Israeli literature and culture is immense, as is his contribution to the Hebrew language. Through his penetrating gaze, he has vividly described complex Israeli reality in all its aspects, the struggle with pain, loss, and bereavement, and the individual’s place in society.”

Regarding Prof. Yonath, Prof. Sivan said, “Great scientists are distinguished not only by their scientific achievements but also by their courage – the courage required to choose unique and innovative paths that may seem hopeless to the scientific community. Prof. Ada Yonath demonstrated exceptional personal and scientific courage when she embarked on that journey to terra incognita, which eventually led her to decipher the structure of the ribosome through crystallography. Her long journey has provided humanity with deep insights into the ribosome and opened new applied horizons.”

David Grossman was born in Jerusalem in 1954 and acquired his love of literature at home. After studying at “Leyada” (the Hebrew University Secondary School), he enlisted and served in the Intelligence Corps. He studied philosophy and theater at the Hebrew University and won awards for his early stories. Grossman has published eleven internationally renowned books, including “See Under: Love,” “To the End of the Land,” “Falling Out of Time,” “A Horse Walks into a Bar,” and “More Than I Love My Life.” He has also published five non-fiction books, including “The Yellow Wind,” a collection of short stories, numerous children’s books, a children’s opera, and a play. Several of his books have been adapted into films. In memory of his son Uri, who was killed during the Second Lebanon War by an anti-tank missile, Grossman wrote the song “The Spring Is So Short.” Grossman’s work has been translated into 45 languages and has earned him numerous prestigious awards, including the Prix Médicis for translated literature, the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, the National Jewish Book Award (USA), the Man Booker Prize (UK), the Royal Society of Literature International Writers Award (UK), the EMET Prize, and the Israel Prize for Literature. For the past forty years, David Grossman has actively worked for peace between Israel and its neighbors. His articles and essays on this subject have been published in leading newspapers worldwide.

Prof. Ada Yonath completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry and biochemistry at the Hebrew University, her doctorate at the Weizmann Institute of Science (1968), and post-doctoral research at Carnegie Mellon University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 1970, she established the first laboratory in Israel for protein crystallography at the Weizmann Institute, and for nearly a decade, it remained the only laboratory of its kind in Israel. The research that led to her Nobel Prize began in the 1980s and focused on the ribosome, the “protein factory” in the cell. She heads the Helen and Milton A. Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly at the Weizmann Institute and previously led a research unit at the Max Planck Institute in Hamburg. In 2009, Prof. Yonath received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with colleagues from Yale University and the University of Cambridge for their contribution to understanding the mechanisms of protein synthesis in living cells.

Technion President Prof. Uri Sivan presented the two with their degrees in a festive ceremony on Monday, June 3, as part of the Technion’s annual Board of Governors Meeting, which this year has the theme of solidarity.