Each year, the International Space University honors the memory of one of its greatest supporters, Dr. Gerald Soffen, with a lecture featuring a prominent visionary in the space sector. Few are more visionary than ISU’s Chancellor and Apollo 11 moonwalker, Dr. Buzz Aldrin.

Buzz Aldrin, most famously known as the second man to walk on the Moon is hands-on with the next big dream: humanity’s next big frontier – getting people to Mars.

On Tuesday 28th July 2016 at the Technion the 86-year-old space man addressed the 2016 class of the International Space University, sharing his experiences as an astronaut and his mission not only to fly people to the Red Planet, but also to “maintain a permanent human presence on Mars.”

“There’s no greater endeavor that humanity will undertake for generations to come than to create a permanent presence on another planet in the solar system.”

Recalling the impact of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon he said that, “The world welcomed us back as heroes. But we understood that they were [not] just cheering for three guys. It was what we represented: a nation, and the world coming together. We had accomplished the impossible and the true value of Apollo is the amazing story of innovation and teamwork that overcame many obstacles to reach the Moon.”

Buzz Aldrin earned his Doctorate of Science in Astronautics at MIT and wrote his thesis on Manned Orbital Rendezvous. He was selected by NASA in 1963 into the third group of astronauts, and earned the nickname “Dr. Rendezvous.” The docking and rendezvous techniques he devised are still used today. He also pioneered underwater training techniques, as a substitute for zero gravity flights, to simulate spacewalking.

In 1966 on the Gemini 12 orbital mission, Buzz set an EVA record for a 5 ½ hour spacewalk. On July 20, 1969, Buzz and Neil Armstrong made their historic Apollo 11 moonwalk, becoming the first two humans to set foot on another world. They spent 21 hours on the lunar surface and returned with 46 pounds of moon rocks. An estimated 600 million people – at that time, the world’s largest television audience in history – witnessed this unprecedented heroic endeavor.

Since retiring from NASA, Buzz has remained a proponent of human space exploration. He devised a master plan for missions to Mars known as the “Aldrin Mars Cycler”, and has received three US patents for his schematics of a modular space station, Starbooster reusable rockets, and multi-crew modules for space flight. He founded Starcraft Boosters, Inc., a rocket design company, and Buzz Aldrin’s ShareSpace Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to addressing science literacy for children by igniting their passion for science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) through delivering hands-on STEAM activities and inspirational messages.

Dr. Aldrin is an author of nine books including his New York Times best-selling autobiography entitled, “Magnificent Desolation”. He continues to inspire today’s youth with his illustrated children’s books: Reaching for the Moon, Look to the Stars, and recently released Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet. His 2013 book, “Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration”, outlines his plan to get us beyond the moon and on to Mars. As one of the leading space exploration advocates, Buzz continues to chart a course for future space travel and is passionate about inspiring the younger generations of future explorers and innovators.

ד"ר באז אולדרין

ד”ר באז אולדרין

Redefining part of 300 year-old classification system for grouping members of the animal kingdom

New “molecular fingerprint” of animal kingdom emerges from gene regulation survey

An international team of biologists has identified the molecular signature of the animal kingdom, providing genetic evidence for an animal classification that has been used for nearly 300 years. Their research, published this week in the journal Nature, offers a historic dataset for the field, serving developmental biologists, evolutionary biologists, and computational biologists alike.

Professor Itai Yanai

The study was led by Professor Itai Yanai of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology Department of Biology, in cooperation with research teams in Australia, Germany, the US, and Israel. The research team investigated an extremely diverse set of animal species, applying an extremely powerful technique called CEL-Seq, developed in 2012 by Dr. Tamar Hashimshony in the Yanai lab. CEL-Seq allows for the monitoring of the activity of all genes in individual cells, and the team used it to analyze gene regulation in 70 embryos in each of ten species.

The researchers found a striking pattern of universality across the species. Between phases of similar genes turned ‘on’ at the beginning and the end of development, a mid-developmental transition was discovered. This newly discovered gene regulatory pattern explains how the differences among animals develop and evolve, which allows biology to now have molecular means to define the specific properties of groups of species.

Their work further defines a category of animal life under-defined since 1735 when Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, recognized as the father of the biological classification of organisms, proposed a two-name classification system for the world’s plants and also animals classified animals into “families” based on similarities and differences in body “plans.” The work sheds new light on how, at the molecular and genetic levels, animals of different body designs (whether they have a true spinal column (mammals) or just a nerve cord (chordates) have evolved to be different and why.

Nearly eight million different species of animals are thought to inhabit the planet, covering a striking exuberance of diversity. For example, animals span five orders of magnitude of adult body sizes. Prof. Yanai’s team began this research by asking what is common to all animals. To tackle this question, they chose ten of the most different animals one could choose: a fish, a worm, a fly, a water bear, a sponge, and five others, each of a different phylum (a term coined by German naturalist Ernst Haeckel in the 19th century to describe a group of animals with the same body plan). About 35 phyla are typically recognized, however it remains controversial with contention over whether this is a meaningful classification and, if so, what attributes are the same, or different across all animals.

Inverse hourglass model for the origin of phyla compared with the hourglass model for within phylum evolution

“We selected species representing ten different animal phyla,” said Prof. Yanai. “For each phyla we determined the gene expression profile of all genes from the development of the fertilized egg to the free-living larvae. We found a surprising pattern of gene expression conservation in all species occurring at a pivotal, transitional period in development.”

By studying the molecular programs of development in ten very different animals, the researchers found that all of the animals they studied express two distinct “modules” of genetic expression. (A module is a set of genes – similar across the organisms – that are turned ‘on.’) During the transition between the modules, mechanisms of cell signaling and regulation occur.

With this new knowledge, the researchers proposed a definition for phylum as “a set of species sharing the same signals and transcription factor networks during the mid-developmental transition.” In other words, they clarified the definition by suggesting that those organisms sharing a phylum, formerly by virtue of body design alone, also share a unique and similar genetic and molecular transition that other species do not.

To demonstrate their proposal, the researchers developed an “hourglass model” that captures gene expression differences between species. The inverse hourglass model shows the origin of phyla compared with the hourglass model that demonstrates “within phylum evolution.”

Embryonic development is called the “phylotypic” stage. This is when the embryo begins to assume recognizable features typical of vertebrates. The phylotypic stage represents a general layout on which specialized features—such as the turtle’s shell, the pig’s snout, or your large brain—can be mounted later in development.

The researchers proposed that during the phyletic transition period, properties specific to each phylum are genetically encoded. Their emerging dataset, they said, will be useful in studying the hallmarks of animal body plan formation from the embryonic stage.

As with many scientific discoveries, the researchers suggest that their work “raises more questions than it answers.” For example, “what molecular pathways underlie phyletic transition in each phylum? Why are the phyletic-transition mechanisms so relatively susceptible to change? Is the coupling of the conserved modules universal to all multicellular life?”

“The transition we identified may be a hallmark of development only in animals,” the researchers concluded. “Or, future work may show that this is a general characteristic of development in all multicellular life.”

Despite the diversity of body structures in mature animals (bottom), the embryos look very much alike at the phylotypic stage

The moon is thought to have formed from the debris of a small planet that collided with the Earth. Since the composition of other planets in the Solar system differs from that of the Earth, it was expected that the moon composition would also differ from that of the Earth.

Surprisingly, the composition of the Earth and the Moon are very similar, raising a major challenge to the “giant impact” origin of the Moon. A new study by researchers from the Technion and Nice University explains the origin of such composition similarity and helps to solve this conundrum  

The Moon has fascinated human kind since the earliest days of history. It has played a central role in the making of annual calendars in Muslim, Jewish and other cultures; and was considered one of the gods in many pagan traditions.  Questions regarding the origin of the Moon, its shape and composition gave rise to myths and legends that have accompanied humanity for thousands of years, and even today many children ask themselves – and their parents – whether the moon is made of cheese.

In the modern era such millennium-old puzzles have been replaced by scientific exploration that raised no-less challenging questions, which continueto perplex us – even 40 years after man first landed on the moon. Now, a research done by Technion researchers sheds a new light on the origins of the Moon and its composition. The research, published in Nature, was lead by post-doctoral researcher Dr. Alessandra Mastrobuono-Battist and her adviser Assistant Prof. Hagai Perets from the Technion, in collaboration with Dr. Sean Raymond from Nice University.

 “Many models for the Moon origin were suggested by scientists, but since the 1980s the scientific community has been focusing on the most promising model  – the so called ‘giant impact’ paradigm,” explains Perets. “According to this model, the moon was formed following a collision between a small Mars-like planet (usually called Theia) and the ancient Earth. Some of the debris from the collision fell back to Earth, some was scattered far into space and the rest went into orbit around the Earth. This orbiting debris later coagulated to form a single object: the moon.”.

 Based on complex simulations of such collisions, researchers have found out that most of the material that eventually forms the Moon comes from the impactor,  Theia, and only a smaller fraction originates from the impacted body (in this case, the Earth). Measurements of the composition of other bodies in the Solar system such as asteroids and Mars have shown that they have a very different composition from that of the Earth. Given that most of the Moon material came from another body in the Solar system, it was xpected that the composition of the Moon should be similarly very different from that of the Earth, according to the “giant impact” model. However, analysis of samples brought from the moon by the Apollo missions showed otherwise – in terms of composition, the Earth and Moon are almost twins, their compositions are almost the same, differing by at most few parts in a million.

This contradiction has cast a long shadow on the ‘giant impact’ model, and for some 30 years this contradiction was a major challenge to physicists grappling with the  formation of the moon. Now, Mastrobuono-Battisti, Perets and Raymond have suggested a new solution to this mystery.

 Simulations of the formation of planets in the solar system, showed that different planets indeed have distinct compositions, as found from the analysis of material from different planets in the Solar system. Such studies have traditionally focused on studying only the compositions of the final planets, in the new research, Perets and collaborators have considered not only the planets, but also the composition of the impactors on these planets. Consequently they have discovered that in many cases, the planets and the bodies that collide with them share a very similar composition, even though they formed independently. Thus, conclude the researchers, the similarity between the moon and Earth stems from the similarity between Theia – from which the moon was formed – and Earth. “It turns out that an impactor is not similar to any other random body in the Solar system. The Earth and Theia appear to have shared much more similar environments during their growth than just any two unrelated bodies,” explains Mastrobuono-Battisti. “In other words, Theia and Earth were formed in the same region, and have therefore collected similar material. These similar living environments also led them eventually to collide; and the material ejected mostly from Theia, ultimately formed the moon. Our results reconcile what has been perceived as a contradiction between the process whereby moons are formed (from matter from the impacting body) and the similarity between Earth and the moon”. “The Earth and the Moon might not be twins born of the same body”, summarizes Perets, “but they did grow up together in the same neighborhood.”


While chemotherapy is often a life-saving treatment for cancerous tumors, choosing the right chemo for each patient remains an unmet clinical challenge. Furthermore, current chemotherapies cause harsh side effects and damage healthy organs alongside the tumors.

“We want physicians to have better tools for predicting which drugs would be best for each patient, and get them to the target site more efficiently,” says Prof. of Chemical Engineering Avi Schroeder, Head of the Technion Laboratory for Targeted Drug Delivery and Personalized Medicine Technologies.

Prof. Avi Schroeder

Prof. Avi Schroeder

Drug delivery systems in use today surprisingly dispatch only 10% or less of a drug dose to the tumor, with the remaining 90% distributed elsewhere in the body. “It’s better than untargeted systems, but it’s far from ideal,” says Prof. Schroeder.

Schroeder and his team are developing nanosized “factories” that manufacture protein-based cancer drugs inside the body upon reaching the tumor site. Mimicking the protein-manufacturing strategy found in nature, the factories contain ribosomes, amino acids and enzymes—the building blocks needed to synthesize the desired protein-based drug.

At 150 nanometers or smaller—1/1,000 the diameter of a strand of hair, these factories are injected into the patient and circulate in the blood until finding the tumor. Since many tumors have leaky blood vessels with pores that are several hundred nanometers wide, these factories are small enough to penetrate.

Other researchers have developed systems that release drugs inside the tumor, but Prof. Schroeder and his team are the first to manufacture drugs inside the tumor. “This is the first proof of concept that you can actually synthesize new compounds from inert starting materials inside the body,” says Schroeder.

His system promises to allow physicians to tailor drugs specifically for each patient, and will allow the patient to receive a more concentrated dose of the drug only where it is necessary, thus escaping the harsh side effects.

After earning his PhD at Ben Gurion University and postdoctoral studies at MIT with Prof. Robert Langer, Schroeder returned to Israel. Courted by several universities, he received a Horev Fellowship through the Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation Leaders In Science and Technology Faculty Recruitment Program, and accepted a position at the Technion in 2012.

Prof. Schroeder is widely published and has received more than 20 awards including TevaTech Graduate Student Award in Chemistry and Biology, Intel PhD-Student Award for Research in Nanotechnology, the Wolf Foundation PhD-Student Award, the prestigious Polymer Advanced Technologies 2013 Young Scientific Talents Award, and the Allon Fellowship.

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is a global community. In this video students and President Prof. Peretz Lavie wish you Happy New Year for 2015 in 14 different languages.
Technion is the place where dreams come true.

In order of appearance:

  • Eric Yudin in English – Computer Science
  • Johanna Wallin in Swedish – Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Tali Tazazo in Amharic – Electrical Engineering
  • Eshhar Tal in Hebrew – Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Efrat Vitchevsky in Russian – Medicine
  • Micael Zollmann in Afrikaans – Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Ahmad Omari in Arabic – Energy Program
  • Michal Brodeschi in Portuguese – Architecture & Town Planning
  • Rashmi Kothari in Hindi – Chemistry
  • Wen-Hui Hung in Chinese – Industrial Engineering & Management
  • Fred Xie in Chinese – Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Hanqi He in Chinese – Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Davide Schaumann in Italian – Architecture & Town Planning
  • Irene Alvarez-Sostres in Spanish – Architecture & Town Planning
  • Deborah Cohen in French – Electrical Engineering
  • Dr. “Bob” Shillman in English – A Man and a Cat Called Yitz
  • Prof. Peretz Lavie in English – Technion President
  • Valentin Garbe in German – Electrical Engineering

The Landau Prize for the Sciences and Research to be Awarded to Technion Professor David Gershoni, for his Research Contributions Leading to the Production of Entangled Photons

Prof. David Gershoni

Prof. David Gershoni

Prof. David Gershoni, from the Department of Physics at the Technion, will receive the 2014 Michael Landau Prize for Sciences and Research awarded by Mifal Hapais (the Israel State Lottery) enterprise, for his research contributions, which have led to the development of a prototype for producing entangled photon emissions. The Prize Committee noted that “This method is significantly different from its predecessors; its advantage lies in its capability to create multiple devices and thereby generate entangled photons on demand. This has important experimental implications for research in the field of quantum information.”

Prof. Gershoni earned his academic degrees at the Technion. In 1986 (at age 33) he pursued his postdoctoral studies at Bell Laboratories headquarters in New Jersey, and after one short year he was accepted there as a faculty member and engaged in research and development. In 1991 he returned to Israel and the Technion, this time as a faculty member at the Department of Physics.

In 2006, Prof. Gershoni proved the possibility of producing entangled photons (particles of light) from semiconductor sources. Entanglement is a phenomenon whereby two quantum particles behave like physical twins that maintain a quantum correlation: when a characteristic of one of the particles changes, the characteristic of its twin simultaneously changes as well, making it impossible to describe the state of one of the particles separately from the state of the other.

In a joint research study with Prof. Joseph Avron from the Department of Physics at the Technion and doctoral students Nika Akopian and Netanel Lindner, Prof. Gershoni demonstrated – both theoretically and experimentally – that under appropriate conditions, an efficient prototype semiconductor-based light source of nanoscale dimensions produces entangled light. The researchers showed that it is possible to build a device based on such a source, which would be capable of producing entangled photons ‘on demand’ – a significant milestone for quantum communications, quantum information processing,computing, and perhaps even teleportation.

“Spooky action at a distance”

Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon that first appeared in a 1935 paper authored by Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen (one of the founding fathers of the Physics Department at the Technion) and became known as the EPR paradox (EPR stood for their initials). The paper expressed reservations about Einstein’s accepted formulation of quantum mechanics, which allegedly ‘allows’ for information to travel at light speed. Einstein believed that the ‘possibility’ for such behavior is fictitious, or as he put it: ‘spooky action at a distance.’

Niels Bohr, among the fathers of quantum mechanics, claimed in response to the paper on the EPR paradox that this ‘remote operation’ is actually possible, since it is based not on ‘mechanical impact’, but on the ‘logical effect,’ on the conditions that define the behavior of the system. Einstein then retaliated by describing Bohr’s response as “longwinded Talmudic gibberish.”

In 1962, Irish physicist John Bell, demonstrated that the Einstein-Bohr debate could be resolved experimentally. In research trials conducted in the 70s and 80s, as a result of a mathematical model formulated by Bell, it was scientifically proven that entangled particles are indeed endowed with an exceptional correlation that predicts quantum mechanics. The research by Professors Gershoni and Avron, which is based in part on the theoretical work of a former faculty member, the late Distinguished Professor Asher Peres, led to a breakthrough in this direction.

’In effect, we demonstrated how to develop a device that “shoots” entangled photonic pairs on demand,’ explains Prof. Gershoni. “This discovery is an important milestone bridging current technology (classical) and future technologies (quantum). The current technology, which includes computers, communications, lighting, data storage and processing of information, is based on semiconductors, and this is why our discovery is extremely relevant to the high-tech world. We are developing nano-scale semiconductor structures operating as ‘artificial atoms’ whose behavior may be explained and predicted using quantum mechanics. We believe that this breakthrough will advance the field of quantum information processing, which will form the basis of future technologies. Our research motivation stems also from our hope that technology will follow science and that in the near future we will be able to see a wide use of real quantum technology.”

The Landau Prize for Sciences and Research awarded by Mifal Hapais is bestowed on scientists who have made significant achievements and valuable contributions to the advancement of science and research. The Prize Committee selected Prof. Gershoni as this year’s winner of the Physics award; prize committee members include Professors Dan Shahar, Shmuel Fishman and Ora Entin-Wohlman . Landau prize winners in other categories are: Prof. Dana Wolf (Virology), Prof. Elisha Qimron (Hebrew language research), Prof. Amir Sagi (Agriculture), Prof. Howard Litvin (Gerontology), and Prof. Daniel Hanoch Wagner (Chemical and Materials engineering).

The research is being carried out in collaboration with the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute.

In the photo: Prof. David Gershoni
Photo Credit: The Technion’s Spokesperson’s Office

For additional information: Gil Liner, Technion Spokesperson, 058-688-2208.


Technion celebrates the inception of classes for its second cohort of the Russian Freshman Year Program.* Graduates of the first cohort successfully integrated into regular Technion study programs at different faculties this year.

The start of the new academic year at the Technion has began with twenty-seven freshman year students from FSU countries enrolled in its Russian study program – they represent the second cohort of this unique program. At the opening ceremony, held on November 5, 2014, two of last year’s graduates, Polina Soloveichik and Andrey Elashkin, spoke about their experiences. “You gave us an opportunity to integrate into the Technion and Israel,” they said. “It’s hard to study at the Technion because here, being successful calls for more than talent alone. You find yourself studying long and hard even after a long day of classes, which leaves you with not much time for anything else. Yet the tremendous support and help by the program staff brought us to where we are today. It is because of all of you that we are now standing here as proud Technion students.”

russ2The program is managed through Technion International in cooperation with the “MASA” and “Nativ” organizations, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, which is responsible for the Hebrew portion of the program. Prof. Anat Rafaeli, the Head of Technion International, welcomed the incoming students and told them that, “It is our goal to attract young people like you to the Technion and to Israel, and to assist you throughout this challenging integration. I can assure you that here you will receive the best science and engineering training, and request your help in undertaking your studies in these fields, as well as Hebrew language studies, very seriously.”

Prof. Rafaeli also thanked Naomi Ben-Ami, the Head of the Nativ organization, for her initiative and assistance that helped get the project off the ground last year. Ben-Ami thanked the staff of Technion International and expressed her hope that this program will strengthen the ties between Israel and ex-Soviet Jewry. “I wish each and every one of you much success, for those of you who choose to remain in Israel and for those who decide to return home. All of you will be our ambassadors.”

russ3“I am touched to see so many of our graduates from the first cohort here today, who are now integrated into regular Technion study tracks, and especially to hear them speaking Hebrew,” said Ariel Geva, the Director of Technion International. “To our new incoming students – you have all demonstrated great courage on coming here – you are embarking on a long, rigorous and fascinating journey, and we want you to know that we are here to assist you with anything you will need along the way.”

The first cohort opened with 22 young talented college-bound high school students from Eastern European countries,. This year, the graduates of the program have successfully integrated into various undergraduate study tracks at the Technion.

The second cohort has just opened with 27 students. As part of the program, students will take a short and concentrated preparation program (four months) consisting of mathematics, physics and Hebrew studies. In their second and third semester they will take five basic courses in engineering and sciences. In the Fall of 2015 – at the end of their first year of studies, which is given in Russian and includes 400 hours of Hebrew study – they will begin to learn with regular Technion students in Hebrew, at a faculty of their choosing.

unnamed (4)The Coordinator of the Russian Program, Luba Baladzhaeva, explains that in Russia and Ukraine, teens graduate from high-school at a relatively young age, and begin to look for academic study tracks. “Here at the Technion we offer high quality education and the students can start their studies immediately after their arrival to Israel.” Luba, who formerly worked for the Jewish Agency in Russia, made an Aliyah in 2009, and began working at the Technion two years ago.

Program graduates Constantin and Grigory Senchikhin, are 18 year old twins who grew up in Moscow. They had heard about the Russian program while they were still in high school, and underwent the admissions process which involved a Skype interview and a tour of the Technion campus. “We came here in 2013, met with students and the program heads, and we decided it was a good fit for us.” The brothers received full support from their parents, who also have formal technical education and who work in the fields of tourism and insurance back home.

unnamed (1)Grigory, a trumpet player, dreams of studying materials engineering and Constantin, who plays the saxophone and clarinet, wants to study biomedical engineering: “In Russia, I participated at a biomedical contest for high school students called “Step Into the Future” and this field interests me very much. There are wide gaps in the level of academics at high schools in Russia, therefore, elite universities typically take in students from prestigious high schools. Although we had the privilege of studying at an excellent high school, we chose to continue our university education at the Technion, because of its impressive past and excellent faculty.”

Picture Credit: Technion’s Spokesperson’s Office

For more information: Gil Lainer, Technion Spokesperson, 058-688-2208

2,185 new students began their studies at Technion this week. They will be enjoying a unique learning experience as well as an upgraded and extended network of Technion City dorms.

נשיא הטכניון פרופסור פרץ לביא ולצדו (יושבים) דיקן לימודי הסמכה-פרופסור יכין כהן, דיקן הסטודנטים-פרופסור מוריס אייזן ויו"ר אגודת הסטודנטים-דני מגנר

נשיא הטכניון פרופסור פרץ לביא ולצדו (יושבים) דיקן לימודי הסמכה-פרופסור יכין כהן, דיקן הסטודנטים-פרופסור מוריס אייזן ויו”ר אגודת הסטודנטים-דני מגנר

“Continued cuts in higher education poses a real threat to Israel’s future strength,” said Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie to Technion’s new students. “A reversal of the trend and an increase in budgets would help Israel to become stronger and more secure, both economically and socially, for generations to come. It is very easy to cut and hurt, yet much harder and more expensive to rebuild.”

This year offers several new and unique courses of study at Technion, addressing the growing need for innovative experts in the fields of science, engineering and architecture.  The new curriculum at the Faculty of Architecture, which was adapted to the needs of tomorrow, includes two separate titles – “BA in Architecture” (B.Sc) and the title of “Master of Architecture” (M.Arch) with a practical orientation and specialization. The Program in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (Masters and PhD) is focussing on the next generation of technological systems: systems that manipulate themselves independently – without a human operator – in medicine, space and more. The Faculty of Medicine Sciences opened a new, graduate degree in medical science, designed for students with an  in depth knowledge in life sciences and medicine.

First classes at the Technion began exactly 90 years ago, in 1924, with 17 students. Today, there are more than 13,000 students, and the number of Technion graduates passed the bar this summer of 100,000.

In view of the constant increase in the number of students, construction is underway of dormitories for 500 additional students. The new dormitory building was made possible with a donation from the Chinese philanthropist Li Ka-shing.

Technion’s Mad Dash

Technion’s Formula Student Team Competing in the 2014 Formula SAE Championship in Italy Awarded Special Prize

Technion Formula Team 2014

Technion Formula Team 2014

The Technion delegation to the International Formula Student Race returned to Israel last week after winning a special prize, awarded to them by the chief designer of the Fiat Group (Alpha Romeo, Maserati and Ferrari), for the best design and for showing the greatest improvement since the previous competition. In the overall rankings, the team came in 28th place out of 44.

The leaders of the team, which consists of some 40 students from different Technion faculties, are Doris Pitilon and Ahmad Omri.

Doris, who was born in the US and grew up in Holon, completed her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering this summer within the Academic Reserves/Atuda framework (a program which enables youngsters who are intended to join the army as soldiers, to study academic studies prior to their military service); she will shortly be called up to the IDF’s Ordnance Corps.

Ahmad, who grew up in Germany and in Sandala Village near Afula, completed his undergraduate degree at the Technion through the NAM (an acronym in Hebrew for Outstanding Arab Youth) Program and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in mechanical engineering. Members on the student formula team emphasized the tremendous contribution of Prof. Reuven Katz’s, Head of the Center for Manufacturing Systems and Robotics at the Faculty of Mechnical Engineering, who helped them with the fundraising efforts of the project, supplied them with a lab to work in, and incorporated this program into the annual course under his guidance: “New Product Design.”

Technion formula in action

Technion formula in action

The Group’s activity was funded in part by the Grand Technion Energy Studies Program (GTEP).

“The minute I heard about this project I wanted to be a part of it,” said Michael Kootzenko, a student from the Faculty of Aerospace, who was in charge of the car’s exterior surface; Kootzenko also drove the car in the competition. “Constructing the car for me was the fulfillment of a childhood dream. We built a car that was much stronger than what was required, and I’m extremely proud of the outcome.”

“I was attracted to this project because I wanted to do something practical during my studies,” adds Doris Pitilon, “And constructing the car is mechanical engineering at its best. It has been the main thing on my mind over these past two years, and what I gained in terms of management and engineering I would never have learned anywhere else. The competition itself was an amazing experience. Teams came from all over the world to compete. We all camped out together near the racetrack, and the atmosphere was truly great.”

The competition included a review of engineering aspects (“the immobile part of the competition”), followed by the various examinations evaluating acceleration, speed and performance. “We learned from our mistakes last year and came to this year’s competition well prepared with a stronger and faster car. We excelled in the acceleration heat (75m in 4.3 seconds), and also in the endurance heat.”

The Technion race car had four drivers from the team: Doris, Michael, Gilad Agam and David Amarilio. Over the past year, the drivers trained at “Dan Karting” in Haifa, where they were provided with access to a simulator and training free of charge. Other donors included Kanfit Ltd., which supplied the carbon composite materials for the car’s body, and “Plasko” that transported the car to and from Italy. Presently, the team is working on formulating the 2015 student formula team, which will represent the Technion in next year’s competition.

See how the team prepares for the championship race:


The SAE International has been organizing international events and competitions for engineering students for over thirty years. Its most prestigious competition is the Formula Student SAE Championship, in which students are required to design and manufacture a race car.