Prof. Ziv the First Israeli to win Medal of Honor

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IEEE Medal of Honor to Technion Living Legend Dist. Prof. Ziv

Distinguished Professor Jacob Ziv

Distinguished Professor Jacob Ziv from the Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Technion wins the IEEE Medal of Honor for 2021

Prof. Ziv is the first Israeli to win the Medal of Honor – the most prestigious award given by the IEEE and one of the most prestigious in the world of technology

The IEEE Medal of Honor, which is one of the most prestigious awards in technology, has been granted to Distinguished Prof. Jacob Ziv (Emeritus) of the Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Dist. Prof Ziv is the first Israeli to have won this honor from the International Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Dist. Prof. Ziv is a world pioneer in the field of information theory, and he is co-inventor of both the Lempel-Ziv algorithm and the Wyner-Ziv algorithm. He receives the medal for his “Fundamental contributions to information theory and data compression technology, and for distinguished research leadership.”

IEEE is the world’s largest technical-professional organization, with about half a million members in 150 countries. The association’s Medal of Honor has been awarded to a single winner each year since 1917, in recognition of an exceptional contribution to science and technology. This is IEEE’s most prestigious award and one of the most prestigious in the world of technology, honoring scientists whose exceptional achievements have left a mark for years on technology, society, and engineering.
The winners of the medal have included individuals who have shaped the fields of information, communication, electronics and computing. They include: Claude Shannon, father of information theory; Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of wireless; Gordon Moore, who drafted Moore’s Law; Andrew Grove, who was CEO and chairman of Intel; Harry Nyquist, one of the most prominent figures in communication and system theory; and founders of Qualcomm Dr. Irwin Jacobs and Prof. Andrew Viterbi (who made a significant contribution to the Electrical Engineering Faculty at the Technion which has since been named after him and his late wife Erna).

According to Dean of the Andrew & Erna Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering Prof. Nahum Shimkin: “There is no one more worthy of this award than Distinguished Prof. Ziv. This is a great honor for the Faculty and the Technion as well.”

“This is a great honor for Dist. Prof. Ziv and the Technion,” said Technion President Prof. Uri Sivan. “His groundbreaking scientific and applied contributions are a source of inspiration for the best engineers in the world. His research in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering has brought about a significant revolution that laid the foundations for the Israeli Startup Nation.”

Born in 1931, Prof. Ziv, completed a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical engineering at the Technion, followed by a doctorate at MIT (1962). After some eight years of research and development at Raphael and Bell Labs in the United States, he joined the Technion faculty. Over the years he has held senior positions including Vice President of the Technion for Academic Affairs, Chairman of the Planning and Budgeting Committee, and President of the Israeli Academy of Sciences. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dist. Prof. Ziv has won many prestigious awards, including the Israel Defense Award (twice), the Israel Prize in Exact Sciences (1993) the Marconi Award (1995), the Richard Heming Medal (1995), the Shannon Award (1997), the Frontiers of Knowledge Award from the BBVA Foundation (2009), and the EMET Prize (2017).

In 1977, Prof Ziv and Prof. Abraham Lempel of the Faculty of Computer Science published the initial version of the Lempel-Ziv algorithm, and in 1978 the second version. Both versions served as the basis for essential compression technologies including PNG, TIFF, ZIP and GIF and played a major role in PDF (for documents) and MP3 (for music) formats. This is an information compression algorithm that enables lossless compression, regardless of the structure of the data and without prior knowledge of the statistical properties of the data. Based on this algorithm, many of the compression technologies currently used today in memory devices, computers and smartphones were developed.

The Lempel-Ziv algorithm has opened the way for unprecedented technology, enabling the transfer of visual and other information at high speed without loss of information. In 2004, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) announced that the Lempel-Ziv algorithm is “a milestone in electronics and computer engineering” and that it “made a significant contribution to making the internet an effective means of global communication.”

Dist. Prof. Ziv also participated in the development of the Wyner-Ziv algorithm in Bell Laboratories. This algorithm, which is now part of Microsoft’s operating system, allows the compression of many images from different cameras, and their simultaneous transmission (for example in sports events).

H2PRO Wins International New Energy Challenge

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H2PRO Wins International New Energy Challenge Competition Organized by Energy Giant Shell

Israeli start-up H2PRO was named “best company in the scale-up track” in the international New Energy Challenge competition, a prestigious event organized annually by Royal Dutch Shell. H2PRO was founded based on an innovative green energy technology invented at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology that produces hydrogen efficiently, inexpensively, and safely.

H2PRO was one of just five finalists in the 2020 competition. In addition to being the youngest company on the list, it was also the only one from Israel. H2PRO’s innovative technology heralds a new era of green hydrogen production by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using electrical power. Traditional electrolysis produces hydrogen and oxygen simultaneously, which requires a membrane to separate them. The use of a membrane makes the system and the process significantly more expensive. Green hydrogen is an alternative fuel that can replace oil and natural gas in the long term. It plays a critical role in the reduction of polluting vehicle emissions, as well as in clean production of materials and chemicals, heating and storing renewable energy.

The new technology renders the membrane unnecessary, since the two gases are produced at different stages. The technology also increases energy efficiency by 20-25% compared to the alternatives; significantly improves the safety of the production process; reduces the cost of building the system to approximately one half; and increases the pressure of the produced hydrogen, thereby reducing the cost of downstream hydrogen compression.                                                                                                                       

H2PRO was founded in 2019 by Technion researchers Professor Gideon Grader (Faculty of Chemical Engineering), Professor Avner Rothschild, and Dr. Hen Dotan (Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering), in collaboration with the founders of Viber, which is headed by entrepreneur Talmon Marco.

The company received an exclusive license to commercialize the technology from T3, Technion’s technology transfer unit. To date, it has raised capital from Hyundai, Sumitomo, and Bazan, and from private investors and funds. The research that led to the establishment of H2PRO was supported by the Nancy and Stephen Grand Technion Energy Program (GTEP), a donation by businessman and Technion supporter Ed Satell, the Adelis Foundation, Israel’s Ministry of Energy and the European Commission (the EU’s 2020 program). The research was conducted together with Dr. Avigail Landman, who was a Ph.D. student of both Prof. Rothschild and Prof. Grader.

Technion Harvey Prize for 2019-2020

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Technion Harvey Prize: Honoring Pioneers in Chemical Engineering and Medical Sciences

The prestigious prize for 2019-2020 goes to Professor Joseph DeSimone of Stanford University for significant contributions to materials science, chemistry, polymer science nano medicine, and 3D printing; and to Professor Raphael Mechoulam of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for the discovery of the active molecules in cannabis

Prof. Joseph DeSimone

The Harvey Prize, the Technion’s most prestigious award, will this year be awarded to Distinguished Professor Joseph DeSimone of Stanford University in the Science and Technology category and to Professor Raphael Mechoulam of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the Human Health category.

The Harvey Prize – established in 1971 by Leo Harvey (1887-1973) – is awarded at the Technion each year for outstanding achievements in science and technology, human health, and significant contributions to humanity. Over the years, the $75,000 prize has become a predictor of the Nobel Prize, and more than 30% of Harvey laureates since 1986 were ultimately awarded the Nobel. Three of them – Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier, Professor Jennifer Doudna, and Professor Reinhard Genzel – are to receive the 2020 Nobel Prize this month.

Professor Joseph DeSimone is being awarded for his contributions to materials science, chemistry, polymer science and technology, nano medicine, and 3D printing. His achievements are a model for combining basic scientific discoveries with developments of industrial technologies that have a significant influence on mankind. His

Prof. Raphael Mechoulam

pioneering scientific breakthroughs include the use of supercritical carbon dioxide to produce fluoropolymers; a new process for precise fabrication of nanoparticles (PRINT) widely used in medical applications.

He has published more than 350 articles in leading scientific journals and is a named inventor on more than 200 issued patents. In the 1990s he and his students developed an environmentally friendly technology for manufacturing polymers. This “green” synthesis process, commercialized by DuPont, makes the use of hazardous solvents for the synthesis of fluoropolymer materials unnecessary. His research team also developed CO2 adsorbents to enable “green” cleaning processes.

Another technology developed by his team is PRINT (particle replication in non-wetting templates) – the only method that enables large-scale production of uniform nanoparticles for medical applications, with precise control over particle parameters such as size, shape, and composition. Using PRINT, the biotechnology company Liquidia Technologies was established. It engages in precision medicine for treating pulmonary disease and pain relief and has numerous products in clinical trials.

Prof. DeSimone and his team also developed a technology called CLIP (continuous liquid interface production) that replaces the slow, traditional layer-by-layer 3D printing method. CLIP enables particles to continuously “grow” from a pool of liquid resin, significantly accelerating manufacturing speed and delivering production-grade parts, including those with complex geometries.

Until recently, Prof. DeSimone (b. 1964) was a professor of chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This year, he joined Stanford University and is the Sanjiv Sam Gambhir Professor of Translational Medicine, and a faculty member in the Departments of Radiology and Chemical Engineering, with a courtesy appointment at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. He is also an adjunct member at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Prof. DeSimone is one of only 25 people to be elected to all three branches of the USA National Academies: The National Academy of Sciences, the Institution of Medicine and the National Academy of Engineering. He has received numerous awards, including the Lemelson-MIT Prize, the U.S. Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award and the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award. In 2016 he was recognized by President Barack Obama and received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation – the highest honor in the US for achievement and leadership in the advancement of technological progress.

Professor Raphael Mechoulam of the School of Pharmacology in the Faculty of Medicine at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is awarded the Harvey Prize for his ground-breaking research elucidating the components, mechanisms of action, and implications for human health of the cannabinoid system. His meticulous decades-long discoveries have impacted the medical understanding of the negative implications of drug abuse as well as provided therapeutic promise to a wide range of diseases and pathological conditions and contributed to human well-being.

Prof. Mechoulam was born in Bulgaria (1930), where he studied chemical engineering. After immigrating to Israel he received his M.Sc. in biochemistry from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and his Ph.D. at the Weizmann Institute, and completed his postdoctoral studies at the Rockefeller Institute in New York. In 1960 he joined the junior staff of the Weizmann Institute, and in 1985 he became a professor at the Hebrew University.

He is the first researcher to have isolated the psychoactive component of cannabis, THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), determining its structure and the structure of the second major component of cannabis – Cannabidiol or CBD. Both substances today serve as medicines under the brand names Sativex and Epidiolex.

Professor Mechoulam’s numerous research studies and his pioneering discoveries have created a treatment horizon that encompasses a broad range of illnesses and pathological conditions, thus bettering the wellbeing of humanity. Among other things, his research has led to the development of innovative treatments for epilepsy, MS, and pain relief.

For his tremendous achievements in research, Prof. Mechoulam has been bestowed with much recognition and a myriad of prestigious honors, including the Israel Prize in Exact Sciences – Chemistry (2000) and the Kolthoff Prize in Chemistry from the Technion. He is a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. In 2014, Prof. Mechoulam was named one of the “World’s 50 Most Influential Jews” by the Jerusalem Post.