It has been 50 years since esteemed alumna, Aviva Goldenberg, graduated from the Technion’s Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning in 1971. This summer, a special reunion was organized in Israel for the graduates to celebrate this meaningful milestone.
Although Aviva was not able to attend the event, the Faculty has remained close to her heart over the past 50 years. Aviva and her husband, Dr. Andrew Goldenberg, are both accomplished entrepreneurs and avid supporters of Technion and the State of Israel. Aviva founded her own architectural firm while Andrew, a Technion grad from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, is a renowned expert in the field of robotics whose career combined both academia (at the University of Toronto) and industry.
Responding to the reunion invitation, Aviva shared that she and Andrew had gratefully and proudly funded the newly established Dr. Andrew & Aviva Goldenberg Architecture Studio Pavilion at the Technion. The donation expresses their thanks and appreciation to the Technion for providing them both with tools for successful and rewarding careers. Moreover, the Technion is the place where the couple met for the first time in December 1967.
The news of the new building from their fellow Faculty graduate was warmly and excitedly received by Aviva’s classmates, who were thrilled that Israel’s future architects will be learning and working in a beautiful, state of the art facility.
In recognition of their outstanding commitment to the Technion, Aviva and Andrew were awarded honorary doctorates in 2018, and Andrew was recently appointed to the Technion’s International Board of Governors.
Dr. Ofer Neufeld, who recently completed his Ph.D. at the Technion, has been awarded a prestigious postdoctoral fellowship
Dr. Ofer Neufeld, who completed three consecutive degrees at the Technion and recently completed his doctoral research in the Faculty of Physics, has been informed that he is the recipient of a Schmidt Science Fellowship. The Schmidt Science Fellows program, which was founded by Wendy and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt to cultivate the next generation of science leaders, will fund Dr. Neufeld in his postdoctoral research following his dissertation at the Technion, a thesis that has already won him an Adams Academy Fellowship, a Jacobs Award and the Israel Physical Society Prize for Outstanding theoretical Ph.D. Students.
Dr. Neufeld grew up in Haifa and started out at the Technion studying for a dual B.Sc. in Physics and and Materials Science and Engineering. It was already then, while studying organic photovoltaic cells for renewable energy, that he became interested in research and theory.
After completing his dual degree B.Sc. studies, Dr. Neufeld began studying for his M.Sc. in the Grand Technion Energy Program. Under the supervision of Prof. Maytal Caspary Toroker, he researched theoretical methods for improving photoelectrochemical cells for the production of hydrogen fuel from solar energy. On completing his master’s degree summa cum laude, he proceeded to the doctoral program in the Technion Faculty of Physics. Under the supervision of Prof. Oren Cohen, he researched fundamental processes involved in light-matter interactions, specifically, interactions of strong laser fields with atoms and molecules.
Dr. Neufeld is currently pursuing his postdoctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, under the supervision of Prof. Angel Rubio. The $100,000 Schmidt Science Fellows stipend will be used to support his postdoctoral research.
Dr. Neufeld is the second student from the Technion, and from all of Israel, to be awarded a Schmidt Science Fellowship, after Grisha Spektor of the Viterbi Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2019.
Technion to Award Honorary Doctorate to Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla
The President of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Professor Uri Sivan announced that the Technion will award an honorary doctorate to Pfizer CEO and Chairman Dr. Albert Bourla, for his extraordinary achievement in leading the record time development of the novel vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The vaccine, which is helping to end the coronavirus crisis, is expected to serve a model for the development of a wide range of future mRNA-based treatments.
“As Chairman of the Board of Pfizer Inc., Dr. Bourla headed the trailblazing effort to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus,” explained Technion President Sivan. “In his 27 years with Pfizer, Dr. Bourla promoted multiple areas within the company, among them technological innovation. The development of the COVID-19 vaccine is an extraordinary biotechnological achievement that exemplifies the importance of science and multidisciplinary research. The vaccine, and similar ones, will bring healing to all of humanity and will rescue the world from the crisis that began at the end of 2019, with the epidemic outbreak. Dr. Bourla’s family history, as a son of Holocaust survivors from Thessaloniki, is a symbol of the remarkable vitality of the Jewish people, their liveliness, and their renewal capacity in the wake of the Holocaust.”
“I am moved by the news and honored to receive a degree from such an important and historical institution as the Technion,” Dr. Bourla said to President Sivan during a phone conversation informing him of being awarded the degree. “In my youth, I considered studying at the Technion; this is an emotional closure for me.”
Dr. Albert Bourla was born in Thessaloniki in 1961 to a Jewish family, part of which perished in the Holocaust. His family, who arrived in Greece from Spain following the Alhambra Decree, dealt in jewelry and diamonds, and their business spread across many countries. The Thessaloniki Jewish community, once the largest in Greece, had a population of approximately 80,000 in the 1930s. Approximately two-thirds of them perished in the Holocaust.
Dr. Bourla completed all of his academic degrees at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and holds a Ph.D. in veterinary medicine and reproductive biotechnology. In 1993 he joined Pfizer, one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies, where he went on to hold a series of positions. He oversaw antibody development and served as Group President of Pfizer’s Global Vaccines, Oncology, and Consumer Healthcare business. In 2018 he was appointed Chief Operating Officer, and in 2020 he became the company’s Chief Executive Officer.
In recent years Dr. Bourla has led Pfizer in strengthening ties with technology companies and in adopting technologies such as artificial intelligence. At the beginning of 2020, following the global outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, he harnessed most of the company’s resources to develop a vaccine, meeting challenging schedules. Throughout the process, Dr. Bourla promised there would be no compromise with regard to the safety of the vaccine, and approval was obtained after an extensive study that included more than 40,000 subjects.
The honorary doctorate will be conferred on Dr. Bourla during the next annual Technion Board of Governors meeting in November 2021.
Distinguished Professor Yitzhak Apeloig of the Schulich Faculty of Chemistry has been awarded the 2021 Schrödinger Medal of the World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists (WATOC). Past recipients of this honour include four Chemistry Nobel Prize winners and many of the pioneers of computational quantum chemistry.
The prestigious medal is awarded each year to a single scientist whose contribution to theoretical and computational chemistry is particularly outstanding. Professor Apeloig’s selection was based on his seminal contributions to the chemistry of organosilicon compounds and to organic chemistry, and for the impressive combination of experimentation, computations, and theory in his research.
Professor Apeloig joined the Technion faculty in 1976 and served as President of the university from 2001 to 2009. He pioneered the use of computational tools based on quantum theory to predict molecular characteristics and molecular reactions, as well as organosilicon chemistry. He has received a plethora of important awards, including the Taub Award for academic excellence, the Distinguished Teacher Award from the Technion, the Humboldt Prize, the award of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), the gold medal of the Israel Chemical Society, the Wacker Silicone Award, and the ACS Kipping Award in Silicon Chemistry. He is an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the European Academy of Sciences, holds an honorary doctorate of science from the Berlin Institute of Technology, has been awarded the Order of Merit of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, and is an honorary citizen of Haifa, Israel.
The World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists (WATOC) aims to promote the field of theoretical and computational chemistry and to advance the interactions between scientists working in this field worldwide. Its most recent congress was attended by 1,500 scientists from all around the world.
The Schrödinger Medal is named after the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger, one of the fathers of quantum mechanics and a Nobel Prize laureate who developed a wave equation named after him – the Schrödinger equation. Some WATOC members work on developing mathematical methods and computer programs to solve the equation. Others, including Prof. Apeloig, apply these methods to study and predict the characteristics and reactions of various compounds. Prof. Apeloig was one of the first experimental chemists in the world to realise the potential of computational methods and applied them in his research already in the 1970s.
Today, many chemistry studies in the academy and in the industry (such as the development of new compounds, new medicines, etc.) are performed using computational methods, most commonly in a collaborative effort between experimenting and calculating research groups. One of the unique features of Prof. Apeloig’s research is that the experimental and computational research are usually performed by the same student, who acquires knowledge in both disciplines, an important factor in his/her scientific development.
IEEE Medal of Honor to Technion Living Legend Dist. Prof. 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).
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