June 14, 2022

Harvey Prize Ceremony awarded in the Technion

Harvey Prize Ceremony awarded in the Technion

This Sunday, 12 June, the prestigious Harvey Prize was awarded to Prof. Joseph Mark DeSimone from Stanford University (Science and Technology), Prof. Raphael Mechoulam from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Human Health) and to Prof. James R. Rice from Harvard University (Science and Technology).

In a moving ceremony, hosted by Professor Asya Rolls, the three distinguished professors received their honors:

From right to left: Prof. Joseph Mark DeSimone, Prof. Raphael Mechoulam, Technion President Prof. Uri Sivan and Prof. James Rice.

Prof. Joseph Mark DeSimone from the Departments of Radiology and Chemical Engineering at Stanford University received the 2019-2020 award in acknowledgement of his groundbreaking work on processes to cleanly-synthesize fluoropolymers, fabricate precisely defined shape-specific nanoparticles; and enable the manufacture of 3D printed objects with unprecedented speed; for these and other contributions to materials science, chemistry, nanomedicine, and 3D printing; and with gratitude for his resolute commitment to translating leading-edge science into impactful solutions promoting human health and welfare.

Prof. DeSimone thanked the Technion for the great honor and said the interaction that the Technion was nurturing between academia and industry was particularly important in memory of Leo Harvey. “We must think carefully about this connection as not every study will receive government funding. And sometimes the solution to these challenges are found through the support of startups and industry.”

Prof. Raphael Mechoulam receives the award from Technion President Prof. Uri Sivan

Prof. Raphael Mechoulam from the School of Pharmacy in the Faculty of Medicine at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem received the 2019-2020 award for pioneering research into the cannabinoid system and its implications on human health and for his many discoveries that have deepened our understanding of drug abuse and provided the promise of therapy for a wide range of diseases and pathological conditions.  With gratitude to the noble contributions to humanity.

Prof. James Rice receives the award from Technion President Prof. Uri Sivan

Prof. Mechoulam thanked the President of the Technion and the committee that selected the winners of the Harvey Prize and said that “in the end, the prize is a tribute to my research group. Our findings, concerning the effect of cannabis molecules on the peripheral and central nervous system, have led to studies all over the world which I believe will lead to the development of treatments for a wide range of diseases.” Prof. James R. Rice from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences received the 2020-2021 Award for his enduring fundamental contributions to the mechanics of materials and to geophysics, for the development of the J-integral to calculate the energy release rate as a material undergoes fracture; and for his leadership that has expanded human knowledge about friction and earthquakes.

Prof. Rice said that most of his success over the years had to do with his mentors. “Mentoring really matters and is a large part of our responsibility as research academics and scientists. I am very grateful to the Technion researchers who have collaborated with me over the years.”

Technion President, Prof. Uri Sivan
gave an opening address in which he said it was his honor and pleasure to bestow the three honored guests with their awards. He also thanked them for posing and answering excellent questions – and said that learning to ask good questions was the key to excellence in science. He told them that they joined in the great Harvey Prize tradition of rewarding excellence for truth to humanity. He added that he looked forward to following them and wished them a lifetime of satisfaction.

Steve Berger, President of the American Technion Society (ATS) speaking at the ceremony

Steve Berger, National President of the American Technion Society responded by saying it was truly an honor and privilege to bestow the Harvey prize and that the important commonality among all the recipients was their commitment to finding solutions to the problems of the 21st century.The Harvey Prize awarded by the Technion was first given in 1972, through the foundation established by Leo M. Harvey (1887-1973) from Los Angeles, to recognize significant contributions in the advancement of humankind in the areas of science and technology, human health, and peace in the Middle East. The prize has become a predictor of the Nobel Prize, and more than 30% of Harvey laureates since 1986 were ultimately awarded the Nobel.

This prestigious prize has been awarded to scientists from the United States, Britain, Russia, Sweden, France and Israel, among them Nobel Laureate Mikhail Gorbachev, former leader of the USSR, was awarded the Harvey Prize in appreciation of his seminal initiatives and policies to lessen regional tensions; Nobel Laureate in Medicine, Professor Bert Sakmann; Nobel Laureate in Physics, Professor Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, Professor Edward Teller for his discoveries in solid state physics, atomic and nuclear energy; and Professor William J. Kolff  for his invention of the artificial kidney.