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October 13, 2011 - Image 29

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-10-13

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world

Professor Daniel
Shechtman

very few Nobel Prize winners in neighbor-
ing countries, according to Jackier. "Israel
is surrounded by hostile neighbors as well
as battered in the international media and
recently at the U.N. Meanwhile, our sci-
entists go about their intellectual quests,
which has resulted now in three Nobel
prizes in chemistry. It would be so nice
if the world would focus on things like
this instead of all the ridiculous stuff that
keeps Israel under such chronic security
pressure day after day"

Nobel To Technion Chemist

Recognition for Israeli stirs pride in local Technion supporters.

Jackie Headapohi
Managing Editor

aniel Shechtman, 70, a dis-
tinguished professor at the
Technion-Israel Institute of
Technology in Haifa, won the 2011 Nobel
Prize for Chemistry last week, and three
Metro Detroiters with ties to the Technion
couldn't be prouder.
Shechtman, also an associate at the U.S.
Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory
and a professor at Iowa State University,
won for his 1982 discovery of quasicrys-
tals, mosaics of atoms that form regular
patterns that never repeat themselves.
He'll receive $1.5 million.
Bloomfield Hills attorney Larry Jackier,
chairman of the board of governors of the
Technion, knows Shechtman personally.
They met years ago on one of Jackier's
early visits to the campus in Haifa and
have continued their friendship through-
out the last decade.
"What's remarkable about Danny is that

he found a molecular structure that had
never been identified before, and at the
time of his discovery he was ridiculed;'
Jackier said. "Even noted chemist Linus
Palling ridiculed him. Danny was pushed
out of certain research groups. He could
have become very bitter, but he didn't. He
just hung in there, continued his research
and slowly people came to his side'
As time passed, and more scientists
were able to see what he had discovered,
he became revered as a guy who stuck
to his guns and discovered a whole new
atomic structure, which led to advances in
material science, particularly in metals.
"The thing is, if you met him on cam-
pus, you would have no clue of his interna-
tional status:' Jackier said. "He's probably
one of the most-loved professors on that
campus:'
Israeli native Eyal Mizrahi, founder of
Productive Research in Farmington Hills,
was one of Shechtman's students. Mizrahi
studied material engineering at the
Technion when Shechtman was dean of

the faculty. "Professor Shechtman also
headed a program open to all students
on technological entrepreneurship, which
I took:' Mizrahi said. "It inspired me to
launch my own business."
Mizrahi's company, Productive
Research, develops advanced lightweight
materials for the automotive industry and
puts to practical application many of the
things he learned as Shechtman's student.
"I'm so excited that he won',' Mizrahi
said. "It doesn't often happen that some-
one you know receives such an honor. It
also marks the third Nobel laureate in
chemistry at the Technion, which makes
me proud."
Shechtman joins previous Nobel chem-
istry prize winners at the Technion, Avram
Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover, who won
the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for
discovering the ubiquitin system — the
mechanism responsible for disassembling
protein in cells.
All together, the State of Israel has won
10 Nobel prizes in its history, compared to

Israeli Cabinet Approves
Socio-Economic Report
JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli
Cabinet approved the Trajtenberg report,
which proposes solutions to Israel's
socio-economic problems.
The Cabinet approved the report
Sunday by a vote of 21-8. The vote
reportedly came after Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu offered the Yisrael
Beiteinu party a deal to vote in favor.
Netanyahu agreed to more benefits for
working couples, soldiers and those
in national service in exchange for the

votes, the Israeli business daily Globes
reported.
The 14-member committee of aca-
demics and economists, which was
chaired by Manuel Trajtenberg of the
Israel Council for Higher Education and
a former Tel Aviv University econom-
ics professor, was appointed following
mass protests last summer to look at the
problems facing Israel and come up with
solutions.
Among its recommendations, the com-
mittee proposed expanding free educa-
tion to 3- and 4-year-olds; reducing the

excise taxes on fuel and tariffs on electri-
cal products and foodstuffs; increasing
benefits for working mothers; and imple-
menting health and regulatory changes.
The report also called for the construc-
tion of nearly 200,000 new apartments,
encouraging smaller apartments and
rental units, and imposing fines on
empty apartments and development-
ready sites that are not being used.
On the revenue side, along with
defense spending cuts, the committee
recommended increasing taxes on high
earners, corporations and capital gains,

D

Scientific Powerhouse
The Technion, among the world's top 10
science and technology research universi-
ties, has about 11,000 students. It's not
the biggest university in Israel, but with
three Nobel winners, it stands out as intel-
lectually mighty That warm glow of pride
is being felt by many with connections
to the university, including Hannan Lis,
principal of the WW Group Inc., founder
and CEO of Lis Ventures LLC, a venture
fund investing in emerging technologies
and companies, as well as president of the
local Michigan chapter of the American
Technion Society
"I never met the famous professor:' said
Lis, a native of Haifa and former Technion
student. "However, I am incredibly hon-
ored that Technion has become such a
world-recognized powerhouse in science
and technology. Furthermore, I see this
award as another validation of the Zionist
vision of creating a modern Jewish state
that is an example onto other nations and
a source for remaking the Middle East into
a thriving modern region.
"As a Haifa native, I am personally
proud that the Technion is once again
fulfilling the vision of its founding fathers.
In a region marked by hatred, senseless
violence and chronic lack of civility and
freedom, Israel, through and because of
the Technion, triumphs through education
and science Lis said.
Jackier added that he hopes to be able to
see Shechtman receive the award Dec. 10
in Stockholm. "He is a remarkable human
being, and I'm going to do my best to be
there:' I I

as well as freezing planned tax cuts for
the middle class.
Before the vote, Netanyahu said,
"Approving the report will allow us to
submit detailed decisions to the cabinet
in order to lower the cost of living.
"A combination of these steps will
lower the prices of goods and marketing
in the economy, will significantly lower
parents' expenditures for education, will
reduce customs duties and will make
housing more available'

See related editorial on page 37.

October 13 g 2011

29

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