Bar Ilan professor wins Israel Prize

Education Minister Naftali Bennett approved the recommendation for the award in the fields of geography, archeology, and knowledge of Israel.

February 11, 2016 02:45
1 minute read.
israel prize

THE WINNERS of this year’s Israel Prize pose during the awards ceremony at the Jerusalem International Conference Center. (photo credit: GIL YOCHANAN/POOL)

Prof. Yossi Katz of Bar Ilan University will be awarded this year’s Israel Prize in Geography, the Education Ministry said this week.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett approved the recommendation for the award in the fields of geography, archeology, and knowledge of Israel.

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The selection committee was headed by Prof. Amnon Cohen and included Prof. Eliezer Oren, Prof. Yossi Ben-Artzi and Prof. Yvonne Friedman.

“Prof. Yossi Katz is an international expert in historical geography. His research and numerous books have focused on the study of the history of Zionist settlement in Israel, buying lands and the centrality of Jerusalem in the Zionist conception,” the prize committee wrote.

“The importance of his research does not touch only the academic ivory tower, but also the practical sphere. His research has direct and significant implications for the national ownership of the land in the State of Israel and on the assets of Holocaust survivors who remain in Israel,” they wrote.

“Prof. Yossi Katz acted and has had a great influence also in the civil service sphere,” they added.

Last week the ministry announced the chemistry and physics awards would go to Prof. Meir Lahav and Prof. Leslie Leiserowitz of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Bennett approved these recommendations.

The prize committee was headed by Prof. Itamar Willner, and its other members included Prof. Amnon Aharony, Prof. Eva Meirovitch and Prof. Ori Cheshnovsky.

The committee wrote in its decision that the winners’ joint research had led to “scientific breakthroughs in the understanding of the processes of self-assembly of chiral structures, similar to the property of the materials in nature.”

“In their joint research over the years, Lahav and Leiserowitz have succeeded in deciphering the chemical mechanisms of the formation of these materials, while developing original chemical methods to formulate them,” they wrote.

It was also noted that these experts had achieved international acclaim for achievements, which have been “used as the basis for understanding processes in nature that are used as a scientific foundation for the future development of drugs.”

The Israel Prize, presented on Independence Day, is widely regarded as the state’s highest honor.

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