Second woman professor will become president of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities

Prof. Nili Cohen was chosen at a general assembly of academy members on Tuesday.

June 10, 2015 18:54
2 minute read.
 Prof. Nili Cohen

Prof. Nili Cohen. (photo credit: ISRAEL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES AND THE ARTS)


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The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities’ first-ever woman president will be succeeded by second woman, Tel Aviv University legal expert Prof. Nili Cohen.

She will succeed leading biochemist and immunologist Prof. Ruth Arnon of the Weizmann Institute of Science, whose term has ended.

Cohen will begin her fiveyear term in the fall. Prof. David Harel of the computer science and applied mathematics department at Weizmann will be deputy president and succeed the outgoing deputy, Prof. Benzion Kedar, an expert in Jewish history at the Hebrew University.

The academy is the foremost scientific body in Israel and was established in 1961 to bring together the leading lights in the sciences and humanities. It advises the government regarding research and planning of national importance. There are today 120 distinguished members from the natural and exact sciences, liberal arts, and social sciences.

Cohen’s research interests are contracts, torts, restitution, comparative law, and law and literature. She is the author of Interference with Contractual Relations, edited Comparative Remedies for Breach of Contract and contributed a chapter to the book. She is the recipient of the Sussman Prize (twice), Zeltner Prize, the Rector Prize for Excellence in Teaching (twice), the Minkoff Prize for Excellence in Law.

She is also the incumbent Benno Gitter Chair in Comparative Contract Law and the director of the Beverly and Raymond Sackler Fund for Human Rights in Private Law. She served as rector of Tel Aviv University between 1997 and 2001.

Harel has been at Weizmann since 1980 and was dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science from 1998 for seven years. With degrees from Bar-Ilan University, Tel Aviv University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he spent two years at IBM’s Yorktown Heights research center, sabbatical years at Carnegie-Mellon University, Cornell University and the University of Edinburgh, and shorter visiting positions at IBM, Lucent Technologies Bell Labs, NASA and other institutions. He was also co-founder of I-Logix, Inc. in 1984, which was acquired by Telelogic in 2006, and which, in turn, was acquired by IBM in 2008.

The nine new members are Prof. Yoram Bilu of the Hebrew University’s psychology and anthropology department; TAU math and statistics Prof. Yoav Binyamini; HU jurist Prof. Ruth Gavison; Weizmann computer expert Prof. Shafi Goldwasser; TAU Hebrew literature Prof. Avner Holtzman; TAU archeology Prof. Yisrael Finkelstein; Ben-Gurion University chemical engineering Prof. Joseph Kost; Weizmann molecular geneticist Prof. Adi Kimchi; and HU biologist Prof. Eli Keshet.

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