3 entrepreneurs win 10-week NASA curriculum prize

Three Israeli innovators are among 80 people worldwide to be awarded a scholarship to a prestigious graduate program at NASA’s Silicon Valley campus.

April 1, 2011 01:20
1 minute read.
Winners of the Nasa curriculum prize.

Nasa prize winners 311. (photo credit: Perry Mendelboym)


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Three Israeli innovators are among only 80 people from around the world to be awarded a scholarship to attend the prestigious annual 10-week Graduate Studies Program at Singularity University, at NASA’s Silicon Valley campus.

All three entrepreneurs – who are in their early 30s and have master’s degrees, or are completing a graduate degree – are the first Israelis to win the competition, which will now be held every year.

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Thirty-two-year-old Heylel Mishal, a solar nano-antenna expert, won his scholarship on Wednesday, along with Omri Yaffe and Tzvika Oron, who together, developed a physiological monitoring sensor. In the “Ramon Breakthrough” competition, all three were predicted to have wide impact in Israel, and abroad, during the coming years.

The local competition was organized by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ramon Foundation, in memory of the late Israel Air Force pilot and astronaut, Ilan Ramon, and his son, Assaf – also a pilot – who was killed in training. Rona Ramon, whose husband and son are memorialized by the foundation, was present at the ceremony, Singularity University is an interdisciplinary university whose mission is to assemble, educate and inspire leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies in order to address humanity’s grand challenges.

With the support of a broad range of leaders in academia, business and government, the unusual university aims to stimulate “groundbreaking, disruptive thinking and solutions aimed at solving some of the planet’s most pressing challenges.”

Among its staffers are experts in artificial intelligence, robotics, biotechnology, bioinformatics, energy and environmental systems, finance, future studies and forecasting, medicine, nanotechnology, space and ethics.

The university offers two main types of programs – the annual 10-week program during the summer, as well as “Exponential Technologies Executive Programs,” held throughout the year.

Yaffe and Oron developed LifeBeam, which monitors many physiological phenomena simultaneously.

Leading academics and hitech entrepreneurs were on the judges panel.

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