Israel Academy of Sciences chooses six life members

The academy now includes 125 members.

Technion University (photo credit: Courtesy)
Technion University
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Six leading scientists have been chosen for life membership in the prestigious Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Jerusalem.
They will deliver their first lectures in a traditional festive Hanukka ceremony next Tuesday. The academy now includes 125 members.
The scientists are:
Prof. Yonina Eldar, electrical engineering, at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa;
Prof. Ronnie Ellenblum, geography, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem;
Prof. Zelig Eshhar, immunology, at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot;
Prof. Eyal Benvenisti, law, at Tel Aviv University;
Prof. Ya’akov Kaduri, Bible, at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan;
and Prof. Andrew Plaks, East Asian studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University.
Academy president Prof. Nili Cohen on Monday evening congratulated the new members and said that their joining strengthens the ranks will help it achieve its goals and develop the wide range of scientific activities in the coming years.
The academy was established by law in 1961 with the aim of bringing together the best scientists in Israel, to nurture and promote scientific activity and to advise Israeli governments regarding research and scientific planning of national importance.
• Eldar heads the SAMPL laboratory at the Technion and is also a research fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an associate professor at Duke University and was a visiting professor at Stanford University. Her research interests include the development of algorithms for representation, transmission, signal processing and information processing. In recent years she has focused on effective sampling techniques, signal processing and optimization in communication systems, radar and medical imaging, signal processing for optics using super-resolution techniques and computational biology.
• Ellenblum specializes in medieval biographies, the history of the Levant in the Middle Ages, and the Crusades. His recent research deals with environmental and climatic history, the history of urbanization and the history of Jerusalem. He has developed a comprehensive theoretical approach to “fragility” during a relatively short period of one or two years in which climatic disturbances occur.
• Eshhar’s research has contributed greatly to understanding the immune system’s activity in normal conditions and in dealing with diseases. The highlight of his scientific work is the development of genetically engineered T cells for the destruction of cancerous cells. Clinical trials of the method he developed have already yielded positive results and saved the lives of patients.
• Benvenisti’s field of expertise is international law, constitutional law and administrative law. In the area of international law, he dealt with these issues – laws of war, management of transboundary natural resources, decision making in international organizations, the role and structure of international tribunals, the interrelationship between national law and international law, the status of transnational corporations and minority rights.
• Kaduri, born in New York in 1945, came to Israel and began teaching as a full professor at the Bible department of BIU. He is one of the most important and renowned researchers in Jewish studies of this generation. His research has been published in many articles and books that have been translated into various languages such as Russian, French, Japanese and Korean.
• Plaks is regarded as one of the greatest scholars of China and the Far East in our generation, and a world renowned expert on classical Chinese literature.
Over the course of these years, the center of his interest gradually shifted from the literary masterpieces to the basic texts of Chinese philosophy, from antiquity to the end of the empire.