Eight exemplary doctoral students in Israeli universities will receive scholarships totaling $1 million, donated by the Marcel Adams Scholarship Fund, through the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
In addition, for the first time, former Academy president Prof. Ruth Arnon has established a fund to provide scholarships to outstanding female post-doctoral students.
Half of the doctoral scholarship recipients are women this year. Each of the scholars will receive $30,000 a year for four years of study in addition to an exemption to paying tuition. A ceremony for the recipients will be held on July 11 at the academy adjacent to Beit Hanassi in Jerusalem will include a seminar hosting Arnon, an eminent Weizmann Institute scientist who was a member of the team that developed Copaxone for treating multiple sclerosis.
Although Marcel Adams has traditionally attended the ceremony in the capital, he will be represented this year by his daughter, Linda, who lives in Jerusalem, and his son Silvan, who recently came on aliya from Canada with his wife, Margaret.
The Hebrew-speaking philanthropist who escaped from a forced-labor camp in Romania in 1944, fought in the War of Independence and made his fortune in Montreal endowed the Adams Fellowship Program to support Israel’s brightest doctoral students in the natural and exact sciences each year.
Adams (originally Abramovich) was born in Piatra-Neamt, Romania in 1920. The anti-Semitic regime in Romania during the Holocaust interrupted his studies, triggering a lifelong quest for learning and a zest for the life of the mind. An active member of Hanoar Hazioni in Bucharest, Adams survived forced labor, food shortages and arbitrary harassment by the authorities.
After coming to Israel with the Jewish Agency’s help in 1944, Adams settled in Pardes Hanna and participated in the War of Independence. He moved to Canada in 1951 and worked as a tanner before going into real estate. He eventually developed dozens of properties, mostly in eastern Canada, including Galeries de la Capitale, the largest shopping mall in the province of Quebec. With his late wife Annie, he established Tel Aviv University’s Adams Institute for Business Management Information Systems and endowed the university’s Adams Super Center for Brain Research. A Montreal resident, proud father of four and grandfather of eleven, he remains full of energy, works a full week and looks at least a decade younger than his years.
Adams officially signed an agreement to establish the Adams Fellowships with the academy in May 2005. The fund is large enough to provide $1 million annually to outstanding Ph.D. students, covering their full tuition and living expenses throughout four years of study, including funds for attending scientific conferences abroad.
Most recipients are aged 26 to 34.
Adams wishes to pay back his 1944 debt to Israel and the Jewish People for giving him a new identity and hope for rebuilding from the ashes of Europe. The fellowship helps young men and women thrive technologically, scientifically and intellectually.
In turn, Adams believes they will carry the flag for the next generation and for future generations.
Former academy president Prof. Menahem Yaari has described the agreement as one of the most important documents ever for the future of higher education in Israel. A professional committee at the academy reviews applications from doctoral students and chooses the awardees for study in such fields as organic chemistry, molecular biology, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, physics, genetics, computer science and brain research.
Current academy president Prof. Nili Cohen said the careful process of choosing recipients ensures that they – for the 12th year in a row – represent the best among doctoral students who will contribute to Israel’s future.
So far, of 81 Adams scholars, 26 have been hired by the universities for senior academic positions, two in research positions at the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, 10 in Israeli hi-tech businesses and three in Israeli post-doctoral positions.
This year’s recipients are: Angelica Elkan Niazov of the organic chemistry department at Weizmann. She and her family came on aliya from Tashkent when she was five years old. She is researching nanotech materials for environment- friendly purposes.
Hezi Grisaro of the industrial and environmental engineering department at the Haifa Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.
He joined the IDF’s academic program at 18 and is working to develop mechanisms to protect buildings from explosions.
Yael Korem, who is studying the molecular biology of cells at Weizmann. She studied at the Hebrew University in the multidisciplinary Amirim program and focused on mathematical models of biological systems.
She is now working on bioinformatics and plans to develop new drugs.
Gali Noti of the computer sciences department at the Hebrew University. She is studying game theory and behavioral algorithms and their influence on people influenced by interactions.
Avia Raviv Moshe, a Tel Aviv University student of theoretical physics of particles.
She excelled math, physics and chemistry and volunteered for national service, working with children at risk. She is married and has a baby girl. She wants to encourage children in the periphery to study science.
Asael Roichman of Bar-Ilan University’s life sciences management department.
Married with three daughters, he was raised in Jerusalem and studied math in Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is focusing on the study of aging and metabolism as well as cancer research.
Alexander Schleyfman, of the industrial and management engineering department of the Technion. He came on aliya as a child from the Ukraine, received a math degree and aims at developing algorithms in artificial intelligence.
Amitai Yovel of the math department at the Hebrew University. Married with a child, he composed and played music and even performed in a circus. He says he is ready to research math.
The Ruth Arnon post-doctoral prizes of $20,000 a year will go to Rivka Bekenstein of the physics department at the Technion who will research basic physics at Harvard and to Dr. Sophia Buhbut Sinai of the Weizmann Institute. She will study solar energy at the University of Utrecht in Holland.