A Tel Aviv University scientist will follow in the footsteps of inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison, radioactivity pioneers Marie and Pierre Curie, aviation pioneer Orville Wright, theoretical physicists Albert Einstein and Prof. Stephen Hawking and Microsoft founder Bill Gates to receive the Benjamin Franklin Medal.Eighty-three-year-old Prof. Zvi Hashin (emeritus) of the mechanical engineering department will receive the prestigious award on April 26 in Philadelphia for his “groundbreaking contributions to the accurate analysis of composite materials, which have enabled practical engineering designs of lightweight composite structures – commonly used today in aerospace, marine, automotive and civil infrastructure.”His work on “elasticity calculation of complex materials” was previously chosen as one of the 100 most important discoveries in mechanical engineering in the 20th century, and he received the Israel Prize in Engineering for 2007.The Franklin Medal, established in 1824 and named for the great American inventor and diplomat, will also be given in chemistry, computers and cognitive science, environmental and earth sciences, life sciences, electrical engineering and physics.Hashin, who established TAU’s mechanical, materials and structural engineering department, is one of the world’s experts in composite materials and mathematical models. He has also done a considerable amount of research for the US military, especially the navy and air force, and for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.Founded in the same year as the the Franklin Institute, the awards program has long been recognized as the oldest, and most comprehensive science and technology honor bestowed in the US and around the world. At the time, Philadelphia was America’s largest city and a noted center of innovation and manufacturing. While the Franklin Institute was initially established to train artisans and mechanics in the fundamentals of science, it soon began arranging a series of regular exhibitions of manufactured goods, along with the presentation of awards to recognize excellence in those areas.Laureates are brought to Pennsylvania each April for a week-long series of events and activities aimed at connecting and celebrating their accomplishments with area students and the community. The institute seeks to broaden public awareness and encourage an understanding of the world of science and technology.