Reunion of the Faculty of Chemistry
Some 500 alumni of the Faculty of Chemistry and their families gathered for the first-ever reunion of the Faculty of Chemistry at the Weizmann Institute, held at Memorial Plaza on campus on October 3. The Plaza was shaped to resemble a timeline divided into decades, starting from the 1960’s to the 21st century, and the design served as a fitting background for meeting old friends and reminiscing.
A few days after event, news broke that Prof. Arieh Warshel, Prof. Michael Levitt, and Prof. Martin Karplus were the winners of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for 2013. Both Prof. Warshel and Prof. Levitt are former scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science, and the latter is also an Institute alumnus. Prof. Levitt served as the Head of the Department of Chemical Physics and today frequents the Institute to work with scientists from the Faculty of Chemistry.
Prof. Daniel Zajfman, President of the Weizmann Institute of Science, stated in his speech that Weizmann Institute alumni hold 25 percent of all science PhD degrees in Israel. Dean of the Faculty, Prof. Gilad Haran, congratulated the audience and surveyed the development of the Faculty in recent years, emphasizing the breadth of scientific topics its scientists currently explore. Yael Goren-Wegman, Director of the Alumni Association and organizer of the event, spoke of the strong bond between the Institute and its Alumni, and expressed hope that this bond will become even stronger following the launch of a business and social network for Institute alumni.
The event was attended by many alumni who now serve in key positions in academia and in biotech and pharmaceutical industries, in Israel and abroad.
Four alumni representatives spoke about the long journey they have had since the days spent inside the labs and on the lawns of the Weizmann Institute. Prof. Zeev Luz described the development of the Faculty in the last 50 years as it pertained to Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. Prof. Ada Yonath, 2009 Nobel Laureate of Chemistry, spoke of the patience required in undertaking basic research, describing her own career path and the recognition she received after many years of research.
Other speakers included Dr. Avri Havron, CEO of Prolor Biotech, and Brigadier General (ret.) Dr. Ezi (Elzazar) Tzadok, who served as the head of the Criminal Investigation Unit for the Israeli Police, who spoke about the role of chemistry in solving criminal cases, including some of the most well-known cases in Israel.