The Institute’s roots hark back to the Daniel Sieff Research Institute built in 1934 with the support of Israel and Rebecca Sieff of London in memory of their son Daniel. It was established upon the initiative of Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the driving force behind its scientific activity and its first President. A world-renowned chemist, he headed the Zionist movement for many years and later became the first President of the State of Israel.
In November 1944, with the agreement of the Sieff family, it was decided that the Sieff Institute would become the nucleus of a large-scale research institution named after Dr. Chaim Weizmann. On 2 November 1949, Dr. Weizmann’s 75th birthday, the Weizmann Institute was formally dedicated.
The Weizmann Institute of Science played a key role in the development of the State of Israel. Its scientists pioneered cancer research in Israel, and they designed and built the first electronic computer in the country – one of the first in the world. They were the first in Israel to establish a nuclear physics department, which led to the construction of a particle accelerator; and they were the first to create an academically linked office for technology transfer and to initiate the creation of a science-based industrial park, built near the Institute. The Institute also played a pioneering role in the development of brain research, nanotechnology and solar energy research.
Weizmann Institute research has led to the development and production of Israel’s first ethical (original) drug, the invention of new computer languages, the discovery of the three-dimensional structure of various biological molecules (including a molecule that plays a key role in Alzheimer’s disease), optical innovations on which the manufacture of advanced products, such as head displays for pilots and physicians, is based, the creation of ways to separate isotopes that are now applied in various places around the world, the mapping and deciphering of the genes involved in numerous diseases, the development of advanced methods for embryonic tissue transplant and the design of a nano-biological computer that may one day be able to operate in the body’s cells, identifying disease processes and blocking them before they cause damage.