24 hours of science
Israel Science Day opens at Weizmann
On March 25, the Weizmann Institute was the launch pad for Israel Science Day, the first in what is expected to become an annual daylong celebration of Israeli prowess in science and technology.
In its early stages, Zionism was nurtured by scientists, noted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, including physician Dr. Max Nordau, mathematician Leo Motzkin, botanist Dr. Otto Warburg, the agronomist Dr. Aharon Aharonson, and Dr. Chaim Weizmann. Scientific investigation, he said, is a “tradition that originated with the biblical Tree of Knowledge. It is in our roots.”
Also in attendance were the Minister of Science, Technology and Space, Ya’acov Peri; UK’s Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts; and Israel’s four Nobel Laureates: Profs. Yisrael Auman, Aharon Ciechanover, Dan Shechtman, and the Weizmann Institute’s Ada Yonath. Said Willetts: “For science to flourish, it must be blind to race, nationality, and religion. Science crosses the borders that politicians can’t easily bridge; it breaks down barriers and brings us together in a common endeavor.”
On the following day, universities, science museums, community centers, and even shopping malls across the country hosted special events focused on key topics in modern science.
“Scientific progress has accomplished amazing things and led us to develop novel capabilities – things that we could not have dreamed of, not only 100 years ago, but even five or ten years ago,” said Prof. Daniel Zajfman, President of the Weizmann Institute. “Will we, as a society, use these capabilities wisely? In order for this to happen, we must invest in scientific education, because there is no point in creating new knowledge if the members of society do not know how to use it.”