The Weizmann Institute at 70
Celebrations marking the major milestone focus on curiosity, excellence
The Weizmann Institute has embarked on its 70th anniversary year, celebrating its founding in 1949, a year after the establishment of the State of Israel, with a series of events for the public, friends, and employees.
While the Daniel Sieff Research Institute was established in 1934 on the sandy hills of Rehovot, it was renamed and formally established as the Weizmann Institute of Science 15 years later to honor its founder and Israel’s first President, Dr. Chaim Weizmann. In celebration of this anniversary year and as a way to remember Dr. Weizmann and his vision, the Institute is holding a series of special events in the coming months.
The annual and highly popular Science on Tap lectures—in which Weizmann scientists “take over” 50 Tel Aviv bars for lay-friendly talks—will take place this year on June 12, and will highlight the 70th anniversary. Throughout the summer, Weizmann employees will host similar events in their homes—called “Take-Home Science”—in which they host family, friends, and colleagues for informal talks by scientists.
A fun and inspiring event for employees will be held on campus on September 26. The 70th anniversary celebrations will culminate in a festive event during the Annual General Meeting of the International Board in November. Stay tuned for something special.
A visionary with a plan for excellence
Dr. Weizmann was a renowned chemist and ardent Zionist who saw his vision of the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel and of higher education in Israel all come to fruition during his lifetime. In partnership with others he established the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1925 and the Weizmann Institute of Science.
While working as a lecturer at the University of Manchester, Dr. Weizmann developed the process for producing acetone through bacterial fermentation, which was of great importance to the British during World War I. He worked with Lord Arthur James Balfour to write the Balfour Declaration in support of the establishment of the State of Israel and met with U.S. President Harry Truman to convince him to support the State’s establishment. Dr. Weizmann became the first President of the State of Israel. His residence on the Weizmann Institute campus is now a museum and a national landmark.
Milestones worth remembering
In its short but illustrious history, the Institute has become a world leader in basic science in the natural and exact sciences. Its Feinberg Graduate School trains a quarter of Israel’s PhDs in science; its research is cited by nearly 40,000 publications by other scientists in a single year; and its own scientists publish about 1,600 studies per year. Its tech transfer unit, YEDA, grants about 130 patents per year, and Weizmann research has led to the developed of blockbuster drugs including Copaxone, Rebif, Erbitux, Humira, Enbrel, and Tookad.
One Nobel laureate and three Turing Award laureates have been associated with the Weizmann Institute of Science. WEIZAC, the first computer in Israel, and one of the first in the world, was designed and built at the Weizmann Institute in 1954; it laid the foundations of Israel’s booming computer industry.