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Celebrating excellence

Weizmann Institute bestows its 2018 honorary degrees


Special events

Date: October 29, 2018
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PhD honoris causa recipients

PhD honoris causa recipients

The Weizmann Institute of Science is pleased to bestow honorary doctorates upon six extraordinary individuals on November 5. The ceremony takes place as part of the 70th Annual General Meeting of the International Board.

The recipients, in alphabetical order, are:

Ido Dissentshik has combined a successful career in journalism and business with a lifetime of public service and commitment to Israeli society, most recently as Chair of the Weizmann Institute’s Executive Board. A former editor-in-chief of Maariv—one of Israel’s leading daily newspapers—Mr. Dissentshik also founded the business and economics portal Analyst Online. He is one of the founders of the Davidson Institute of Science Education.

Dr. Fabiola Gianotti is a renowned particle physicist who currently serves as the Director-General of CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), which operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. The first woman to hold the Director-General’s position, Dr. Gianotti also served as project leader  of the ATLAS project at CERN, representing this global community of scientists in the announcement of the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson.

Ellen Merlo is one of the Weizmann Institute’s strongest and most steadfast pillars of support. After retiring from a successful career in marketing and corporate communications, she became an energetic advocate for the Institute, galvanizing support for stem cell research and the promotion of women in science, among other areas, while promoting initiatives related to the State of Israel and Jewish life. Ms. Merlo has served in numerous leadership roles in the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science and on the Weizmann Institute’s Executive Board and International Board, and she is currently National Chair of the American Committee.

Sir Paul Nurse is a Nobel Prize-winning geneticist and cell biologist whose research findings on cell growth and division have broad implications for the study of cancer and other diseases. He discovered cdc2, a gene that plays a pivotal role in cell cycle progression.  A former President of New York’s Rockefeller University, he served as President of the Royal Society between 2010-2015, and currently is Director of the Executive Committee of London’s Francis Crick Institute.  Sir Paul is an ardent supporter of advancing relations between the U.K. and Israel.

Chair of the Weizmann Institute’s Swiss Society of Friends, Eric Stupp is a leading financial lawyer. Regularly advising government and financial institutions in the US and Europe, Mr. Stupp is the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Goldman Sachs Bank AG, Zurich, and serves on the boards of a number of additional industrial and financial concerns.  A steadfast friend of the Weizmann Institute, Mr. Stupp has significantly expanded Swiss awareness and support of the Institute’s scientific activities. He serves on the Weizmann Institute’s Executive Board.

As a pioneer of plant molecular biology, Prof. Marc van Montagu has made critical scientific discoveries that form the basis of biotechnological approaches that are successfully addressing the problem of global food security. He is perhaps most renowned for identifying the tumor-inducing (Ti) plasmid and the invention of the Agrobacterium tumefaciens transformation technology, used worldwide to produce genetically engineered plants. Born in Belgium, he is a professor emeritus at Ghent University, where he remains a tireless advocate for the transfer of plant biotechnology for the economic, environmental, and health benefits of the emerging and developing nations.

The honorary PhD recipients

The honorary PhD recipients