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Prof. Simon Schama, Prof. Stanley Fischer

among PhD honoris causa recipients

Special events

Date: March 29, 2015
Weizmann Magazine Vol. 7

Every year, in a special session of the Annual General Meeting, the Weizmann Institute recognizes the achievements of individuals whose inspiring contributions to society resonate well beyond their own fields of activity, by conferring on them its highest honor, the degree of Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa.

This year, six honorary PhDs were awarded to:


Prof. Marvin L. Cohen,

one of the world’s foremost condensed-matter physicists. Speaking at the ceremony, the celebrated scientist referred to the use of math and physical concepts to explain nature as the driving force of his life, and called the PhD a “special honor” as it is given “…for the work that I love, from an Institute that I love, in a country that I love.”


Prof. Stanley Fischer,

a preeminent economist and expert on financial crises and current Vice Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve. Prof. Fischer was an academic-turned-policymaker whose term as Governor of the Bank of Israel (2005-2013) earned him plaudits across the board, as well as the respect and trust of the Israeli public.


Lia Koenig,

an acclaimed stage and screen actress, whose supreme comic ability combined with a sensitive dramatic power has left an indelible mark on Israeli culture. Koenig said that unlike scientists “who leave a mark on time itself, I am an actress; what I do lasts just a short time. Yet we share a sense of play in what we do - whether it’s Shakespeare or quantum physics.”


Prof. Jesse Roth,

a world-renowned diabetes researcher, best known for his work on cell-surface membrane receptors and other molecules of intercellular communication. He spoke of his enthusiasm at the Weizmann Institute’s decision to take a leading role in personalized medicine, which, drawing from his vast experience, he explained as “a richer ongoing exchange between patient, doctors, and researchers.”


Dr. Herbert Winter,

a highly esteemed member of the European legal establishment whose life-long commitment to public service and to the Jewish community are manifested, among many other endeavors, by his activities on the Weizmann Institute’s Swiss Association of Friends and European Committee. Speaking of his many years’ of association with the Institute, he called curiosity the “the key motor for scientific success.”


Prof. Simon Schama of Columbia University has researched, lectured on, and written about history and art history, with a remarkable oeuvre that includes scholarly writings, popular books, and 50 documentaries on art, history, and literature. Delivering the ceremony’s keynote speech, he underscored the “indivisibility of the humanities and the sciences in any account given of the thinking Jewish mind” throughout the ages, saying “…it was through medicine that Jews opened the doors to their host cultures; cultures that where often very suspicious of them”.