Foundations of a country and a world-class institution
The Weizmann Institute was founded by Dr. Chaim Weizmann (1874-1952) in 1934 as the Daniel Sieff Research Institute, named in memory of the son of U.K. donors Rebecca and Israel Sieff. The Institute was renamed in honor of Dr. Weizmann in 1949. 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.
History: selected milestones
- Dr. Chaim Weizmann’s archives contain more than 200,000 documents including letters from Albert Einstein and Lord Arthur James Balfour
- In 1941, Dr. Weizmann established the first pharmaceutical company in Israel, Palestine Pharmaceutical Products, Ltd.
- 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.
- The Institute’s Feinberg Graduate School was the first academic institution in Israel to teach computer science.
- The Weizmann Institute of Science was the first to introduce cancer research in Israel and the first to build particle accelerators.
- The Institute was the first to establish, in 1959, a technology transfer company, Yeda. To date, it has registered nearly 2,000 families of patents.
- Israel’s first ethical drug, Copaxone®, developed at the Weizmann Institute of Science, received FDA approval in 1997.
- The Institute established the first hi-tech park in Israel, Kiryat Weizmann, adjacent to the campus.
- One Nobel laureate and three Turing Award laureates have been associated with the Weizmann Institute of Science.
History of Philanthropy
The history of the Weizmann Institute of Science is interwoven with that of its friends and benefactors from around the world. Established originally with the generous support of the Sieff family of the UK, the Weizmann Institute has proudly assembled a wide international network of friends and supporters, all of whom share our vision of science for the benefit of humanity.
The Weizmann Institute campus pays tribute to these exceptional philanthropists through its buildings, plazas, halls, and courts. Their names, etched in stone, are an inspiration to our community.