Three Israeli researchers from the Technion, the Weizmann Institute and Tel Aviv University, were announced as the winners of a prestigious award for young scientists this week and are set to receive a prize of $100,000 each for their work.
The Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists are handed to promising young scientists and engineers under the age of 42 for breakthrough research in life sciences, chemistry, and physical sciences and engineering. They were first established in 2007 by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences.
The awards made their Israel debut in 2017 in collaboration with the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Three laureates, one in each category are independently selected each year by three distinguished juries composed of Israel’s leading scientists.
The three laureates of the 2021 Blavatnik Awards in Israel were selected among 37 nominees from seven universities across the country.
They are: Professor Yossi Yovel, an associate professor of Zoology at Tel Aviv University and an Israel Young Academy member who was selected for the award in the life sciences category for his work in neuroecology, the study of how the brain controls behavior in a rapidly changing natural environment and the use of bats to study behavioral responses; Professor Ido Kaminer, an assistant professor at the Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology who nabbed the award in the physical sciences and engineering category for his research into our understanding of the quantum nature of light-matter interactions and the development of novel high energy particle detectors for particle accelerators; and Professor Rafal Klajn, an organic chemist, associate professor and head of the Helen and Martin Kimmel Center for Molecular Design at the Weizmann Institute of Science who won in the chemistry category for his work studying living organisms and external reactions. He’s created cube-shaped, magnetic nanoparticles that are capable of self-assembling into complex double-helical materials in the presence of a magnetic field. These and other dynamic nanomaterials have potential applications in such diverse fields as water purification, and energy storage.
“The passing year has demonstrated just how important groundbreaking science is,” said Len Blavatnik, founder and chairman of Access Industries and head of the Blavatnik Family Foundation. “It’s imperative to encourage young scientists to venture broadly in their respective fields and to push the boundaries of scientific discovery. The achievements by these three outstanding Israeli scientists are testament to their brilliance, perseverance, and imagination—characteristics held by many young Israeli researchers who will continue to make remarkable contributions to science for generations to come.”
The 2021 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in Israel will be conferred, pandemic restrictions allowing, at a ceremony at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem in August.
The Blavatnik Awards in Israel sit alongside their international counterparts, the Blavatnik National Awards and Blavatnik Regional Awards in the United States, and the Blavatnik Awards in the United Kingdom.