Hebrew University updates

Israeli Government Approves $18 Million USD for New Albert Einstein Museum at Hebrew University

Israeli Government Approves $18 Million USD for New Albert Einstein Museum at Hebrew University

23 October, 2022

 

Today, Israel’s government approved the establishment of the Albert Einstein Museum at Safra Campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, at the cost of $18 million USD / NIS 64 million.

 

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This project, led by the Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, includes the construction of a unique building on the university’s Safra Campus at Givat Ram that will house the full Einstein archives. The archives will be accessible to the general public in digital format and the museum will also serve as an innovative space for scientific and technological education.

The Albert Einstein Museum will showcase the research, activities, and legacy of Albert Einstein, a Nobel prizewinner and one of the world’s most renown scientists. With cutting-edge exhibition techniques, scientific demonstrations, and original documents, the Museum will present Einstein’s contributions to science, the impact of his discoveries on our lives today, his public activity and involvement in key historical moments during his lifetime.  Further, the Museum will highlight Einstein’s deep connection with the destiny of the Jewish people, the State of Israel, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, of which he was a founder.

Visitors will be able to tour a reconstruction of Einstein’s library and office, and to view several original papers of his.  The project directors expect the Albert Einstein Museum to become a major tourist attraction in Israel.

This initiative was made possible through funding by Israel’s Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage, headed by MK Ze’ev Elkin, as well as the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, the Ministry of Finance, and the Prime Minister’s Office. The government will provide NIS 22.5 million and the University NIS 41.5 million.

MK Ze’ev Elkin, Minister of Construction and Housing, and of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage: “Today, as the new academic year opens, we are passing an important resolution for strengthening academia in Israel, the capital of Israel, and the Hebrew University. The establishment of the Albert Einstein Museum and the provision of a permanent home for the full Einstein archives will bolster the standing of Israeli academia in general, and of the Hebrew University in particular, in the international arena; will reinforce the international status of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; and will bring tens of thousands of tourists to this unique site. I would like to thank our partners in this unique project in the government and at the university, and as a Hebrew University graduate and former lecturer, I would like to wish every success to the hundreds of thousands of students who are beginning their academic studies today.”

Professor Asher Cohen, president of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem: “Albert Einstein was one of the most prominent supporters of the State of Israel and one of the founding fathers of Hebrew University. His legacy of excellence in academic research forms the very foundation of our university, whereas his scientific achievements, which changed the world of physics, continue to impact all of our lives, from lasers and nuclear energy to GPS and space travel. These developments, and many more, can be traced to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. On behalf of the entire Hebrew University community, I would like to thank Minister Ze’ev Elkin and the government of Israel for helping to establish of this museum, which will preserve and cherish the legacy of the greatest scientist of our time.”

 

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HU Entrance

HEBREW UNIVERSITY RANKED ISRAEL’S LEADING UNIVERSITY IN 15 ACADEMIC SUBJECTS

19 July, 2022

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) has maintained its status as the leading academic institution in Israel and was ranked number one in half the academic subjects assessed, according to Shaghai Ranking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects published today.  Further, Hebrew University was ranked among the 50 best academic institutions in the world in Mathematics, Law, Communications, and Public Policy.

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According to the ranking, the Hebrew University placed 17th worldwide in Mathematics and Communications and 30th in Law.  In Israel, HU was ranked first for the following subjects: Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences, Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Environmental Sciences, Water Resources, Food Sciences, Agriculture, Dentistry, Medical Technology, Economics, Law, Political Science, Communications, and Public Policy.

Professor Asher Cohen, President of Hebrew University, noted, “Academic and research excellence is part of Hebrew University’s DNA. The amazing breakthroughs happening here will enable all of us to live better, healthier and, most likely, longer lives, as well.  Hebrew U.’s strong position helps our alumni pave the way to lead Israel to achievements on an international scale.”

Shanghai Ranking Consultancy, the independent body which publishes the yearly ARWU, uses six objective indicators to rank world universities, including the number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, the number of highly cited researchers, the number of articles published in journals of Nature and Science, the number of articles indexed in the Science Citation Index, and universities’ per capita performance. 

For the full list of rankings, see http://www.shanghairanking.com    

 

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Zelenskyy

UKRAINE PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY ADDRESSES HEBREW UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY

23 June, 2022

Today, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) in a live speech from Kiev. The speech was broadcast on the university’s social media channels and followed by Q&A with students and staff.

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In a war-torn country that has seen 4 months of fierce fighting since the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022, Zelenskyy said to the students assembled, “When the war will end, and I believe it will, we will have to look into one another’s eyes for many generations to come—That’s why I wanted to speak with you, the current generation, today.”

Zelenskyy singled out Israel for not doing more to help Ukraine, “This is about values.  Anyone who seeks to destroy another country needs to be held accountable.  Unfortunately, we have not yet seen Israel join the other countries that are boycotting Russia.“

During the Q&A, several HU students asked what can be done to keep news of the war in Ukraine front and center. Another student, born in from Kharkiv, proudly told Zelenskyy that her father is currently in Ukraine fighting against the Russians.  Moved by this news, Zelenskyy shared “Ukraine’s warriors and civilians need medication, drinking water, fuel. People forget that there is a war going on in Ukraine. No matter where you are, where you study, you can to help those that are fighting.  We have many student volunteers who are collecting donations online to send food and medication to our cities under attack.  We also have student volunteers writing on social media to make sure the word doesn’t forget about the war and to spread the truth to the world.”

 

Over the past few months, the Hebrew University has taken in Ukrainian a number of researchers and students who managed to escape the horrors of war.  They, too were in the audience.  Zelenskyy spoke of his—and his nation’s ties to the Jewish people, noting, “My office is located in the very center of Kiev.  Nearby is the house where Golda Meir grew up.  Not far is where Sholem Aleichem lived.  This is the heritage of Ukraine…it isn’t just historical facts.  It’s real human life that has brought our cultures together.”  Zelenskyy lamented the impact that the war has had on national sites in Ukraine, including the monument at Babi Yar honoring Jewish victims, “The Russians even bombed Babi Yar…We all remember and treasure these sites. This is all under threat. How can you preserve memorial places during an all-out war?”, he asked.

 

Zelenskyy couldn’t help noting the difference between the calm HU auditorium where HU students and faculty assembled for his address and the current state of Ukraine’s universities, “2,000 academic institutions in Ukraine have been destroyed.  Can you imagine it, sitting in your lovely auditorium in Hebrew University?”  He went on to add, “Week after week…the Russians are trying to hide the fact that they’ve been burying dead Ukrainian civilians in unmarked graves.  They’re killing and raping and torturing innocent civilians long the way…By our estimates, more than 12 million Ukrainians have been displaced.  We haven’t seen these number since World War 2.  How can you not help the victims of such aggression?”

 

In his remarks, HU President Professor Asher Cohen welcomed Zelenskyy, sharing

"President Zelenskyy’s address to the Hebrew University community today is a seamless continuation of our policy to not remain indifferent when innocent people are killed, families are destroyed, and life is put on hold by an unjust and unnecessary war.  We, as individuals, and certainly as Israel’s leading academic institution, cannot afford to remain passive in the wake of Russia’s invasion of a sovereign country.  We must do everything in our power to reach out and help the people of Ukraine."

 

The Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk also attended Zelenskyy’s address.  He shared, "We appreciate the support we’ve received from the citizens of Israel and now ask for support from Israel’s government, as well. Please help the Ukrainian people in their distress.”

 

Looking ahead, Zelenskyy was optimistic about Ukraine’s candidacy for European Union membership, “We’re moving towards a new future, closer to the European family.  Soon we will be part of that family.  This is for our children—to become a European state that will be part of the EU.  This will provide us with strong protection.” 

 

 

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Pablo

AND THE 2022 HEBREW UNIVERSITY DAN MAYDAN PRIZE FOR NANOSCIENCE GOES TO…MIT PROF. PABLO JARILLO-HERRERO

25 May, 2022

MIT physics Professor Pablo Jarillo-Herrero has won the 2022 Dan Maydan Prize for Nanoscience Research for his pioneering work on two-dimensional nanomaterials.  The Dan Maydan Prize was established by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) in 2018, with the generous contribution of Dr. Maydan, who played a central role in establishing the Israeli National Nanotechnology Initiative (INNI). 

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The INNI helped position Israel as a leader in nanotech and led to the opening of 10 nanotech centers in the country, including HU’s Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.

 

The annual $10,000 USD Maydan Prize is awarded to outstanding young scientists from Israel or abroad in recognition of their significant academic accomplishments in the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology.  Prizewinners are carefully chosen by the selection committee, headed by HU Professors Uri Banin, Committee Chair and Founding Director of the Center; Uriel Levy, current Director of the Center; and Reem Sari, HU VP for Research and Development.

Jarillo-Herrero was chosen for his pioneering work on stacked van-der-Waals materials, including his contributions to understanding topological and magnetic phases, and for his discovery of superconductivity and correlated states in twisted bilayer graphene. As selection chair Banin noted, “Professor Jarillo-Herrero has opened up a new frontier in the field of nanomaterials and their physics.  Based on his groundbreaking research, we can now produce transistors based on superconductors and other apparatuses that form the basis for innovative logic devices.”

 

Past Maydan Prize recipients include Yi Cui (2019), Ali Javey (2020), Maksym V. Kovalenko (2021), and Andrea Alu (2021).

 

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About Hebrew University’s Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

Established in 2001, the Center fosters world-class, cross-disciplinary research in the fields of chemistry, physics, engineering, life sciences, agriculture, pharmacy, and medicine.  As home to more than 100 research groups and 600 M.Sc. and Ph.D. students, the Center enables Israel’s best and brightest scientists, engineers and students to work at the forefront of nanotech innovation.

 

 

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Minority

SEEING MEMBERS OF MINORITY GROUPS EVERYWHERE? IT IS AN ILLUSION

3 May, 2022

Hebrew U. Team Finds People Overestimate the Presence of Minorities Around Them, Impeding Efforts to Build a more Equitable and Inclusive Society

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Attempts to build a more equitable and inclusive society has taken a step forward with the discovery of a "diversity illusion" by a team of researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU).  Their findings clearly show that within a social setting most people significantly overestimate the presence of a minority – and this overestimation is made not only by the majority but also by the minority themselves.  Moreover, they found that this illusion is likely to hamper attempts to build a more equitable society, as it leads to less support for policies aimed at promoting diversity.  Their findings were published in PNAS, the journal of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

 

"I believe that our work has immediate and real-life implications," said research team leader, Professor Ran Hassin at HU’s Psychology Department and The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality.   To counteract this bias, he suggests two things must be done to improve decision making: the actual numbers of the minority need to be made known and people need to understand how they are affected by this cognitive bias.  But being aware of the diversity illusion is just the first step, explains Hassin, "we also need to be motivated to fix it," then we can move towards the implementation of better policies.

 

The HU team's first experiment focused on students at the university, where the majority is Jewish-Israeli and the minority (around 12%) is Palestinian-Israeli (Arab).  The students were asked to recall instances of walking through the main hallway of the university campus and estimate what percentage of Arab students there are at the university. Both Jewish and Arab students gave much higher estimates (Jewish students estimated 31% and Arab students estimated 35%).

 

"At first, we couldn't believe the results, so we ran the same experiment several times," says Dr. Rasha Kardosh, a postdoctoral student. It was in fact Dr. Kardosh who initially suggested this research project. She had been amazed to discover that it had never been researched before.  As a social psychologist from a minority group (namely, Arab), she has been able to bring new perspectives to the field. 

 

These first astonishing results were repeated in several other experiments, including one with American participants viewing a grid of a 100 student faces, with 25% of African American faces randomly scattered among white ones.  A vast overestimation of the minority (over 40%) was recorded by both white and African American participants, confirming that being part of the minority had no effect on gauging the correct estimate of fellow-minorities.

 

For an explanation of the diversity illusion, Dr. Kadosh points to the well-established fact that "our cognitive system switches its focus to what it doesn’t expect.  Just think of walking through the vegetable section of a supermarket and suddenly seeing a bottle of laundry detergent among the potatoes."   In a social setting, that focus can be on the minority group, and the shift of focus makes the event claim more importance in our perception and memories; the result is an overestimation of the minority.  Both she and Prof. Hassin now plan to investigate how this effect impacts on our perception of other minorities.

 

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CITATION: Minority salience and the overestimation of individuals from minority groups in perception and memory, Rasha Kardosh Asael Y. Sklar, Yoni Pertzov and  Ran R. Hassin.

119 (12) e2116884119 | https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2116884119

 

LINK TO ARTICLE: https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2116884119

 

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Dr. Anastasiia Zinevych

FOLLOWING HEBREW UNIVERSITY’S EMERGENCY AID FOR UKRAINIAN ACADEMIC STAFF AND STUDENTS: 10 Refugees Arrive on Campus

13 April, 2022

Considering the threat on the lives of academics and university students in Ukraine, and in a show of solidarity, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) has offered academic hosting for Ukrainian academic staff and students.  To date, 18 such refugees have been accepted to continue their studies at the University and 10 have already arrived at our Jerusalem and Rehovot campuses. 

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Dr. Anastasiia Zinevych recently arrived in Israel.  During her first day of teaching at Odessa National Economic University after winter break, the buildings shook as bombs began to fall and a nearby airport was severely damaged.  After the rumbling died down and with “the supermarket shelves bare of food and the pharmacies out of medicine,” she and her husband decided to leave the Ukraine.  “All we took with us were two laptops and a copy of my husband’s poetry”.  In need of medical attention, the couple chose Israel because they had “heard good things about Hebrew University-Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital.”

After a harrowing trip crossing the border into Poland, the pair arrived in Israel.  “I literally exhaled for the first time in weeks when our plane touched down in Israel and knelt down to touch the earth.  I’m not Jewish, my husband is, but I felt such gratitude for this country and to Hebrew University for taking us in.”

Since then, Zinevych has been living in a university-affiliated apartment and is working with Professor Ran Hassin at HU’s Center for the Study of Rationality where she will continue her studies.

In addition to Zinevych, 9 other Ukrainian refugees that have arrived at Hebrew University.  Several undergraduate students are continuing their studies in Israel at HU’s Rothberg International School, and a number of professors have joined HU’s Psychology, Sociology, History, Jewish Studies, Computer Science and Agriculture departments.

The University established its Emergency Aid Campaign for Ukrainian Researchers and Students to enable them to continue their academic studies and research, which had been halted due to the unfolding crisis.  The aid provides a minimum of four months tuition and a generous living stipend.  Each researcher has been matched with a HU faculty member who will serve as their mentor during their stay. 

“Let us not close our eyes or ignore what is happening in Ukraine.  As more resources become available, we hope to bring more Ukraine scientists and students to our research centers at Hebrew University.  It is our moral duty." shared HU President Professor Asher Cohen. 

 

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