Prof. Zvi Priel
Zvi Priel was born in Moscow on May 27, 1937, and immigrated to Israel with his family in 1946. He was graduated from the Herzelia Gymnasium in 1955 and obtained his B.Sc. from Bar-Ilan University (1959-1963). He obtained his M.Sc. (1963-1965, with honors) and Ph.D. (1965-1970) from the Weizmann Institute under Prof. A. Silberberg. In 1970 he accepted a senior lecturer position at the newly established Ben-Gurion University and stayed loyal to BGU for his entire career. Zvi is one of the founding fathers of the Department of Chemistry at BGU. He held the position of Research Advisor at the Polymers Department of the Weizmann Institute (1970-1982). In 1980 he was promoted to Assoc. Professor, and in 1990 to Professor of Biophysics and Physical Chemistry. In 1992 He received the E.D. Bergman Award from the Israel Academy of Science and Humanities. Priel’s research interests included polyelectrolyte solutions, phase transitions in colloidal systems, biological transport, various aspects of ciliary movement, and signal transduction in cells. He has been a pioneer in combining experimental and theoretical research methods. He mentored over 50 graduate students and postdocs, authored over 100 research papers and one book. Zvi fulfilled many academic responsibilities, including Chairman of the Chemistry Department (1982-1986), Dean of The BGU Kreitman School of Advanced Graduate Studies (2002-2007), and President of the Achva Academic College (2010-2012). Zvi will be remembered with much respect for his wisdom, kindness, integrity, rigor, and total dedication to science. The ICS and the entire community of Israeli scientists mourn the loss of a gifted scientist.
Prof. Aharon Loewenstein
Prof. Aharon Loewenstein of the Technion Schulich Faculty of Chemistry passed away on February 10, 2022. The funeral took place in Haifa. Aharon Loewenstein was born on January 31, 1929, in Verden an der Aller, Germany. His family immigrated to Palestine in 1934 and settled in Netania. Aharon studied in the Bialik Elementary School and the agricultural boarding school in Pardess Hanna (1942-47). He later served in the Palmach (1947-49), and after the War of Independence, he became a founding member of Kibbutz Palmachim. In 1950, he studied chemistry at the Hebrew University. His Ph.D. with Shlomo Alexander and Saul Meiboom at the Hebrew University focused on their newly built machine, Nuclear Induction (about 31 MHz for protons), the NMR predecessor. After completing his Ph.D. (1958), he went for a postdoc at Caltech with John D. Roberts (1958-59) and a second postdoc term at Columbia University (1959-60). In 1962 he accepted an offer from Otto Schnepp and David Ginsburg to join the Technion. He established a laboratory with a Varian DP60 spectrometer, focusing on the measurements of chemical kinetic processes by NMR, electron transfer reactions, and reaction mechanisms. He was a Visiting Professor at Oxford University (1967-68, 1974-75), University Paris-Sud (1982-83, 1996), and Cambridge University (1988-89). Aharon served on many departmental responsibilities, including Chairman of the Faculty Committee of Graduate and Undergraduate Teaching and Head of the Physical Chemistry Section. His early research used NMR methods to study metal complexes in aqueous solutions, electron transfer, and isotope effects in inorganic complexes. His interest in the kinetics of chemical reactions and molecular dynamics in liquids took him to the world of liquid crystals. Aharon will be remembered with much respect and admiration as a pioneer of magnetic resonance, and a great scientist.
Prof. Shimon Vega
Prof. Shimon Vega was born in Amsterdam on November 14, 1943. He obtained both his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Physics in Holland. Following the Six-Day War, he made aliyah and completed his Ph.D. with Prof. Zeev Luz on Nuclear Quadrupole Resonance. As a Berkeley postdoc with Alex Pines, Shimon made pioneering discoveries in the new field of multiple-quantum NMR while developing the basis for the fictitious-spin-½ formalism that is now the primary tool for understanding NMR in solids and liquids. Upon returning to the Weizmann Institute as junior faculty, Shimon furthered these studies to half-integer quadrupolar nuclei. These species conform to the majority of nuclei in the Periodic Table and made propositions that enabled a wide variety of materials-oriented NMR research. In the early 1980s, Shimon launched into magic angle spinning (MAS) investigations when MAS was largely viewed from a continuous-wave perspective. Shimon departed from this limited perspective, recognized the complex time-dependencies that underlie this coherent process, and analyzed it with Floquet theory tools to lay the foundations of many contemporary spin-½ experiments. He took leadership positions at the Weizmann and MIT, Washington University, and Leiden, mentoring coworkers who are nowadays leaders at the forefront of magnetic resonance. His achievements have been recognized by many prizes, including the Kolthoff, ISMAR, the 2003 ICS Prize for the Outstanding Scientist, and the 2018 ICS Gold Medal. Shimon had influenced professionally and personally many graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, colleagues, course students, and listeners to his great science talks. He represented a rare combination of openness to new ideas with deep-rooted understanding and contagious enthusiasm, always willing to share his knowledge with openness and modesty.
Prof. Sol Kimel
Prof. Sol (Salo) Kimel was born on October 7, 1928, in Berlin, Germany. In 1930 Sol and his mother moved to Amsterdam, joining her sister's family while his father stayed in Berlin. He attended an elementary school of the then-novel Montessori system for six years, where children could study according to their development. One of his classmates was Anne Frank. Sol survived the holocaust and achieved higher education after the war. In 1955 he joined the Weizmann Institute, went back to the Netherlands to marry Bianca Blaugrund-Alefrant, and they immigrated to Israel in 1956, where their daughter Daphne and son Etan were born. Sol obtained his Ph.D. in physics in 1960 from the University of Amsterdam under Jan Ketelaar and was a postdoc with Donald Hornig at Princeton University (1961-63). After serving as a Research Scientist at the Weizmann Institute (1955-66), he became an Associate Professor at the Technion (Shammai Speiser was his first graduate student). In 1977 he was promoted to Full Professor. After retirement in 1997, he spent ten years as a Senior Advisor at the Sheba Medical Center. Prof. Kimel was a world leader in laser spectroscopy and was a highly demanded visiting professor at many universities. In 1989 he was elected a corresponding member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. His 50-year journey in science started with high-resolution gas-phase spectroscopy and matrix spectroscopy, via laser chemistry to biomedical applications, developing photodynamic therapy (PDT) for cancer treatment. Professor Emeritus Sol Kimel passed away in Haifa on August 14, 2021.
Prof. Ruben Pauncz
Ruben Pauncz was born on August 8, 1920, in Szoreg, Hungary. He studied chemistry, theoretical physics, and mathematics at the University of Szeged, and completed his Ph.D. in chemistry in 1944 just before the Nazi occupation. Most of his family did not survive the holocaust. Ruben himself was among the survivors liberated in May 1945 from the Theresienstadt camp. In 1956, shortly after arriving in Israel, he accepted an offer from the Technion, became Assoc. Prof. in 1960 and Full professor in 1962. In 2005, he received the ICS Gold Medal. Pauncz was a highly demanded lecturer worldwide, with over 30 times lecturing in the famous summer schools on quantum chemistry in Sweden and many winter schools in Florida. He became the founding father of quantum chemistry in Israel and one of the first 25 members of the Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences. He published highly influential books: Alternant Molecular Orbital Method (W.B. Saunders, 1967), Spin Eigenfunctions, Construction and Use (Plenum Press, 1979), The Unitary Group in Quantum Chemistry (Elsevier, 1968), The Symmetric Group in Quantum Chemistry (CRC Press, 1995), The Construction of Spin Eigenfunctions (Kluwer Academic, 2000).
Prof. Dan Tawfik
Dan S. Tawfik was born in 1955, served in the IDF, and was the deputy commander of a reserve battalion. He worked for the family construction company before pursuing academic education. He received his B.Sc. (1988) in chemistry and biochemistry and M.Sc. (1990) in biotechnology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1995 he obtained his Ph.D. from the Weizmann Institute under Prof. Zelig Eshhar. Following two years of postdoctoral research at the University of Cambridge and the MRC Protein Engineering Center, he became a senior research fellow at the Sydney Sussex College and the MRC. In 2001 he joined the Weizmann Institute of Science. Prof. Tawfik served as the Vice-Chair of the Weizmann Institute Scientific Council. He won the Weizmann Prize for Research in Exact Sciences (2007), the Eli Horowitz Prize (2013), and the biochemistry EMT Prize (2020) "for his contribution to understanding the relationship between the structure and function of proteins and their evolutionary development, and for the development of systems for intentional evolution in artificial cells." Knowledge derived from his reconstruction of past evolutionary events enabled him to engineer new enzymes with tailor-made properties for various applications, such as nerve agent detoxification and improved crop yields. Prof. Tawfik died on May 5, 2021, in a tragic climbing accident in Croatia.
Prof. Eli Loewenthal
Hans Jacob Eliyahu Loewenthal was born on January 27, 1925, in Hamburg, Germany. Although Hamburg was known for its relatively liberal atmosphere, his mother, with remarkable foresight, decided on one day of August 1938 to take the family on the next train to Amsterdam and then a boat to London. Eli received his B.Sc. in Chemistry from the Polytechnic college of the University of London(1945, with Honors). In the following three years, he worked in 3 chemical companies. In 1948, he arrived in Israel to take part in the War of Independence. He started his Ph.D. research, first with Prof. Ephraim Katchalski-Katzir at the Weizmann Institute, and later with Bergman at the Hebrew University. Following his postdoctoral work with Prof. Gilbert Stork (1953-1955), he joined the Technion. In 1962 he was promoted to Associate Professor, and in 1965 to Professor, working on organic synthesis of natural products and bridged systems, synthetic methodology, and stereochemistry. Eli was a devoted experimentalist of a rare class. All his papers are authored by either one or two names, reflecting his devotion to hands-on organic synthesis. He carried out his outstanding synthetic work on Colchicine all by himself, competing with substantial research groups in the USA and Europe. Eli was a highly demanded guest in the labs of Albert Eschenmoser, Duilio Arigoni (ETH, Zurich), Carl Djerassi, and other famous chemists. Generations of chemistry students at the Technion remember him as an inspiring teacher with an infectious love for organic synthesis.
Prof. Magda Ariel
Prof. Magda Ariel of the Technion Schulich Faculty of Chemistry passed away last Saturday, February 20, 2021. Magda was a Technion graduate of chemical engineering. She became a Lecturer (1955) one year before obtaining her Ph.D. degree, then Senior Lecturer (1961), Associate Professor (1966), and Professor (1976). Her active research group included many excellent students who became well-known figures in Israeli science, including Profs. Haim Yarnitzky Z”L, Shimshon Gottesfeld, Emilia Kirowa-Eisner, Uri Eisner, Gabriella Schmuckler, Joseph Wang, and many others. They focused on electroanalytical trace analysis, electrochemical flow cells, carbon cloth multiscreen electrodes, electroanalytical methods for in-situ and automated trace analysis, flow injection analysis, etc. Magda served two terms as Dean of the Faculty of Chemistry at the Technion (1980-1983), the only female Dean in the Faculty of Chemistry history.
Magda will be remembered with much respect and admiration as a great scientist and pioneer of instrumental analytical chemistry, and electrochemistry. She was also a daring, highly respected woman scientist in the male-dominated academic environment of her time. The ICS and the entire community of Israeli scientists mourn the loss of a great scientist.
Prof. Jochanan Blum
Professor Jochanan Blum of the Institute of Chemistry, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, died on January 14, 2016, and the funeral will take place at the "Tzomet Morasha" cemetery, Ramat Hasharon.
Jochanan Blum was born on September 4, 1933, in Bautzen, Germany, to Jakob and Irma (Michelsohn) Blum. He received his M.Sc. degree (1958) and Ph.D. (1961) in organic chemistry from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Jochanan was immediately appointed a lecturer in the same department. In 1972, he was promoted to Associate Professor and in 1978 to Professor. Jochanan pioneered organometallic chemistry in the State of Israel and is considered the founding father of catalysis in this country, particularly of the use of organometallic complexes as catalysts in organic synthesis. He published nearly 400 research papers on groundbreaking catalytic processes, transfer hydrogenation, decarbonylation of carbonyl compounds, olefin isomerization, and other topics. He was among the first worldwide to develop phase-transfer catalysts between aqueous and organic phases. He developed, together with David Avnir, organometallic catalysts entrapped in sol-gel matrices to achieve high selectivity and easy separations in recent years. Jochanan educated and mentored generations of students, many of whom have become worldwide leaders in academia and the industry. We all remember him as a very humble person who had never chased honors, awards, and publicity. He was survived by his wife, Shoshana Leibovici, three children, Ofer, Orith, and Yuval.