ICE Issue 9

45 The Israel Chemist and Chemical Engineer Issue 9 · January 2023 · Tevet 5783 Profile Q: What are the main challenges facing Israeli science? A: There are many chal lenges that both Israel i and international science face. Let me mention just one. Much of what we do is supported by the public and depends on earning and maintaining the public’s trust and respect. To that end, we need to do a better job at communicating scientific ideas and achievements, including their societal importance and relevance, to the general public, as part of an ongoing dialogue. We should do that without condescension and in a language that is accessible to all, or at least most, people. Q: If you had a magic wand, what would you change a) in academic life, b) in Israeli society? A: In Israeli Academia, if I had a magic wand I would mandate a short ethics workshop. In a world of increasing inter-personal collaboration and computer-based experiments and analysis, it is an absolute must to understand what we can and cannot do while engaging in scientific research. This goes for both how we treat data and how we treat each other. Specifically, obviously everybody should be very clear as to glowingred lines that should not be crossed in data acquisition and manipulation. But in a modern research environment of joint publications, patents, etc., both faculty and students need to be clearly informed as to ethics of joint research. In Israeli society, I would like to see a stronger fact-based dialogue where we are regularly exposed to, and respect, meaningful points of view that are different from our own. Q: Do you have any advice for young people embarking on their career? A: Fol low your curiosity, speak your truth, and never compromise your values. Q: How do you enjoy your free time? A: Obviously spending time with my family! I also practice Shotokan Karate on a regular basis. I’m a proud member of the Israel Association of Baseball and of “Club 5” – Israel’s Classic & Collectors Vehicle Club. I was a researcher. I still enjoy teaching. And I take great pride in former students who went on to have successful careers of their own in academia or in industry. Q: What do you consider to be your greatest scientific achievement, so far? A: My research involves both the development of the theory and its application to problems of interest. On the methodology front, I would say that a significant achievement is my part in the development of methods for accurate prediction of electron and optical spectroscopies from density functional theory, some of which have found wide use. On the applications front, I would say that a significant achievement is a set of true predictions (i.e., made before or in the absence of experiment) of the structure of molecular crystals, and of surprising mechanical, electrical, optical, and even magnetic properties thereof, including the identification of novel mechanisms. Q: What problems would you like to tackle in the near and far future? A: On the methodology side, I would like to tackle some of the major computational bottlenecks we face. On the applications side, I would like to expand our efforts in the area of materials for energy and sustainability. Q: What do you consider to be your greatest contribution to Israeli society? A: As the third generation to participate in this novel and wondrous project called the State of Israel, my greatest contribution is simply to be a part of this project, and to have my family, my home, and the center of my life in it. Q: Would you recommend a career in academia to young scientists? A: Absolutely! An academic career is not for everyone, but if you “caught the bug” of research, namely asking important scientific questions and working tirelessly towards finding at least some answers, an academic career can make a real difference and be very rewarding.