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  • Landau Prize Awarded to Three Bar-Ilan University Faculty Members

    Date: 2011-03-15 Hour: 9:18

    Three Bar-Ilan University faculty members are among eight winners of this year's Landau Prize.

    The winners are Prof. Shula Michaeli, of the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, Prof. Rami Benbenishty, of the Louis and Gabi Weisfeld School of Social Work, and Prof. Doron Aurbach, of the Department of Chemistry. Prof. Shamma Friedman, who lectures in the Naftal-Yaffe Department of Talmud, is also among the winners.

    The Landau Prize is awarded to scientists in recognition of their contributions to the advancement of science and research in Israel. Each of the honorees will receive NIS 50,000 at a special ceremony to take place on April 6 at the Peres Center for Peace in Tel Aviv.

    The Landau Prize in Life Sciences will be awarded to Prof. Shula Michaeli, of the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, for her research in general microbiology. Prof. Michael is a senior scientist at Bar-Ilan's Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials, as well as head of the Life Sciences and Medicine section of the Israel Science Foundation. She will receive the Landau Award for her contribution to research of trypanosomes -- parasitic protozoa that are the causative agent of devastating parasitic diseases, such as sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis, and Chagas' disease, which affect millions of people worldwide. Prof. Michaeli, incumbent of the David and Inez Myers Chair and Laboratory in Gene Expression and Infectious Disease in the Goodman Faculty, has succeeded in deciphering unique mechanisms in parasites which will enable the development of new drugs for these diseases.

    The Landau Prize in Social Sciences, in the Social Work category, will be awarded to Prof. Rami Benbenishty, of the Louis and Gabi Weisfeld School of Social Work. Prof. Benbenishty's work in the area of children and youth at risk has had a decisive influence on public and professional perceptions regarding the extent and characteristics of violence in the educational system. The Israel Ministry of Education has adopted many of his suggestions and designed a considerable portion of its activities based upon Prof. Benbenishty's proposals. These include closely monitoring the characteristics of violence in each of the schools around the country, with an emphasis on improving the social climate as a way to promote a peaceful, rather than violent, setting.

    The Landau Prize in Natural Sciences, in the category of Green Chemistry, will be awarded to Prof. Doron Aurbach, of the Department of Chemistry, who is considered one of the foremost scientists in Israel in the fields of energy, water desalination and materials science. Prof. Aurbach heads one of the largest electrochemistry research groups in the world. His group is actively collaborating with ETV Motors, a Herzliya-based company that develops solutions for extended range electric vehicles. Professor Aurbach also leads research and development in the framework of a program of the chief scientist of the Ministry of Industry and Trade whose goal is to develop technologies for storing renewable energy such as wind and solar, in close cooperation with Israeli companies Elbit and Volta.

    The Landau Prize in Rabbinic Literature and Talmud will be awarded to Prof. Shamma Friedman, of the Naftal-Yaffe Department of Talmud. The author of six books and more than one hundred articles dealing with various aspects of Talmudic studies, including literary and conceptual development, stratification of the Talmudic sugya, linguistic studies in Hebrew and Aramaic, and the nature of variant readings of the Talmudic texts, Friedman has applied these disciplines systematically in the form of consecutive commentary. Prof. Friedman has educated a long list of students who hold senior positions in Rabbinic Literature instruction in institutions of higher education in Israel and throughout the world. The panel of judges unanimously awarded Prof. Friedman the Landau Prize for his achievements and for his influence on research in Rabbinic Literature.

    The Landau Prize was established in 1970 and is named for Dr. Michael Landau, who headed the Mifal Hapayis (the national lottery) enterprise in its early years.