Ten top doctoral students in the sciences from Israel’s seven research universities will receive on Wednesday the Adams Fellowships of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. These fellowships are considered Israel’s most prestigious fellowships.
Each doctoral student will receive a stipend of over $100,000 during the course of up to four years of doctoral studies and will be exempt from tuition. The ten students will receive their fellowships at the annual Adams Seminar, which will take place at the Israel Academy of Sciences.
The varied accomplishments and backgrounds of the recipients are a kaleidoscope of the Jewish state.
Among those receiving the Adams fellowships this year is Daphna Nachmani from Jerusalem. Nachmani conducts research on the herpes viruses and is said to be showing remarkable laboratory achievements. She completed groundbreaking research that was published in prestigious scientific journals and was chosen to present her work at the Second European Congress of Immunology in Berlin in 2009. Nachmani is part of a Hebrew University initiative which introduces 14 year-olds to the world of basic science through teaching in classes as well as through hands-on experimenting.
Another recipient of a fellowship is Sophia Buhbut from Ashkelon. Buhbut’s research focuses on photo electrochemical solar cells, and she has developed a device that scatters light in preferred orientations, acting like an optical antenna. The systems she developed were based on new ideas and on the capability to integrate several disciplines, such as inorganic chemistry, photo-electrochemistry, physical chemistry and optics. She has applied for a patent which is currently being implemented by New 3G Solar, an industrial company. She is planning to do her post-doctorate abroad in the field of renewable energy, focusing on green energy and then she then plans to return to Israel and work as a senior researcher in one of the most advanced research institutions in the country.
Doron Puder of Jerusalem, who has already won international competitions in mathematics, will also be receiving a fellowship. Puder participated in youth mathematics competitions from the eighth grade and has won many prizes. He won bronze awards at the International Mathematical Olympiads in 1997 and 1998. He took his love of mathematics to the army and served in a technological-mathematical unit in the intelligence corps. He went on to study mathematics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and was chosen for the Amirim honors program at the Faculty of Humanities. Upon completion of his MSc, he was offered a position by a New York-based hedge fund. After working two years in New York, Puder returned to Israel to complete his doctoral studies. Today, he is conducting fruitful research at the Einstein Institute and takes part in their project to instruct math teachers from elementary schools across Jerusalem.
Another fellowship recipient is Air Force Pilot Avi Braun, who serves as an air force reserve pilot over 70 days a year and whose dream is to invent a new source of energy. Braun, who grew up in a family of farmers, studied for his BSc at Tel Aviv University, where he acquired a strong theoretical basis in physics and environmental studies. He went on to study for his MSc at the Blaustein Institute for Desert Research of Ben-Gurion University at Sde Boker. There he concentrated on the study of solar energy. Braun’s research deals with the basic and practical aspects of bringing photovoltaic cells to a state where they can serve as a wide-scale source of energy.
Amir Nevet is an Adams Fellow who served for four and a half years as a submariner in the Israeli navy, and then began studies in Electrical Engineering at the Technion in Haifa. During his studies, he worked at RAFAEL (Israel Armament Development Authority). After he graduated, Nevet began working as a systems Engineer at Remon Medical Technologies, a start-up medical company, where he conducted and managed a project for a wearable unit acoustically communicating with a pulmonary implant in heart-failure patients. When Remon was bought by Boston Scientific, a leading international medical company, Nevet trained their engineers in the technology transfer process.
The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities noted that the tough selection process, both of the universities and of the professional selection committee of the Adams Fellowship Fund, ensures that the recipients are ones who are at the forefront of Israel’s future scientists.
The Adams Fellowship was established by Marcel Adams of Montreal, Canada, in 2005. Adams, who will celebrate his 91st birthday this year, is an enthusiastic Zionist. He began as a penniless Holocaust survivor from Romania who fought in Israel’s War of Independence, and eventually became a successful real estate developer and entrepreneur in Canada. He is currently in Israel to participate in the annual Adams Seminar.