Israel: Technion turns 100, but no sign of age

Wi-fi and pill cameras invented at technology institute

30 March, 12:47

The Technion, the prestigious Israeli technology institute in Haifa The Technion, the prestigious Israeli technology institute in Haifa

(ANSAmed) - ROME - The Technion, the prestigious Israeli technology institute that moulds Israel's best engineers and churns out Nobel Prizes, is celebrating its 100th birthday but is showing no signs of age. The first stone in the institute was laid, in Haifa rather than Jerusalem, which was ruled out because of its religious significance, on April 11 1912, some 36 years before the foundation of state of Israel. The institute is the birthplace of some of the inventions that have revolutionised the world: wi-fi, intestinal pill cameras used in medicine, "Re-walk", the mechanic skeleton which allows people with paralysis to walk and desalination technology.

A number of Nobel prize-winners have passed through the doors of the institute over the course of the last century. The latest to be recognised by the Oslo Academy was Daniel Shechtman, a professor of material science at the Technion, who won the prize in 2011. The name of Albert Einstein, however, puts the rest in the shade. Einstein was the first president of the Technion Society and it was the German Jewish physicist who declared that "Israel can only win its battle for survival by gambling on technological innovation". It was 1923 and Einstein was travelling through what was then Palestine. In time, his words would turn out to be prophetic. Over recent decades, Israel has made the excellence of its research centres not only a recognised quality but also one of the main drivers of its economic growth, making the country capable of attracting foreign investment. The jewel in the crown of this start-up nation is indeed Technion, which was initially given the name Technikum.

Technion currently has around 13,000 students, a third of them women and a total of 93,000 people have graduated from the institute so far. The number includes 70% of engineers in the country, nicknamed "the Silicon Valley of the Mediterranean" and 80% of directors of Israeli companies listed on the Nasdaq index, the list of shares for technological companies. (ANSAmed).

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