American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science

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Science for the benefit of technology.

Advancing Technology

In 1954, Weizmann Institute of Science researchers built Israel’s first computer—one of the first in the world. In the ‘70s, a Weizmann cryptographer co-developed the algorithm that makes today’s online transactions secure. Recently, an Institute scientist created a DNA-based biological computer so tiny that a trillion can fit in a drop of water. These milestones are more than Institute achievements; they’re a time line of technology’s evolution. Weizmann scientists also developed the technology behind light-sensitive eyeglasses and windshields; are working toward next-generation computers via quantum electronics; creating artificial vision and image-recognition systems; and are using technology to improve security, such as a program that safety-checks complex systems ranging from nuclear reactors to spacecraft.

  • Weizmann by the Numbers

    • 1954- Built the 1st computer in Israel
    • World’s smallest computer is made of DNA- 1 trillion fit in 1 drop of water
    • Shafi Goldwasser is 2nd woman, 3rd Weizmann scientist to win Turing Award
  • 1970s- Encryption algorithms created that lead to Internet security


  • The U.S. ranks

    in math & science
    education


  • 92% of children
    ages 2-17 play
    video/computer games

  • Discovery of photochromism led to light-sensitive eyeglasses and windshields


  • Radio took 38 years
    to reach 50 million
    people; TV, 13 years;
    the Internet: 4

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    Imagine science that mathematically predicts material stress and failure in airplanes and dams.

    Weizmann scientists have created a formula to predict how cracks will advance in specific materials. Such a formula has been sought for years to help scientists and engineers predict how materials such as the metal in airplane wings or the concrete in dams will hold up under stress.

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    Imagine a microscopic biological computer able to find, identify, and diagnose illnesses in the human body.

    In 2001, Weizmann’s Prof. Ehud Shapiro created the world’s smallest computer. Built from DNA, about a trillion can fit in a drop of water. In 2004, it successfully identified signs of cancer and even released an appropriate drug.

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    Imagine science that develops complex systems to safely operate space shuttles.

    A Weizmann computer scientist created a computer language that facilitates the development of sophisticated, complex systems such as those used in aircraft, space shuttles, and nuclear power stations.

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    Imagine science that guarantees the online security of private information.

    Beginning in the 1970s, a Weizmann mathematician and two colleagues at MIT developed several methods of encrypting and decrypting information. In addition to laying the foundation of Internet security, this technology led to “smart cards” and is today used in global financial and governmental communications.

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    Imagine science that leads to lasers able to cut diamonds into virtually any shape with minimal loss of material.

    Weizmann scientists developed a method of laser-cutting diamonds that reduces the loss of material and cuts stones into virtually any shape.

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    Imagine science that allows a material to transform between states based on exposure to light.

    Sunglasses and vehicle windshields that darken when bright light falls on them are familiar consumer goods that were developed following the discovery of photochromism in a Weizmann lab.

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    Imagine science leading to lasers that can help design new medicines.

    Lasers that control chemical reactions were developed by Weizmann scientists with colleagues overseas. This finding may lead to a new way of isolating molecules for novel drug development.

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    Imagine science so productive that it results in a newly approved patent every week.

    For the past five consecutive years, the Institute’s technology transfer arm, Yeda Research and Development Company, Ltd., has been ranked among the top five university license income earners in the world and has the largest portfolio of patents in Israel.

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    Imagine science leading to a computer that would power the high-tech economy of a nation.

    In 1954, the Weizmann Institute designed and built WEIZAC – the first computer in Israel and one of the first in the world.

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    Imagine science that identifies new genes and proteins, enabling scientists to quickly check millions of research samples.

    Weizmann’s Prof. Dan Tawfik developed a super-fast method for identifying novel genes and proteins for biological and medical research. His system employs an emulsion of tiny water droplets suspended within oil drops, enabling review of samples that is exponentially faster than existing methods.

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    Imagine science that allows robots to see in the same way humans do.

    Scientists at the Weizmann Institute are using brain research to create advanced robotic visual systems.

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    Imagine science that wins the Turing Award, the world's highest distinction in computer science.

    The A.M. Turing Award, regarded as the “Nobel Prize of computer science,” was awarded to Institute Prof. Adi Shamir in 2003 in recognition of his contributions to the field of cryptography. In 2013, it was awarded to Prof. Shafrira Goldwasser in honor of advances that revolutionized the science of cryptography. She is only the third woman to win.