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Science for the benefit of our planet.

Protecting Our Planet

Weizmann Institute scientists are not only facing current environmental crises head-on, but are solving tomorrow’s threats to our planet today. They are developing mathematical formulas to predict rainfall with greater accuracy; creating crops that can grow in harsh climates and with less need for pesticides; designing nanomaterials that can serve as engine lubricants and thus reduce air pollution; studying ways to protect and conserve water, our most valuable resource; examining the Earth’s movements to forecast volcanoes and earthquakes; growing a forest in a desert to study CO2—these are just some of the ways in which Weizmann researchers are using science to protect our planet, both now and in the future.

  • Weizmann by the Numbers

    • Protein-enriched wheat provides around 40% higher yield
    • Parasitic-weed-killing method keeps 100 million Africans from losing 50% of crops
    • Finding ways to treat the 97% of Earth's water that's too salty to use

  • A formula to very
    accurately predict rain

    will help people in both drought-ridden and oversaturated areas

  • Genetically engineered algae, which don't take up crop land, may make sustainable biofuel


  • 70 million tons of fertilizer and pesticides are put on lawns & gardens each year


  • Air pollution kills

    1.3 million people per year

    disproportionately affecting middle-income countries

  • The U.S. uses over 1.8 billion disposable diapers, 220 million tires, and 30 billion foam cups per year

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    Imagine science that uses algae to fuel cars.

    Weizmann Institute Profs. Avihai Danon and Uri Pick are genetically engineering algae to produce environmentally friendly, sustainable biofuel.

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    Imagine science that can alleviate world hunger with more resilient and bountiful wheat.

    Weizmann scientists developed new protein-enriched wheat varieties that provide nearly 40 percent higher yield, allowing for greater production. These varieties also produce better crops that are more resistant to diseases and natural damage.

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    Imagine science leading to the creation of a new and more effective way to pollinate crops.

    Weizmann scientists were the first to produce hybrid cucumber seeds without hand pollination. This method is used today throughout the world.

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    Imagine science protecting the environment by breeding crops that don't need pesticides.

    Weizmann scientists discovered a gene in wild tomato plants that provides resistance against disease. The presence of this gene may greatly decrease the need to treat crops with pesticides or fertilizers, which can damage the environment and human health.

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    Imagine science that uses natural processes to recycle waste paper.

    Weizmann's Prof. Ed Bayer has developed a unique solution to the problem of waste paper. He created a designer cellulosome that likes to eat the paper, thus breaking down its long sugar chains into soluble sugar syrup.

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    Imagine science that alerts us to harmful materials in the air using a sensor based on organic molecules.

    A tiny sensor that uses organic molecules to detect problems – from asthma to hidden explosives to harmful substances in the environment – was developed at the Weizmann Institute.

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    Imagine science that can identify poisons in our water, in real time.

    Weizmann Institute researchers are developing new types of sensors for the real time measurement of toxic metal levels in rivers and other fast-moving bodies of water.

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    Imagine science that allows use of the 97 percent of the world’s water that is too salty for drinking or irrigation.

    The vast majority of the world's water is too salty for drinking or irrigation. Weizmann researchers are developing efficient consumption and management methods, including desalination, to face this pending crisis.

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    Imagine science giving life-saving early warning of weather-related disasters.

    Weizmann research on climate change is aimed at preventing ecological disasters. For example, Institute mathematicians are developing a formula to improve rain predictions with great accuracy – information that could save lives from floods in arid regions and oversaturated areas.

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    Imagine science that helps struggling farmers by stopping crop-strangling parasitic weeds.

    Farmers in Africa fight against witchweed (Striga hermonthica), a parasitic weed that drains the nutrition and water from crops. A novel method for preventing witchweed, developed by Weizmann Institute researchers, disrupts the growth of the parasite before it is able to destroy the crops.

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    Imagine science that can enhance the performance of moving parts in engines.

    To improve fuel economy and lessen pollution, Weizmann scientists developed nanomaterials that enhance the performance of moving parts and are used as lubricants for engines.

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    Imagine science leading to protein-rich crops that alleviate malnutrition in developing countries.

    Weizmann researchers study processes that allow plant cells to cope with stress. This work could yield both environmental and agricultural rewards, possibly helping farmers develop emergency-ready crops. It may also lead to more protein-rich crops, which could alleviate malnutrition in developing countries.

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    Imagine science that captures the sun’s rays and uses them to power entire cities.

    The Weizmann Institute of Science is home to one of the world’s most advanced solar facilities, enabling scientists to develop alternative, creative ways to use the sun’s energy.

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    Imagine science that creates sustainable hydrogen fuel without any harmful byproducts.

    Weizmann scientists developed an innovative technology that offers a green method for creating hydrogen fuel. It uses solar power to produce zinc powder, which can be easily stored and reacts when mixed with water to release hydrogen. Zinc oxide, the reaction's byproduct, can be recycled in the same solar plant.