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Protecting Our Planet

Science for the Future of 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 we developed provides around 40% greater yield
  • Our method of killing a parasitic weed saved 100 million African farmers from losing 50% of their crops
  • We՚re finding ways to treat 97% of Earth՚s water that is too salty to use 

Selected Achievements

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

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

Imagine science protecting health and the environment with crops that don’t need pesticides.

Our scientists discovered a plant-based gene 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.

Imagine science that can rapidly identify toxins in our water.

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.

Imagine science that feeds the world.

A Weizmann scientist showed that hundreds of millions more people could be fed if we switched to plant-based diets. Not eating meat also benefits the environment, helps slow climate change, and enhances food security.

Imagine science that supports struggling farmers.

African farmers contend with witchweed, a parasite that drains water and nutrition from plants and kills up to 80% of crops. Our scientists developed a novel method for preventing witchweed by disrupting its growth before it is able to attack crops.

Imagine science that revolutionizes the treatment of water contamination.

An Institute hydrologist invented a method of removing chemicals from groundwater, transforming hazardous pollutants into harmless oxygen and carbon. This patented technology could revolutionize pollution treatment.

Imagine science that fights climate change.

Our Alternative and Sustainable Environmental Research Initiative develops creative solutions to climate change problems, such as engineering algae for biofuel, designing novel solar panels, using enzymes to break down trash, and advancing artificial photosynthesis.

Imagine science that enhances the performance of engines–and spacecraft.

To improve fuel economy and lessen pollution, an Institute scientist designed nanomaterials that enhance the performance of moving parts and are used as lubricants for engines. The on-the-market product can even be used in spacecraft.

Imagine science that predicts Earth’s ever-stronger storms.

Using NASA satellites, a Weizmann scientist has shown that a warming climate is pushing increasingly devastating storms toward the planet’s poles–research that could help provide early warning for communities in the storms’ tracks.

Imagine science tapping into the 97% of the world’s water that is not safe or usable.

The vast majority of Earth’s water is not accessible or not safe for drinking or irrigation. That’s why Weizmann researchers are developing efficient consumption and management methods, including desalination and pollutant cleanup, to face our pending water crisis.