Tiny Israel a giant in scientific research

Oct 05, 2011 by Jonah Mandel
Chemistry Nobel Prize winner Israeli scientist Daniel Shechtman looks through a microscope in the Technion Institute of Technology in the northern port city of Haifa. Shechtman won the 2011 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the secret of quasicrystals, an atomic mosaic whose discovery overturned theories about solids.

Israel's contribution to the world of scientific research has won it a growing number of accolades, with the Jewish state turning out an impressive number of achievements relative to its size.

Israeli professor Dan Shechter on Wednesday became the tenth Israeli to become a when he won the prize for chemistry for his discovery of quasicrystals, which overturned scientific theory on the nature of solids.

"It's a paradigm shift in chemistry. His findings have rewritten the first chapter of textbooks of ordered matter," said Sven Lidin, a member of the for Chemistry.

Shechtman's win was hailed by Israel's leaders as proof of the country's rich tradition of academic research.

"I want to congratulate you in the name of the citizens of Israel for your win, which reflects the intellect of our people," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

"There are not many countries who have won such a large number of Nobel prizes," said President Shimon Peres, himself a Nobel laureate.

Over the past 45 years, Israel has won a total of 10 Nobel prizes -- a major achievement for a country of just 7.8 million people.

Four have been in the field of chemistry, two were for economic sciences; one was awarded for literature while three Israelis have won the , including Peres.

Israel is the country which counts the most engineers per head and ranks second only to the United States in the number of companies listed on Nasdaq.

Almost all the big names in technology -- from Intel and Google to Microsoft -- have important research and development centres in Israel, and there are 500 new start-ups every year.

Three of the Nobel chemistry laureates, including Shechtan, were graduates of the Technion, the prestigious technological university in the northern port city of Haifa, which has turned out 70 percent of the country's engineers and 80 percent of the executives of Israeli firms listed on Nasdaq.

Israel's fourth chemistry laureate, who won the award in 2009, came from the Weizmann Institute of Science near Tel Aviv, one of the country's leading research institutes, which has twice won the Turing Award, otherwise known as the of computing.

Other Weizmann researchers have won the Wolf Prizes in Medicine.

Part of Israel's success in academia, as in high-tech, lies in local researchers and developers who "do more with less," said Saul Singer, author of the 2009 bestseller "Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle."

"If you look at the top 25 drugs developed over the last decade or so, seven of them were partly developed at Weizmann. There's no other institution in the world that can say that," Singer told AFP, noting that Harvard developed only two of them -- and on a much larger budget.

"Or Tel Aviv University, which recently ranked number 11 in citations per faculty member. That's above Oxford, Cambridge and Yale. There's no comparison in terms of budgets involved," he said.

Through a mixture of dermination and doggedness, Israel had excelled in both academia and start-ups, he said.

"Israel has gotten very good at doing this sort of thing," he said.

"The dynamics of being determined, creative, and doing more with less -- and also trying to solve big problems -- you see that at both the academic level and the start-up level."

Congratulating Shechtman, Education Minister Gideon Saar said scientific research would be crucial to Israel's future.

"Developing human capital and investing in education and higher education are the key to achievement and scientific research in the future," the minister said.

"The future of the State of Israel will be ensured by research on the highest level."

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210
2.1 / 5 (15) Oct 05, 2011
Israel, to its credit, is like the DARPA of the planet WITHOUT a planetary budget!

Having said that, I have some associates in Egypt, and I have met students from Lebanon, Syria, Palestinians...GENIUS is GENIUS and it IS everywhere!!! We humans must make it a part of our genetic code to never let anything bad happen to a brilliant mind! And, since ANYONE and any CHILD can have one (yes, I have met autistic children who were math SAVANTS..oh yes!) The frontier of the mind...I guess we could call it the 'Human Frontier' I find FAR more compelling than Space Travel. And before anyone starts the hate, I STILL watch reruns on youtube, of Saturn 5 and Space Shuttle launches...hummm, I think I could use a 'fix' right about now...10,9,8,7,6,5..
word-to-ya-muthas
kaasinees
1.7 / 5 (22) Oct 05, 2011
CAPS RAGE makes me sound SO MUCH cooler THAN YOU.
Callippo
1.6 / 5 (14) Oct 05, 2011
IMO Jews were a nation, which lived on the crossroads of markets routes between continents, surrounded with large and rich empires (Egypt, Babylonia) from both sides. This nation learned how to survive with market and cheating rather than with manual work or brute force. No other nation has developed something similar to Kabbalah (esoteric teachings based on numerology), for example. It could explain, why Jews are so good in math, Nobel prizes and abstract thinking - they were preselected with it.
PinkElephant
2.5 / 5 (6) Oct 05, 2011
@Callippo,

You are aware, aren't you, that most modern Jews descend from European converts rather than from the original tribe of Israelites (whose true descendents, to a large extent, always lived in the area and these days are called "Palestinians")?
Mrmajestic
1.6 / 5 (13) Oct 05, 2011
@PinkElephant

There is ample research available tracing European Jews to their origins in Israel. It has been proven that Ashkenazi Jews are descended from Israeli ancestors, although their population certainly mixed and expanded greatly in Europe. To quote from an AP story of 1/12/2006 referring to research in the American Journal of Human Genetics and appearing on the MSNBC website at that time, Ashkenazi Jews are a group with mainly central and eastern European ancestry. Ultimately, though, they can be traced back to Jews who migrated from Israel to Italy in the first and second centuries, Behar said. Eventually this group moved to Eastern Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries and expanded greatly, reaching about 10 million just before World War II, he said.
We would say that most Irish Americans alive today were born on American soil and may never have seen Ireland. How many generations would it take to claim that Irish Americans have no genetic relationship to Ireland?
PinkElephant
3.2 / 5 (9) Oct 05, 2011
It has been proven that Ashkenazi Jews are descended from Israeli ancestors
Bull. The male DNA traces to middle east, but not to Israel -- rather to the northern regions of the former "fertile crescent" -- today's Turkey. Female DNA is all over the place, and predominantly native European.

http://en.wikiped..._origins
Mrmajestic
1.7 / 5 (12) Oct 06, 2011
@PinkElephant.
I suggest you read your own reference more carefully. It states Before 2006, geneticists largely attributed the genesis of most of the world's Jewish populations, including Ashkenazi Jews, to founding effects by males who migrated from the Middle East. The reference later states, However, a 2006 study by Behar et al.,[1] based on high-resolution analysis of haplogroup K(mtDNA), suggested that about 40% of the current Ashkenazi population is descended matrilineally from just four women, or "founder lineages", that were "likely from a Hebrew/Levantine mtDNA pool" originating in the Middle East in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE.
rawa1
1.7 / 5 (11) Oct 06, 2011
that most modern Jews descend from European converts rather than from the original tribe of Israelites
How do you explain after then, 20% of Nobelists are Jews?

http://en.wikiped...aureates
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (6) Oct 06, 2011
There are not many countries who have won such a large number of Nobel prizes

If you look at the countries that have won a sizeable number of Nobel prizes then there are are quite a number with comparable prizes-per-population ratios (or better) than Israel (not knocking their achievements - just saying that having 10 Nobel laureates in a population of 8 million isn't some astounding super feat).

Examples:
Country/Prizes/Population (current pop. count, in (m)illions)

Israel/10/8m
Belgium/10/10m
Denmark/13/5.5m
France/58/65m
Hungary/11/10m
Ireland/10/6m (though almost all peace prizes which are a bit political)
Germany/102/81m
Netherlands/19/16m
Norway/12/5m
Sweden/29/10m (Duh)
Switzerland/26/8m
UK/116/62m
US/331/312m

Israel is even outdone by Luxembourgh (2 Prizes at 0.5m population)
Nanobanano
1.8 / 5 (10) Oct 06, 2011
It has been proven that Ashkenazi Jews are descended from Israeli ancestors
Bull. The male DNA traces to middle east, but not to Israel -- rather to the northern regions of the former "fertile crescent" -- today's Turkey. Female DNA is all over the place, and predominantly native European.

http://en.wikiped..._origins


Do you realize that by the time you count all the invasions and wars of the ancient world, that if even HALF of what the Bible records in the book of Judges, and later regarding Babylon, if even half of that is based on facts, the "real" Jews are likely intermarried with everyone in both Europe and the Middle East?

They were invaded and they invaded other countries many times, and in the ancient world, to the victor goes the spoils, including the enemy's wives.

They are all inter-married to the point there's little difference.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (1) Oct 06, 2011
@Mrmajestic,
The reference later states
And then later still, it mentions some studies from 2010. But you stopped reading by then, right?

@Nanobanano,
if even HALF of what the Bible records in the book of Judges, and later regarding Babylon
Not to mention, the more recent major infusions of European DNA into the Middle East as a consequence of both Roman occupation and the subsequent Crusades -- which might complicate the process of baselining any subsequent genomic comparisons.

But history aside, I defy anyone to simply take a look at the supposedly representative photographs of Ashkenazi Jews here:

http://en.wikiped...azi_Jews

and tell me how much semblance they bear to the actual, native Palestinian Jews:

http://en.wikiped...1930.jpg
Simonsez
2 / 5 (8) Oct 06, 2011
Non-Jews arguing about which kind of Jews are real Jews. Stay classy, Physorg commenters.
210
2.2 / 5 (13) Oct 07, 2011
@Simonsez

They are not Jews so...they have no right to speak on or about this story with available fact? Because 'Simon-Sez'? Nope that won't wash and the only thing on this page that lacks class is your post.
word-to-ya-muthas
_nigmatic10
2.5 / 5 (8) Oct 09, 2011
Ethnic background and nationality aside, it's good to see all the money channeled to this country actually produce something other than weapon innovations.

Well, that and lobbiests in Washington.
OverweightAmerican
1 / 5 (12) Oct 09, 2011
Typical Jews, taking credit for this research. Most of the ideas are created by europeans or americans and then the jews come along with a microscope, write a thesis and then take all the credit.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.2 / 5 (17) Oct 09, 2011
IMO Jews were a nation, which lived on the crossroads of markets routes between continents, surrounded with large and rich empires (Egypt, Babylonia) from both sides. This nation learned how to survive with market and cheating rather than with manual work or brute force. No other nation has developed something similar to Kabbalah (esoteric teachings based on numerology), for example. It could explain, why Jews are so good in math, Nobel prizes and abstract thinking - they were preselected with it.
Except that Palestinians, whom the Jews were once indistinguishable from)(as in they were the same people) have been there longer? And according to shlomo sand of tel aviv university and many others, Ashkenazi Jews who settled in present-day Israel never came from there; they were the remnants of Khazar peoples and euros who converted elsewhere.

AND according to the bible they were slaves to egypt, Babylon, Assyria et al. But who believes that?

So your theory may need some revision.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.3 / 5 (16) Oct 09, 2011
What you don't believe me? Here's Dr Sand to tell you about it himself:
http://www.youtub...a_player

PE is correct - the Khazar were a Turkic people driven westward along with many others into europe by Mongols. Their Jewish kingdom in the Caucasus oddly enough was destroyed.
TheRaccoon
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 09, 2011
You know, Otto, Dr. Sand is openly admitting that his research is not objective and politically motivated. Other than with himself, his fascinating theory is popular mostly with Islamists, Neo-Nazis and people selling stuff to either/both.

Re "slaves to egypt, Babylon, Assyria et al": check your sources. There is scant historic evidence of an Egyptian exile or slavery; Babylonian exile is well documented, however, as is its official end by a decree of Cyrus II. Not sure what you mean about Assyria at al - the invasion by Sargon II and the destruction of Israel (the Northern Jewish Kingdom)? What is the relevance of any of this to the slightly creepy discussion, anyway?
TheRaccoon
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 09, 2011
The definition of a race on purely genetic terms is ridiculous, BTW. All "races" are intermixed. The more culturally or physically isolated the population the less intermixing, of course - but genetic isolation on a grand scale is quite rare.

Personally I favor the definition of race as proposed by Oswald Spengler - a sense of shared destiny, mostly. Can also be put as a set of core memes with various attendant memes, to utilize more modern systems of analysis.

Interestingly, there were three Jewish Kingdoms outside of Israel. Himarytes in India and Khazars in Eurasia, where the ruling nobility converted to Judaism as a political maneuver. And the Kochin Princedom in Kerala, which was a short-lived state where nobody converted but the Jews had autonomy for a while. All three were rather short-lived, for various reasons.
GaryB
1 / 5 (6) Oct 10, 2011
@Callippo,

You are aware, aren't you, that most modern Jews descend from European converts rather than from the original tribe of Israelites (whose true descendents, to a large extent, always lived in the area and these days are called "Palestinians")?


Ever notice how similar the Palestinian faces are to the Jewish ones? Palestinians themselves probably largely derive from the original Jewish population that at some time was forcibly converted to Islam. They are probably just as smart ... so culture is the main difference in productivity.
GaryB
1 / 5 (5) Oct 10, 2011

But history aside, I defy anyone to simply take a look at the supposedly representative photographs of Ashkenazi Jews here:

http://en.wikiped...azi_Jews
and tell me how much semblance they bear to the actual, native Palestinian Jews:

http://en.wikiped...1930.jpg



Yeah, poverty sucks. Majority Jewish population in Israel is sephardic anyhow. My own theory on Jewish achievement is self-selection: Traditional Judaism involves intensive study and didactic argument. Those who weren't up to this life left or didn't attain high enough status to breed. What's left is a population that is enriched with scholar types along with a bunch of genetic diseases. The secular jewish culture retains the high value put on scholarship.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.3 / 5 (16) Oct 10, 2011
You know, Otto, Dr. Sand is openly admitting that his research is not objective and politically motivated.
No he is not saying this at all. He is trying to expose the zionist myths of an israeli homeland and a jewish people, as being created for political purposes. The views of his opponents are popular with zionists and 18yo mosque burners.

I am anti-religionist and pro-reality. ALL religions must go. The sooner individual adherents within each begin to admit their own caustic hypocracy, the better for us all.
The definition of a race on purely genetic terms is ridiculous, BTW. All "races" are intermixed.
Religion has little to do with race. Another lesson Dr. Sand wants to teach us. Religions will use anything which works to spread themselves, including the animosity toward outsiders which is a natural tribal emotion.

End religions before they end us.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.3 / 5 (15) Oct 10, 2011
There is scant historic evidence of an Egyptian exile or slavery; Babylonian exile is well documented, however, as is its official end by a decree of Cyrus II. Not sure what you mean about Assyria at al - the invasion by Sargon II and the destruction of Israel (the Northern Jewish Kingdom)?
I was being sarcastic. The heroic legends of the people of abraham are fiction because there is no archeological evidence for, and a great deal against, these things. Assyria and babylon invaded and absconded with as many hebrews as they could carry. So what - Gideon did the same to the towns of Succoth and Peniel. But not really.

The rest of the hebrews remained only to be eventually defeated by the romans, who drove some off but not many, according to shlomo. The bulk of them stayed until the arabs arrived at which time they became moslem.
What is the relevance of any of this to the slightly creepy discussion, anyway?
Whats creepy about it? Reality is heartwarming.
Claudius
2.3 / 5 (12) Oct 13, 2011
@TheRaccoon

There is scant historic evidence of an Egyptian exile or slavery


There is a theory that might provide some historic evidence of the above... Akhenaten promoted a monotheistic cult worshiping the Aten. When his son Tutankhaten died, he was entombed with relics that match descriptions of the Ark of the Covenant. It may be that when the cult of the Aten was purged from Egypt, that the monotheistic followers were purged as well. This may be the historical basis of the Exodus. It may be that the Hebrews were exiled Egyptian followers of the cult of Aten. Sigmund Freud wrote a book outlining this: "Moses and Monotheism". So there may be historic evidence of this after all.

This link for more on King Tut's Ark:
http://www.lexili...i000.htm

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