Israel Prize awarded to TAU's Prof. Klafter

The former president of Tel Aviv University has won the award for his academic work in chemistry and physics

15 February 2020
Prof. Yossi Klafter (photo: Yoram Reshef)

In a pre-recorded and ceremony, without an audience, which marked the end of Israel’s 72nd Independence Day, Prof. Klafter received the prestigious Israel Prize, in the fields of chemistry and physics, alongside laureates from other fields.


President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the Israel Prize winner, stressing that despite the difficulties brought on by the global crisis, Israel is at the forefront of scientific research and continues to be a beacon of knowledge for the world.


"This ceremony is a highlight of our Independence Day, especially during the COVID-19 crisis," the Prime Minister said. President Rivlin added, "Winning this award is a significant milestone for you as researchers, as creators and leaders, each in their own field. It’s also a significant milestone for us, as a state and a society, which sees before its eyes its finest sons and daughters."


A man of exact sciences

"Over the years, the immense and universal importance of his work has become evident, as more and more systems can be exhaustively described using the methods he developed," the jury said of Prof. Yossi Klafter, a scientist in the field of physical chemistry, who served as president of Tel Aviv University from 2009 to May 2019, and has published nearly 400 scientific articles in leading scientific journals.


Prof. Klafter completed his Bachelor's and Master's in Physics at Bar-Ilan University, and his PhD in chemistry at Tel Aviv University in 1978. After completing his post-doctoral degree in chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he joined the EXXON US Research and Engineering Unit and worked there for eight years.


In 1987, he joined the School of Chemistry at Tel Aviv University, and two years later became a full professor. Since then, he has held many positions at TAU and beyond, including serving as Israel's representative at the European Science Foundation.


As President of Tel Aviv University, Prof. Klafter encouraged closer ties and collaborations with universities and academic institutions around the world, expanding the University's academic and research activities. Among the centers established at Tel Aviv University during his tenure are the Center for Entrepreneurship, the Sylvan Adams Sports Institute, the Schmeltzer Institute for Smart Transportation, the Blavatnik Center for Drug Discovery and more. Prof. Klafter worked to make academic studies accessible to marginalized populations, and founded TAU Online, a center for learning innovation, whose digital and online courses have revolutionized the field.


Over the years, Prof. Klafter has advised and continues to advise dozens of students. He is currently continuing his research work at Tel Aviv University.


Prof. Klafter speaking at Tel Aviv University

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