Technion, Israel Institute of Technology

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TECHNION, ISRAEL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY , Israel's major engineering university; situated in Haifa. Paul *Nathan of Berlin, one of the leaders of the *Hilfsverein der deutschen Juden, was the father of the plan for a technical school in Haifa. Aided by a 100,000 ruble gift from the heirs of Kalonymus *Wissotzky of Moscow and a $100,000 contribution from Jacob *Schiff of New York, the Hilfsverein proceeded to construct a building, with Alexander *Baerwald as architect. The cornerstone was laid on the slopes of Mt. Carmel in 1912. Zionist personalities like *Aḥad Ha-Am, Jehiel *Tschlenow, and Shmarya *Levin sat on the governing board, in addition to leaders of the Hilfsverein.

As the date approached for the opening of the school, then known by the German name Technikum, a struggle broke out in the governing board over the language of instruction. The Zionist minority insisted on Hebrew, but the majority voted for German. The decision aroused a storm of controversy, in which the Hebrew *Teachers' Association took the lead. Meetings were held throughout the country; resolutions of protest were passed by practically all Jewish institutions and organizations; the Teachers' Association issued a ban against the acceptance of posts or the registration of students in the Technikum; pupils at the Hilfsverein's other schools struck in support of a demand to institute Hebrew as the sole language of instruction, and many of the teachers resigned. This "language conflict" helped to accelerate the establishment of a network of national Hebrew schools. The opening of the Technion was delayed, and before the controversy could be settled, World War i broke out. The unoccupied building served as a military hospital, first for the Turkish forces and later for the British. After the war, the Zionist Organization acquired the property from the Hilfsverein and the first classes on a university level were held in December 1924.

In the period preceding the establishment of the state, and especially during the administration of Shlomo *Kaplansky as head of the institution (1931–50), the school developed as a technological university training engineers on Central European standards. Yaakov *Dori, who was president from 1951 to 1965, with the assistance of Sydney Goldstein, who was vice president for some years, altered the educational patterns of the Technion, modeling it more on similar institutions in Western Europe and the United States. In addition to the faculties of engineering and architecture, a faculty of natural sciences and mathematics was opened in 1953. In 1952 the Technion began conferring masters' and doctors' degrees, in addition to those of bachelor and ingénieur. A school of graduate studies was formally established in 1957. In 1953 the Technion began its move from the original building in midtown Haifa to a 300-acre campus on Mt. Carmel, popularly known as Technion City. Dori was succeeded as president by Alexander *Goldberg in 1965. Successive presidents have been Gen. (Res.) Amos Horev (1973–82), Prof. Josef Singer (1982–86), Dr. Max W. Reis (1986–90), Prof. Zeev Tadmor (1990– ), Amos Lapidot (1998–2001), and Yitzhak *Apeloig (2001– ).

The following faculties and departments exist at the Technion: Aerospace Engineering, Agricultural Engineering, Architecture and Town Planning, Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Science, Education in Technology and Science, Electrical Engineering, Food Engineering and Biotechnology, General Studies, Industrial Engineering and Management, Materials Engineering, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Medicine, and Physics, and Teacher Training.

Research is carried on in all faculties and departments. Projects are sponsored by industry, the government of Israel, and foreign governments and foundations through the Research and Development Foundation. The Foundation operates field laboratories and offers consultant services, testing facilities, quality control, and technological surveys. Important research institutes on the campus are the Samuel Neaman Institute for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology, the Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences, the Asher Space Research Institute, the Solid State Institute, and the Transportation Research Institute. In 1994–95 there were 10,581 students, comprising 7,763 in undergraduate studies and 2,818 in the Graduate School. In addition, some thousands are enrolled in external studies and extension courses given in various parts of the country. In 2005 the Technion had 12,818 students, among them 9,306 undergraduates, 2,683 studying for a master's degree, and 829 for doctoral degrees. In 2005 it had 76,510 alumni. The vast majority of engineers and architects practicing in Israel are graduates of the Technion. This is the chief reservoir of skilled manpower for Israel's burgeoning high-tech industries. Over 70% of Israel's founders and managers of high-tech firms are Technion graduates and 74% of the managers in the electronic industries hold Technion degrees. An innovation was the establishment of a medical school in 1970; by 1995 close to 500 M.D. degrees had been granted. Among the medical school faculty are Avram *Hershko and Aaron *Ciechanover, the Nobel Prize laureates who received the prize in 2004 for their discovery of the crucial role of ubiquitin in the process of protein breakdown in cells. The Technion also has a special program for students to design, build, and launch their own satellite. Student facilities on campus include dormitories, a sports center, student union building, swimming pool, and a network of libraries. The language of instruction is Hebrew, but foreign students often get along with English, especially in the Graduate School. Over the years the Technion has offered many degree programs in English for students from developing countries in Africa and Asia. The Technion serves as a venue for national and international conferences and symposia on technology and science.

The Technion is an independent institution under the authority of its Board of Governors, which includes civic and industrial leaders, representatives of the teaching staff, the alumni, the government, and Technion Societies in various parts of the world. It is recognized for the conferment of academic degrees by the Israel Council for Higher Education. The executive body is the council, which meets monthly, and the chief executive officer is the president, appointed by the Board of Governors. Academic authority is vested in the senate, composed of the president, the vice presidents, all full professors, and other representatives of the academic staff.


C. Alpert, Technion, the Story of Israel's Institute of Technology; N. Levin, Ma'avak ha-Rishonim al Yi'ud ha-Technion (1964); Toledot ha-Technion be-Reshito (1953); Technion; A Bi-Monthly of Features, News and Events, 1 (1965–to date); Technion Bulletin, 1–8 (1941–48) superseded by: Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, 1–17 (1949–66); Technion Yearbook, 1–23 (1942–66); Technion Catalogue … (1955–66); TechnionThe President's Report and Reports of Other Officials (1954–69). website:

[Yaakov Dori]

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Technion, Israel Institute of Technology

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