In order to advance scientific cooperation between Israel and Hungary, the Hungarian-Israeli scientific society was formally established at Bar-Ilan University this week.
Through scientific, cultural and social programs, the society’s members will seek opportunities to exchange ideas, network, and promote joint science education programs. Both Hungary and Israel have the highest numbers of Nobel laureates per capita in the world.
Another key objective of the Society will be to strengthen ties between Israeli and Hungarian researchers in order to better utilize knowledge and resources that are available in the two countries and in the European Union.
Hungarian Ambassador to Israel, Andor Nagy in his speech referred to the Hungarian phenomenon that changed science and the course of technological development.
“Around the first half of the 20th century, an exceptionally gifted intellectual generation and scientific genius was born in Hungary. This could also be called a Jewish phenomenon because many of these great scientists were Hungarian Jews who played a great role in the knowledge transfer of science and culture into Israel,” Nagy said.
These scientists included physicist Eugene Wigner, physicist Edward Teller, mathematician Mihály (Moshe) Fekete, and László (Ladislaus) Farkas, who introduced modern physical chemistry to Israel.
In a videotaped message, the President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Prof. László Lovász, said that a key driving force of success in today’s highly competitive field of science is multidisciplinary cooperation between nations, institutions, and individual scientists. For this reason, he said, he was pleased to endorse the initiative of the Hungarian Embassy in Tel Aviv to establish the Hungary Israel Scientific Society
The Deputy Chief Scientist at Israel’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Space, Victor Weiss, noted that Israel is one of the scientific leaders in the world in scientific publications per capita, ranks in the top ten in scientific citations, and number one worldwide in scientists per capita. Israel also ranks number one in investment in science, with 4% of its gross national product invested in science and development.
The Science and Technology Attaché at the Embassy of Hungary, Dr. Tristan Azbej, further outlined some of the activities the Society is planning for 2015, including visits to Israel by key government and science officials from Hungary, participation of delegations of scientists and business people in Israeli conferences, and establishing an alumni organization for Israelis who studied medicine in Hungary.
Bar-Ilan University President Rabbi Professor, Daniel Hershkowitz, the newly-elected Honorary President of the Hungarian-Israeli Scientific Society, spoke of his parents, originally from Budapest and Transylvania, who survived concentration camps and later immigrated to Israel. “The Nazis tried to eliminate us but today we are closing the circle by establishing this Society whose goal is to enhance, increase, and enrich scientific relationships,” he said.
“The language of science is the language that bridges upon differences between cultures religions nations and languages. When we employ this language not only does science benefit from it but the entire world benefits. That’s a win-win situation from which we can only gain and the way to build the future,” added Hershkowitz.