Science has played an integral role in Israel since the late 19th century. Theodor Herzl saw a Jewish homeland that would be a scientific center as well as a spiritual and cultural haven. Jews needed to transform Palestine's landscape from a barren and unhealthy ecology into a modern state to accommodate immigrants (see ALIYA). Agricultural research began in the late 19th century and has continuously been a major emphasis of Israeli science. Other prestate establishments also included medical and public health research, industrial research, and basic and applied science at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and the Daniel Sieff Research Center (later the Weizmann Institute of Science).
   When Israel was established in 1948, a scientific foundation was already in place. Preliminary research continued to focus on the technologies and projects of national importance to the development of the state. Israel has made tremendous strides in the basic and applied research of medical science and biotechnology. Although research is conducted in nearly every existing or potential scientific field, Israeli industrial science is particularly well known and very well regarded for its electronics, optics, computer-based equipment, robotics, and aeronautics. Such initiatives are a major source of employment and an important part of Israel's export base. Israel is also the world leader in agricultural science, with pioneering advancements in the development of drip irrigation. In terms of energy research and alternative fuels and power sources, Israel boasts the world's highest per capita usage of solar-powered water heaters and some of the most advanced understandings and applications of thermal energy.
   Israel's universities conduct nearly 80 percent of the country's publishable research findings and nearly all of its basic research and basic research training. The Israeli Science Foundation (ISF) is a source for most of the competitive basic research grants funding as well as a source for special programs. For larger-scale projects, TELEM, a voluntary consortium of the chief scientists of Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Science, Culture, and Sport; the president of the Israel Academy; and representatives of the Council for Higher Education, the treasury, and others, coordinates scientific endeavors and offers funding for major projects. All of Israel's universities have programs designed to spin off academic technological advances into the commercial sector. Israeli schools have developed scientific industrial parks adjacent to their campuses in order to commercially exploit laboratory developments.
   Israel publishes a disproportionate share of the world's scientific papers (about 1 percent), and Israeli scientists are international experts in a wide range of fields. In 2004, two Israeli scientists, Tech-nion professors Aaron Ciechanover and Avram Heershko, won the Nobel Prize for chemistry.
   See also Foreign Trade; Satellites.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .


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