Li Ka Shing is given a palm branch from the Einstein tree at Guangdong Technion - Israel Institute of Technology establishment ceremony

EINSTEIN AND TECHNION

“Israel can win the battle for survival only by developing expert knowledge in technology.”

-- Prof. Albert Einstein, President of the first Technion Society


The development of technical and scientific opportunities for the Jewish people, particularly at the new Technikum (former name of Technion), were vital to Prof. Albert Einstein. In 1923, Einstein visited the Technion. During his visit, he planted a now-famous first palm tree. The tree still stands today in front of the Technion’s original building. Einstein returned to Germany to set up the first Technion Society, and served as its chairman. He was later to tour America to raise funds for higher-education in Palestine, an issue he said he held "close to his heart." Einstein's motivation was not nationalistic, but humanistic. "I do what I can to help those in my tribe who are treated so badly everywhere," he said.

Albert Einstein visits Technion in 1923

Nobel Laureate Albert Einstein used to play violin in a string quartet with historic Technion architect and faculty member Prof. Alexander Baerwald. In the recession after WWI, dreams of making the Technion a functioning reality were slim, and Einstein was invited to come visit the waiting buildings designed by his friend and to advise on the dream of opening a technical institute in Haifa. On that day, the Nobel Laureate and his wife planted two trees to mark the occasion. On his return to Berlin, Einstein would open and chair the world's first Technion society – the initiation of an apparatus that would generate a century of progress, teaching and expansion, as decade after  decade, the Technion would anticipate and meet the needs of a fledgling nation.


The Einstein legacy continues with four Technion Nobel laureates in nine years. In 2004, Profs. Aaron Ciechanover and Avram Hershko received Israel's first Nobel Prizes in Science. In 2011, Prof Dan Shechtman followed on and in 2013, Prof. Arieh Warshel received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

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