Israel, others urged to join chemical arms treaty


Israel, Egypt and North Korea should renounce chemical weapons, especially after Syria joined the convention banning them and three other nations plan to do so, the chief of an international watchdog said on Tuesday.

Ahmet Uzumcu, head of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said Angola, Myanmar and South Sudan were preparing to join the pact.

“Now since Syria has become a member country, I think (Israel) can reconsider,” Uzumcu told Reuters in Oslo, where he accepted the 2013 Nobel award for the OPCW.

Israel, which has observer status at the OPCW, signed the convention in 1993, but has never ratified it.

As with its presumed nuclear arsenal, Israel has never publicly admitted having chemical weapons. Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said in September that Israel would be ready to discuss the issue when there was peace in the Middle East.

“I don't see any excuse for not joining the convention,” Uzumcu said. “Three (nations) are very close to membership and I hope the others will reconsider their positions.”

The OPCW's mission gained critical importance this year after a sarin gas attack outside Damascus in August killed hundreds of people, exacerbating a 2-1/2-year-old conflict in Syria in which more than 100,000 have died.

Syria then agreed under a deal arranged by the United States and Russia to destroy all of its 1,300 metric tons of sarin, mustard gas and other lethal agents, averting U.S. missile strikes.

“The only consolation is that those attacks led to renewed efforts by the international community to eliminate them,” Uzumcu said, referring to chemical weapons around the world.

CHALLENGES

Work is Syria is hampered by security challenges and needs more money but the Syrian government is doing its best to cooperate and OPCW expects soon to secure a port where the deadliest chemicals can be neutralized offshore, he said.

“There are some contacts which are under way and we may be informed within a week to 10 days,” Uzumcu said, without identifying the port. “The Syrian government has been quite cooperative, constructive and transparent so far.”

The United States is donating a naval ship and equipment to destroy Syria's most dangerous chemical weapons but securing a port has proven especially difficult and the OPCW is at risk of missing its December 31 deadline to remove these weapons from Syria.

Getting rid of the less dangerous weapons is also a challenge, unless more funds are forthcoming, Uzumcu said.

“The financial contributions have been encouraging but we expect more because we have built a trust fund for the second category of chemical substances, which will have to be destroyed at commercial plants,” he said.

“The United States will cover all the costs for the priority-one chemical weapons. For the second category of weapons, we estimate 35 to 40 million euros,” Uzumcu said.

The OPCW hopes to remove all chemical weapons from Syria by February 5 and to destroy them by June 30. The most dangerous of the chemicals, about 500 metric tons, will be processed by the United States and stored at an undetermined location.

The U.S. ship cannot sail into a Syrian port so current plans call for Danish and Norwegian merchant ships to get the chemicals out, some to be transferred to the U.S. vessel and the less lethal ones to commercial chemical plants for incineration.

Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Alistair Lyon

Scientists who took chemistry into cyberspace win Nobel Prize


Three U.S. scientists won the Nobel chemistry prize on Wednesday for pioneering work on computer programs that simulate complex chemical processes and have revolutionised research in areas from drugs to solar energy.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, awarding the prize of 8 million crowns ($1.25 million) to Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel, said their work had effectively taken chemistry into cyberspace. Long gone were the days of modelling reactions using plastic balls and sticks.

“Today the computer is just as important a tool for chemists as the test tube,” the academy said in a statement. “Computer models mirroring real life have become crucial for most advances made in chemistry today.”

Chemical reactions occur at lightning speed as electrons jump between atomic nuclei, making it virtually impossible to map every separate step in chemical processes involving large molecules like proteins.

Powerful computer models, first developed by the three scientists in 1970s, offer a new window onto such reactions and have become a mainstay for researchers in thousands of academic and industrial laboratories around the world.

'LIKE A MOVIE'

In drug design, for example, scientists can now use computers to calculate how an experimental medicine will react with a particular target protein in the body by working out the interplay of atoms.

“The field of computational modelling has revolutionised how we design new medicines by allowing us to accurately predict the behaviour of proteins,” said Dominic Tildesley, president-elect of Britain's Royal Society of Chemistry.

Today, all pharmaceutical companies use such computational chemistry to screen experimental compounds for potential as medicines before taking into further tests on animals or people.

The ability to model chemical reactions has also grown as computers have become more powerful, while progress in biotechnology has produced ever more complex large molecules for use in treating diseases like cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.

“It has revolutionised chemistry,” Kersti Hermansson, professor in organic chemistry at Uppsala University, said of the computer modelling. “When you solve equations on the computer, you obtain information that is at such detail it is almost impossible to get it from any other method.”

“You can really follow like a movie, in time and in space. This is fantastic detail…You can solve problems, determine why things happen – energy problems, corrosion, chemical reactions, materials, why the properties are how they are and how you could improve them to design better materials.”

Karplus, a U.S. and Austrian citizen, carries out research at the University of Strasbourg and Harvard University. Levitt, a U.S. and British citizen, is at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Warshel, a U.S. and Israel citizen, is a professor at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

The approach has applications in industrial processes, such as materials science, the design of solar cells or catalysts used in cars. For the former, programs can be used to mimic the process of photosynthesis by which green leaves absorb sunlight and produce oxygen.

EARLY SETBACKS

It was not an easy scientific journey, however. Warshel said he had been convinced of the case for using computers to simulate chemical reactions since 1975 but did not know if he would live to see it adopted.

“I always knew it was the right direction, but I had infinite difficulties and setbacks in the research. None of my papers were ever published without being rejected first,” he told Reuters.

“It was clear to me since 1975 that this technique was the most powerful one ever used in biophysics. But I didn't know if I would ever be proved right in my lifetime.”

A unique insight of Warshel, Karplus and Levitt was to use computer simulations to combine quantum mechanics, which explains the making and breaking of chemical bonds, with classical Newtonian mechanics, which captures the movement of proteins.

Ultimately, the ability to computerise such complex chemical processes might make it possible to simulate a complete living organism at the molecular level – something Levitt has described as one of his dreams.

Levitt stressed the importance of the raw passion for science that marks out top scientists.

“I am a computer geek,” he told Reuters.

Back in the 1960s there were no personal computers, he said, so the only way for scientists to get their hands on a computer was to find ways to use it in their work.

“That's not to say that I became a computational chemist in order to play with computers, but a large part of any creative activity is to feel that you're playing. All science is driven by passion; you have to feel that you just have to do it. You have to care about things other people don't care about.”

Chemistry was the third of this year's Nobel prizes. The prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace were first awarded in 1901 in accordance with the will of businessman and dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel.

Award named for Nobel laureate


The wheel of history has come full circle for Otto Meyerhof (1884-1951), a biochemist who was once the pride of Germany as a Nobel laureate, then a Jewish refugee, and now rehabilitated and honored by his native country.

A particularly interested witness to this process is Burbank resident David Meyerhof, grandson of the scientist, who recently received a letter from the German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

The letter announced that on Oct. 5, the society would confer a newly established monetary award on a young scientist in the name of Otto Meyerhof in recognition of the latter’s contribution to science and research.

Meyerhof’s most significant work was on the chemical reactions of metabolism in muscles, which pointed to an understanding of the source of energy in the body.

In 1922, Meyerhof was warded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, together with British scientist A.V. Hill.

The proud German government of the Weimar Republic appointed Meyerhof head of the country’s prestigious medical research institute in Heidelberg and later set up a special laboratory for him in Berlin.

The roots of the Meyerhof family in Germany went back some 400 years, and, like most German Jews of his background and standing, Otto Meyerhof was fully assimilated.

He had his three children baptized at birth, but his true religion was his scientific work, his grandson recounted in an interview.

Everything changed when Hitler came to power. The Nobel laureate was stripped of his teaching post in 1935, though, in view of his global reputation, he was allowed to continue as head of the Heidelberg research institute.

In that position, and despite attacks on him in the Nazi press, he was able to employ and protect young Jewish scientists on his staff.

But by 1938, even the most patriotic German Jew could sense that there was no future for him under the Nazis. One evening, Meyerhof prepared an elaborate experiment in his lab as a cover and the same night took a train to Paris.

Two years later, when the German army overran France, Meyerhof joined the desperate stream of Jewish refugees trying to escape. Thanks to the help of Varian Fry, an American journalist who famously set up an escape route across the Pyrenees Mountains into Spain, saving the lives of many noted artists, scientists and intellectuals, among others, Meyerhof and his family were able to reach Lisbon, Portugal, and catch a ship to New York.

He arrived in the United States in late 1940 and accepted a professorship at the University of Pennsylvania.

His then 18-year-old son, Walter, in the meantime had escaped from a French internment camp and made it to New York on his own, and went on to became a noted nuclear physics professor at Stanford University.

Walter’s son, David, was born in late 1950 in Palo Alto, Calif., some 10 months before the death of his grandfather, and growing up he knew little of his family’s history.

Indeed, David Meyerhof said, it wasn’t until he was in his 20s that his father told him about his grandparents and their escape from Germany.

After high school, David attended UC Santa Barbara and California State University, Los Angeles, and then for 33 years taught a sixth-grade honors class in math and science at the Florence Nightingale Middle School in Highland Park.

Most of his students were of Latino or African-American descent, and, he said, “I take great pride that most of them have gone on to fine colleges.”

Now retired, the 62-year-old Meyerhof has been researching his family history and their Jewish connections more intensively.

Although not religious, he and his wife, Carol, attend services on Jewish holidays, but his main interest is to talk to middle- and high-school students about the Holocaust and his family’s legacy.

Meyerhof has received many letters and e-mails from students in the Burbank Unified School District, and he particularly cherishes notes from students who declare that his talks have changed their lives.

He wrote a book of poetry, “Look Beyond,” which, he said, includes “60 poems of inspiration and affirmation, based primarily on my parents.”

For personal reasons, Meyerhof said he will not attend the prize award ceremony on Oct. 5, but he plans to go to Germany next year and join in observances marking the 130th anniversary of his grandfather’s birth.

What is it about Israel that wins Nobels?


Dan Shechtman remembers the day he was kicked out of a research group because of the theory that last week won him the Nobel Prize in chemistry.

“Read this book. What you say is impossible,” the group leader at the National Bureau of Standards in Maryland, where Shechtman was doing his sabbatical in 1982, told him.

“I told him, ‘I know this book, and I know I have something new,’ ” Shechtman replied.

The response, recalls Shechtman: “You are a disgrace and I want you to leave my group.”

Schechtman joined another group, but the paper he wrote was rejected and he was ridiculed by many colleagues.

“My friends were nice to me, but kind of in the way that you’re nice to the retarded kid,” Shechtman recalled with a wry smile at a news conference this week.

Nearly 30 years later, Shechtman received the Nobel Prize for his work in quasicrystals, also called Shechtmanite.

Shechtman is the 10th Israeli to win a Nobel Prize, part of a chain that stretches back to S.Y. Agnon, who won the prize for literature in 1966. Of the 840 Nobel Prizes ever awarded, some 20 percent have gone to Jews. Israel, with its population of 7.5 million, has won the same number of Nobels as India, which was founded a year before Israel and has a population of 1.15 billion.

What is it about Israel—and Jews—that wins Nobels?

“Israeli universities, like my university, the Technion, are excellent,” Shechtman said of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. “But there’s also an Israeli spirit of free thinking. Sometimes it leads to chaos because everyone has his own idea about everything, but free thinking encourages successful scientists.”

Since 2002, Israeli scientists have received six Nobels—two in economics and four in chemistry.

Some say Jews are uniquely suited to the study of science.

“For thousands of years, Jews have been brought up to question and to try to bridge the gap between existing knowledge and the prevailing reality,” Gidi Greenstein, the director of the Reut Institute think tank, told JTA. “You have the Torah and the Talmud, and then you have the reality, which keeps changing. The tension between what we know and what we experience is the secret of creativity.”

Others say there is something unique about the Israeli character.

“One of the things you need to do well in science and high tech is to think outside the box, and we as Israelis are not familiar with any boxes,” said Professor Dan Ben David, director of the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel. “We don’t understand lines, we don’t believe in lines and we always ask why when someone asks us to do something. That can be very aggravating, but it’s a great quality when it comes to doing research.”

Israelis also tend to be tenacious and obstinate. The saying “Right or wrong, but never in doubt,” could be a national slogan. Schechtman provides the perfect example: He was ridiculed for years but never gave up.

“Open societies that are self-critical can foster courage and an appreciation for the pursuit of truth,” said Daniel Gordis, president of the Shalem Foundation. “Israel, for all its faults, and there are many, has both intellectual openness and academic excellence.”

Others say that Israel’s overwhelming defense needs have boosted the state’s interest in science.

“An enormous amount of money has been invested here in security,” said Professor Yaron Oz, the dean of Tel Aviv University’s Exact Sciences Department. “A large number of people studied science or engineering relative to the population, and many of them studied in military related programs. It was seen as essential to Israel to develop its own weapons.”

Oz says that in many other Western countries, more students are going into fields like law or business, which are more lucrative than science. But in Israel, scientists are highly respected and salaries are competitive.

Many Israeli scientists worry that the level of Israeli students is slipping and call for more government spending on science education. In a study conducted by the Taub Center, Ben David compared the levels of science, math and reading in 25 developed countries, including Israel. Israel came in last place.

“We need excellent teachers who cannot only teach, but can be role models,” Shechtmann said. “In some countries, a teacher has prestige and a good salary. Here a teacher can’t support his family.”

At the same time, there is a trend of Israeli scientists from abroad returning to Israel to continue their research here. Oz came to Israel from Geneva 10 years ago. The latest Nobel Prize will only encourage that trend, some predicted.

“Every Israeli university has graduate students that can compete with the best students in the world,” Oz said. “You need talent and infrastructure, and I think we have both. I expect we will win many more Nobel Prizes.”

Obama’s Nobel Prize, Israel’s problem?


Although warm and effusive in their congratulations, Israeli officials fear President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize could limit his options on Iran.

They argue that Obama, having won the prestigious award for restoring the role of diplomacy in international affairs, may be more inclined to take the military option off the table, paving the way for Iran to advance its nuclear plans with relative impunity.

The Israelis have similar concerns on the Palestinian track, fearing the prize might encourage Obama to redouble his efforts for an independent Palestinian state by 2012 by pressing Israel to make far-reaching concessions.

Even before news of the Nobel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had deep misgivings about the new U.S. diplomatic engagement with Iran.

Successful dialogue could lead to pressure on Israel to dismantle its reputed nuclear arsenal. One Israeli nightmare scenario is that Iran demands Israeli nuclear disarmament as a condition of its agreement to drop its nuclear weapons program.

Were this to happen, the Israelis fear the praise the Norwegian Nobel committee heaped on Obama’s advocacy of a nuclear-free world could exacerbate their predicament.

What worries Israeli strategic thinkers more is the more likely scenario of a U.S.-Iran dialogue that fails to produce conclusive results, sucking the Obama administration into a long-meandering process the Iranians use as a cover to advance their nuclear activities.

The concern persists despite U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s reassurance in London last weekend that “the international community will not wait indefinitely for evidence that Iran is prepared to live up to its international obligations.”

With all these developments, the Netanyahu government seems to be developing a pragmatic Iran strategy. Netanyahu seems resigned to waiting out Washington’s efforts at dialogue and to giving international sanctions a chance if dialogue fails. Some of Netanyahu’s close advisers say the dialogue stage is necessary so that when it fails—as it is bound to do, they argue—Obama will be able to muster an effective and widely backed sanctions regime.

The main plank of the Israeli waiting game, however, is to coordinate throughout as closely as possible with Washington on intelligence and on possible military action.  Netanyahu, who has warned repeatedly that Israel will not tolerate a nuclear Iran, does not want to act without close U.S. coordination.

That’s where this month’s huge joint military exercise in Israel’s Negev Desert comes in. In maneuvers dubbed Juniper Cobra, the Israel Defense Forces, the U.S. European Command and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency will test four defense systems against incoming ballistic missiles, such as those from Iran. The main purpose will be to hone the interoperability of Israel’s Arrow 2 and three state-of-the-art American systems: the high altitude THAAD, the ship-based Aegis and the lower altitude Patriot PAC 3.

All four will be coordinated by American X-Band Radar, deployed in the Negev since last October and capable of tracing an object as small as a baseball from a distance of approximately 3,000 miles. This means that with X-Band and the various interceptor systems, Israel theoretically could shoot down Iranian Shihab missiles shortly after take-off and possibly still over Iranian territory. Israelis also would get warning time of 5 to 7 minutes to take cover after Iranian missile firings.

About 1,000 U.S. soldiers and 15 U.S. naval vessels are taking part in the exercise, the fifth of its kind since 2001 and by far the biggest and most complex.

After the exercise, the Americans may leave behind some PAC-3 interceptors and deploy Aegis vessels in the Mediterranean and Red seas. Washington is considering deploying parts of the missile defense system it had intended for Eastern Europe in Israel, Turkey and the Balkans. U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says this will enable the United States to have a partial system working by 2011, whereas in Eastern Europe it would have taken until 2017.

All this sends a strong message to Iran. Attacking Israel would mean confronting an Israeli-American defensive umbrella at the very least, and possibly a lethal Israeli-American counter-offensive.

But it also sends a strong message to Israel. If it can count on a strong American umbrella, it should feel less compelled to act against Iran on its own, less concerned about giving up its reputed nuclear arsenal and more inclined to make concessions to the Palestinians.

Of course, that still leaves the $64,000 question unanswered: What happens if the United States gets sucked into a long, seemingly aimless dialogue with Iran, and Israel sees smoking-gun evidence of an incipient Iranian nuclear capability that America chooses to ignore?

That’s the scenario Netanyahu hopes his coordination strategy will help avoid. Otherwise he is facing one of the hardest choices of any Israeli leader: To antagonize America or face the consequences of a nuclear Iran.

Roast for Richard; A Wish Is Granted; And the World Tastes Good; New Faces X 2


Roast for Richard

City of Hope honored civic leader and philanthropist Richard S. Ziman at a toast and roast Sept, 14. Ziman was presented with City of Hope’s Spirit of Life Award and President’s Award for his longstanding commitment to the advancement of science and the care of patients with cancer. The event raised $1.6 million for City of Hope’s groundbreaking cancer research and treatment programs.

A Wish Is Granted

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Rabbi Elianna Yolkut was installed Sept. 16 at Adat Ari El, a conservative synagogue in Valley Village. Yolkut was ordained this past spring from the University of Judaism’s Zeigler School of Rabbinic Studies.

New Faces II

Jewish National Fund (JNF) has hired Donna De La Paz as regional zone director. Virginia-born De La Paz has worked in the Jewish communal world since 1988, most recently as the associate director of development in Florida for the Anti-Defamation League. Prior to that she was executive director of the Miami and Houston offices of the American Jewish Committee. Her first Jewish communal job was for B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO) where, as a teenager, she was imbued with a love for Israel.

“Donna possesses all the qualities we look for in a leader,” said Russell F. Robinson, CEO of JNF of America. “She is intelligent, creative, thoughtful, innovative, but most importantly, she is passionate about Israel. For someone to convey to others — donors and lay leaders alike — what JNF does, its value to life in Israel and the role it plays in the growth, security and continuity of the Jewish homeland, they need to care deeply. Donna does and we are excited to welcome her aboard and look forward to what she can accomplish.”

With a background in education, De La Paz began her professional career as a teacher on track to become a school principal. Somewhere along the way the track shifted, and when deciding what she wanted to do with her life, she recalled that her happiest moment was the summer she spent in Israel with BBYO.

“I called BBYO for a job,” she said, “and haven’t looked back since.

As JNF’s zone director she hopes to build a strong board who will help her better educate the community about who JNF is and the work it does.

“People just don’t know the breadth and scope of all that we do,” she said, “and we do so much.”

For more information, call 323-964-1400.

And the World Tastes Good

Yummy, was the word for the night Southern California’s most prominent Jewish leaders and elite raised in excess of $200,000 to benefit student scholarships at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem at the third annual “A Chocolate Affaire,” sponsored by American Friends of the Hebrew University (AFHU). Almost 300 guests wandered about the event, an extravagant evening of gourmet food, cocktails, live music and chocolate tasting, in a beautiful home in Holmby Hills Sept. 9.

Represented there were various treats like Carvel Ice Cream, and gourmet cuisine was provided by The Kitchen for Exploring Foods. Beacon Restaurant donated signature desserts for the third year in a row. Chocolate and dessert sponsors besides Carvel included Chrissie’s Cookie’s, Leonida’s Belgian Chocolate, My Mother’s Brownies, Osteria Latini and See’s Candies.

Among those who were seen noshing shamelessly (or was that just me?) were guest speaker Shaul Druckmann, a Hebrew University student ambassador and doctoral candidate in neuroscience, who shared his personal experiences and stressed the need for scholarship support; AFHU chairman Richard Ziman; attorney Patricia Glaser, Western Region president of AFHU; several members of the AFHU board of directors; “American Idol’s” Paula Abdul, and Peter Willner, AFHU national executive director

AFHU is a national, not-for-profit organization that provides programs, events, and fundraising activities to support Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel’s foremost center of higher education and research. AFHU’s Western Region is helping to lead the way in ensuring that the university’s 24,000 students have the resources they need to become leaders and innovators in Israel and around the world.

Five Jews Nab Nobel Science Wins


When David J. Gross, a winner of this year’s Nobel Prize in physics, was asked whether he was Jewish, he told a reporter, “What do you think? Of course!”

The same affirmative answer applied to five out of six 2004 science Nobel Laureates. Two are Israelis, three are Americans — all from Southern California universities — and two of these Americans have close ties to Israel.

The Israeli winners, Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover of the Technion in Haifa, shared the $1.35 million prize in chemistry with Irwin A. Rose, professor emeritus at UC Irvine.

They were recognized for their research on the regulatory process taking place inside human cells, a discovery leading to the development of drugs against cancer and degenerative diseases.

“The practical applications are too numerous to mention,” said Rose, generally addressed as Ernie, who was quick to give major credit for the prize-winning work to Hershko.

In the typical research collaboration between professors and their graduate students, Rose became Hershko’s doctoral thesis adviser when he spent part of his 1972 sabbatical year at Israel’s Hadassah Medical Center.

“I took my wife, four children and mother-in-law and we settled in Jerusalem,” he said.

Ciechanover, in turn, became Hershko’s graduate student and over the next 19 years, the two Israelis spent the summers at Rose’s lab at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

Ciechanover is director of the David and Janet Polak Center for Cancr Research and Vascular Biology, a project of the Southern California chapter of the American Technion Society.

The two Technion researchers are the first Israelis to receive Nobel Prizes in a scientific discipline and their work has been supported for many years by the New York-based Israel Cancer Research Fund.

Jubilant Israelis liked the Nobel award to the Olympic gold medal won by Israeli windsurfer Gal Friedman. The prize was also seen as a telling answer to some European academicians who have called for a boycott of Israeli scholars.

Rose was born in Brooklyn, attended Hebrew school, but became a “confirmed secularist” at age 10. Now 78, he and his wife live in Leisure World in Orange County, are active in the retirement community’s Concerned Citizens group and express their Jewish identity mainly through their ties with Israel, he said.

For the Nobel prize in physics, Gross, director of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at UC Santa Barbara, shared the award with professor H. David Politzer of Caltech and professor Frank Wilczek of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Nobel Foundation recognized their development of quantum chromodynamics, the study of the mysterious “strong force” that holds the nuclei of the atom together, even as the protein’s electrical charges try to blow them apart.

The development is seen by many scientists as a major step toward a “Theory of Everything” — a single set of equations to explain all phenomena from the force holding atoms together to the gravitational fields that hold planets in orbit.

Colleagues confirmed that Politzer is Jewish, but he did not respond to an interview request, and former Los Angeles Times science editor Irving Bengelsdorf described the Caltech physicist as unusually shy and sensitive.

Politzer affirmed this description by refusing to attend a press conference in his honor, despite the pleading of Caltech President David Baltimore.

Gross, who previously taught at Princeton, was more outgoing. As a teenager and young man, he lived for eight years in Israel, while his father served as economic adviser to the government and founded the business administration school at the Hebrew University.

The younger Gross received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Hebrew University.

“For one day, until Hershko’s and Ciechanover’s award was announced, I was considered the first ‘Israeli’ scientist to have won a Nobel Prize,” Gross said.

For five years, he directed the Jerusalem Winter School at the Hebrew University’s Institute for Advanced Studies and will be back in Israel in April to participate in a symposium on Albert Einstein.

The figure for the total number of Jewish Nobelists varies slightly, depending on the strictness of the “Who’s a Jew?” definition. But the figure cited most frequently is 161, or 22 percent of Nobel Prizes in all categories awarded between 1901-2003. With the 2004 additions, the total apparently stands at 166.

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