Israel President Honored at Opening of New Department at Weizmann Institute of Science
Menu JTA Search

Israel President Honored at Opening of New Department at Weizmann Institute of Science

Download PDF for this date

Israel scientists will be charged with the task of restoring desolate areas of the new nation including the Negev, to their ancient fertility, President Chaim Weizmann declared today at the ceremonies dedicating the new Biophysics Department of the Weizmann Institute of Science here.

The ceremonies, which coincided with the 75th birthday of President Weizmann, were attended by scientists from the United States, Britain, France, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium and a number of South American countries. Guests, who included the entire diplomatic corps, numbered more than 1,000. President Weizmann was preceded on the speaker’s stand by Premier David Ben Gurion, who paid the Chief of State a glowing tribute, and by a number of other officials.

President Weizmann disclosed that the Institute named after him had contributed substantially to the prosecution of the war last year against the Arabs. “Our scientists,” he declared, “and those of Israel generally were able to use the facilities then available and contributed a magnificent chapter to the epic of our resistance.”

President Weizmann declared that “it is not easy to outline a program for the future (of the Weizmann Institute) without thinking in terms of the future of our state. Many are the empty and desolate areas in Israel–the Negev is one of them. It will be the task of our scientists and workers, and also of the Israelis, to wrest back the soil to its ancient fertility. Our potentialities for industrial development must be surveyed and harnessed by the state, and the Institute must help in the formulation of the scientific methods required for such development.

“In dedicating the Biophysics Department,” he continued, “we must remember the noble role that American Jewry played in building and equiping it. The American committee (for the Weizmann Institute) has been untiring and indefatigable, meeting all our demands that at times were quite exacting.”


The ceremony was opened with the reading of messages of greetings from Professor Albert Einstein, Field Marshal Jan Christian Smuts and a number of other noted scientists and political leaders. Dr. Weizmann, who was escorted to the platform by Premier Ben Gurion and Josef Sprinzak, Speaker of the Knesset, received a golden key to the Institute. The presentation was made by Dewey B. Stone, a long-time friend of the President, and a leading American Zionist.

Levi Eshkol, member of the Jewish Agency executive, and Dr. Abraham Granot, head of the world Jewish National Fund, paid tribute to the president on behalf of their respective organizations. After the new department was formally opened, the cornerstone was laid for a new bio-chemistry division.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund