ICE | The Israel Chemist and Chemical Engineer | Issue 6
52 The Israel Chemist and Chemical Engineer Issue 6 · July 2020 · Av 5780 Profile Profile of Prof. Shimon Shatzmiller Rami Krieger Department of Chemical Sciences, Ariel University, Ariel 40700 Email: [email protected] Shimon Shatzmiller (aka Shatzi) was born in 1942 to Aaron and Henia who had immigrated to the Land of Israel (Mandatory Palestine at the time) from the Romania- Hungary-Serbian triangle region (Caransebes-Lugoj) in 1929 and 1933. His father was an electrician in the cement factory in Nesher, and his mother was a housewife who volunteered in the community. Since his parents spoke German, although his mother knew the Hebrew language from being a member of the Gordonia organization in her hometown, he attended the kindergarten in a neighboring town (Nesher) where he learned the Hebrew language. In 1948, he began his studies in the elementary school in Nesher, a school for working-class children. Initially there were only ten students in the class, but later on they were joined by child survivors of the Holocaust of various ages, who had not yet learned Hebrew. Shimon graduated from Nesher Elementary School in 1956 and was then accepted into the “Beit Hinuch” High School on Shabtai Levi Street in Haifa where he was an above-average student and excelled in science subjects. In 1960, he graduated from high school and received a high school diploma with distinction in mathematics, physics and chemistry. In 1960, he began his studies at the Technion in Haifa in the chemistry department as part of the academic military reserve. In common with many distinguished chemists, Shimon says that he was inspired to study chemistry by his high school chemistry teacher. As part of his studies in the academic reserve, he participated in military courses and a basic officer’s training course. He graduated from the Technion in 1964 with honors. From 1964-1967 Shimon served as an artillery officer in a regular field battalion in the northern command and participated in many operational activities on the northern front before the Six Day War. Afterward, he served as an officer in the reserves. In 1967, he was accepted to the MSc program at the Technion but was immediately called up to the army for the Six-Day War in which he served as an artillery officer on the Syrian front. After the war, he was promoted to the rank of captain and, in the same year, married Shoshana Meirovich with whom he has three children, Ronit, Noa and Yonatan. In 1968, he completed his MSc in Organic Chemistry with Professor Eli Loewenthal on the subject: “Stereochemistry of hydrindanones and hydrindan diones,” and was accepted to doctoral studies in the same group researching gibberellic acid (plants growth hormone) which was then a significant topic in the field of organic synthesis. His thesis was entitled “Attempts towards the synthesis of gibberellin.” Shimon completed his doctorate in 1971 and then joined the research group of Professor Albert Eschenmoser at ETH, Zurich, as a postdoctoral fellow. Those two years were a crucial period in his development as an independent scientist. When the Yom Kippur War broke out in October 1973, Shimon was in Zurich but quickly returned to Israel to fight as commander of an artillery battery on the slopes of Mount Hermon.