ICE | The Israel Chemist and Chemical Engineer | Issue 8

31 The Israel Chemist and Chemical Engineer Issue 8 · November 2021 · Kislev 5782 Report The 2021 ICS Prize Ceremony: July 1, 2021, The Open University, Ra’anana, Israel* Ehud Keinan The Schulich Faculty of Chemistry Technion - Israel Institute of Technology E-mail: [email protected] Introduction The Israel Chemical Society (ICS) Annual Meeting (ICS) has a long history since 1933. It is a well-known event in the scientific landscape of the State of Israel. These colorful gatherings of Israeli chemists usually occur in mid-February, which is the inter-semester break for all Israeli universities at the end of the short rainy season. The chemistry departments of the six major research universities used to share the responsibility for organizing these meetings in a 6-year cycle in a constant order: the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Tel Aviv University, Bar-Ilan University, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and the Weizmann Institute of Science. Following a recent decision made by the ICS General Assembly, the Department of Chemistry at Ariel University will join this cycle in a few years and organize the 89th ICS Meeting. Over the past 25 years, the ICS has followed a unique tradition, which has attracted much attention and interest worldwide, namely hosting high-profile delegations of distinguished scientists from top academic institutions worldwide to deliver plenary and keynote lectures. This tradition has created outstanding opportunities for many Israeli scientists, particularly graduate students, to interact with world-renowned chemists, thus enhancing networking and scientific collaboration prospects. Each visit of these delegations has created a long chain of activities, including mutual visits of students and faculty members, postdoctoral and sabbatical programs, joint research proposals, and other fruitful international programs. The first delegation on this path came from The Scripps Research Institute (1997). It continued with the California Institute of Technology (1998), the University of Cambridge, UK (1999), ETH - Zurich (2000), Columbia University (2001), the University of California at Santa Barbara (2006), the Max Planck Society (2009), the Chemical Society of Japan and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (2010), Academia Sinica (2011), the University of California at Berkeley (2012), the University of Oxford (2014), Stanford University (2015), five universities from Texas (2016), the German Chemical Society (2017), the Royal Netherlands Chemical Society (2018), MIT (2019), and Yale University (2020). We were fortunate to hold the 85th Meeting on February 18-19, 2020, just a few days before international conferences fell victim to the Covid-19 global pandemic. That meeting, organized by the Institute of Chemistry of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was held at Jerusalem’s International Convention Center with a delegation of 10 outstanding professors and 20 graduate students from Yale University. Unfortunately, the lingering pandemic with its restrictions on international travel and public gatherings forced us to postpone the 86th ICS Meeting, initially planned for February 2021 with a large delegation from China to February 2022. Nevertheless, we refused to give up on awarding the alreadyannounced ICS prizes. Because most Israeli citizens were already vaccinated, the Israeli government permitted limited public gatherings and events. Therefore, we decided to hold an independent prize ceremony, including one plenary and two keynote lectures. The Venue The Open University of Israel (OUI) hosted the event on its beautiful campus in Ra’anana at the Chais Auditorium. The OUI differs substantially from the other eight universities as it is a distance-education university, awarding undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide range of disciplines. In 1970 the Minister of Education and Culture, the late Yigal Alon, and the Council for Higher Education (MALAG) appointed a committee headed by Prof. Shneior Lifson of the Weizmann Institute of Science to examine ways to expand higher education following the rapid growth of Israel ’s *For the full report, see: 10.1002/ijch.202100095