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Merav Arieli was born 12 minutes before her twin sister, Tamar. They grew up in an Orthodox family of six children in a town on the edge of the Judean desert. They were good students, excelling in math and science, but especially loving Israeli geography and French. In the army, both served in educational units – Merav helping new immigrant soldiers and Tamar teaching recruits who lacked a basic education – while continuing to study religion and Jewish philosophy.
After the army, the two decided to study physics and cognitive science at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. "And when we received our degrees, we decided to continue learning physics." At the Weizmann Institute Graduate School Open Day, Tamar and Merav were "very impressed by the open, supportive atmosphere at the Institute," and they registered for graduate studies.
Merav: "Even as young girls, we were curious, and wanted to understand the working principles of nature. When we got older, that curiosity turned to science."
So far, they "know every corner of the library, and what it's like at any given hour of the day." In meetings with Institute scientists, they're working out what their futures will be. Tamar: "I think I want to be a theoretical physicist; maybe go into high-energy physics. Particle accelerators and the effort to understand the essence of matter fascinate me." Merav: "I'm also leaning toward theory, but my interest is more in biological physics – the modeling of biological systems. On the other hand, I might become an experimentalist in biological physics."
Tamar: "At the Weizmann Institute Graduate School, conditions are optimal for development: The entire system is supportive in every sense of the word. Our only responsibility is to research and study."