REHOVOT, Israel -- June 4, 1996 -- A record number of doctoral degrees was conferred at the Feinberg Graduate School's annual graduation ceremony held on the Weizmann Institute campus on Sunday, June 2.
The 87 Ph.D.s were the largest number awarded since the graduate school was founded in 1958; a large number of M.Sc. degrees was also conferred. The high figures largely reflect the huge wave of immigration to Israel from the former Soviet Union in recent years.
"We've expanded the School in the past six years, particularly to absorb new immigrant students, and today we are enjoying the fruits of that absorption," Feinberg Dean Prof. Samuel Safran said at the ceremony.
Fifteen percent of the Ph.D. recipients and 20 percent of M.Sc. recipients are from the former Soviet Union.
There is also a high proportion of foreign students from other countries, reflecting the School's international ethos. Ph.D. recipients come from Poland (3), the United States (2), United Kingdom, Argentina, Germany, France, South Africa, Romania, Korea, Taiwan and Belgium (1 each). M.Sc. recipients hail from the People's Republic of China (3), Germany (2), the Czech Republic, Brazil, Canada and Argentina (1 each).
Speaking at the ceremony, Institute President Prof. Haim Harari said the career paths likely to be pursued by today's graduates would be strikingly different from those chosen when he himself received his Ph.D. some three decades ago. While in the 1960s fledgling scientists were groomed to continue research in academia, today a high proportion of them will go to industry.
The change reflects the needs of modern society, where science and technology play a key role in nearly all spheres of life, including the various branches of government, he said. Moreover, the frontiers between academia and industry are now disappearing, as well as the borders between basic and applied research, he added.
Prof. Harari's remarks were echoed by Dr. Vivi Ziv, who spoke on behalf of the graduates. The time she spent at Feinberg -- in addition to being the seven happiest years of her life -- was an excellent preparation for a career outside of academia, Dr. Ziv told the audience. Having just completed her Ph.D. thesis on mechanical properties of bones, she is already working at Myriad, the company in Kiryat Weizmann Industrial Park that manufactures ultrasound equipment for the diagnosis of osteoporosis.
The ceremony concluded with the address entitled "Of Mice and Men, and Computers," by Prof. Michael Rabin of Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Harvard University, USA, a prominent expert in computer sciences.
The Weizmann Institute of Science is a major center of scientific research and graduate study located in Rehovot, Israel.