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1957: Israel Hosts a Major International Physics Conference

The first major international physics conference - with the participation of some of the world's top physicists - was a cause celebre for the whole country. Politicians joined in, but the Israeli scientists understood that the conference was testiment to the contribution they were making to global physics.

“And now gentlemen, do the photographers a favor and try to look intelligent,” Professor Felix Bloch told his friends Chaim Pekeris, Niels Bohr, Robert Oppenheimer, Meyer Weisgal and Amos de-Shalit. …The travel to the celebrations in Rehovot was Oppenheimer’s first trip outside the US borders: he had been among the leading figures accused by McCarthy’s commission.

…Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and Oppenheimer used different words to express the same idea: They emphasized that science can be a source of redemption for humanity only if the scientific effort goes hand in hand with eternal values of human morality.

Dvar Hashavua (photo essay, translated from Hebrew), May 28, 1958
Photo: Boris Carmi

 

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Israel BDS – building dialogue through science – aims to promote the kind of international collaboration that can lead to true understanding between people. Israel BDS stands for the free and open exchange of ideas among scientists everywhere. By reporting on the benefits of Israeli-international scientific research and the web of connections that these scientists create around the world, Israel BDS takes a vibrant approach to highlighting the global necessity of continued international scientific collaboration.

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Robert Oppenheimer in front the the newly-completed physics building of the Weizmann Institute of Science, 1957

Robert Oppenheimer in front the the newly-completed physics building of the Weizmann Institute of Science, 1957