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A Special Event to Celebrate Innovation
Sunday, April 21, 2013
The Ithaca, New York Jewish community gathered for a special Celebration of Innovation on Sunday, April 21, 2013. 150 people attended to celebrate the innovative spirit of Israel and learn first-hand of Israel's contribution to the pacesetting project partnership launched by Mayor Bloomberg in 2012, between the City of New York, the Technion--Israel Institute of Technology, and Cornell University.
Organized by the IAUJC’s volunteer Program Chair, Marjorie Hoffman, the afternoon program included a welcome from IAUJC Co-chair, Dr. Marcia Zax, who recognized five out-going Board members with awards. Participants in the program included Cornell Provost, Kent Fuchs as moderator, Professor Craig Gotsman, director of the Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute, Cornell Professor of Electrical Engineering Michal Lipson who is an alumna with three degrees from the Technion and recent winner of the MacArthur Foundation’s ‘genius award’, and Professor Yoram Baram, inventor extraordinaire from the Technion.
Provost Fuchs introduced the Cornell NYC Tech project that includes the new Technion/Cornell Innovation Institute at its core. Provost Fuchs explained how Cornell’s partnership with the Technion came about and that Cornell NYC Tech is a new graduate school with a new academic culture for highly entrepreneurial technologists. With its permanent campus to be located on Roosevelt Island in New York City, it will position Cornell Tech alumni, faculty, and students at the center of 21st century economic and societal growth.
Fuchs gave the audience a heads-up
that exciting news would be forthcoming from NYC the following day. That
announcement, that Joan and Irwin Jacobs had just made a $133 million gift to
name the institute the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute (JTCII),
was made at New York City Hall by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Cornell President
David Skorton and Technion President Peretz Lavie. The Jacob’s gift will
support joint activities between Cornell and the Technion, including dual
master’s degree programs, faculty, graduate students and industry interactions.
Technion Professor Craig Gotsman, director of the
JTCII, then explained Israel’s growing reputation as a 'start-up nation' and
described its evolution from an agrarian economy into a country that is second
only to the U.S. in the number of companies listed on the NADAQ stock
exchange. Then, Cornell’s Prof. Lipson shared
with the audience her reflections about her education as a student of physics
at the Technion, and how it enabled her to become a leader in her field of
innovative research addressing cutting-edge problems using the power of light
Prof. Gotsman then introduced his colleague, Prof.
Baram who wowed the audience with his invention of a medical device that has
the potential to change the world for millions. His electronic goggles can be
worn by patients to overcome the effects of Parkinson’s disease on their
ability to walk. Inspired by the movie The
Awakening, Baram shared remarkable videos of his research that show patients
when aided by the device to suddenly be able to walk with a normal gait.
There was a Q&A session and the panelists met with Cornell students interested in entrepreneurial careers to advise them on career and job prospects. The program was sponsored by the IAUJC with co-sponsorship by the Tompkins Trust Company, Temple Beth El and TAMID of Cornell Hillel and ended with a reception with Middle Eastern foods.
Outside the event, a small handful of people
protested peacefully the gathering’s focus and handed out literature objecting
to the role of the Technion in advancing the militarization of Israel.