Aharon Katzir bigraphy, stories - Chemists

Aharon Katzir : biography

1914 - 30 May 1972

Aharon Katzir (Aharon Katzir-Katchalsky) (September 15, 1914 - May 30, 1972) was an Israeli pioneer in the study of the electrochemistry of biopolymers. He was killed in the Lod Airport Massacre in 1972.


Born 1914 in Łódź, Poland, he moved to Palestine in 1925, where he taught at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. There, he adopted his Hebrew surname Katzir.

He was murdered in a terrorist attack at Ben Gurion International Airport in 1972 in which 26 people were killed and 80 injured. His younger brother, Ephraim Katzir, became the President of Israel in 1973.

Awards and commemoration

  • In 1961, Katzir was awarded the Israel Prize, in life sciences, together with his pupil, Ora Kedem.
  • The State of Israel issued a postage stamp in memory of Katzir.
  • The Katchalsky crater on the Moon is named after him.
  • A series of Hebrew lectures is held at Tel Aviv University in memory of Katzir, organized by his son Avrahm, a professor of physics. It is named: In the Crucible of the Revolution (BeKur HaMahapecha), alluding to a popular book Katzir wrote about scientific progress. It has featured lectures by Nobel Prize laureates Daniel Kahaneman and Aaron Ciechanover, and renowned philosopher Hilary Putnam.
  • A center at the Weizmann Institute of Science is named after Katzir.
  • A scholarship program of the Israeli Ministry of Defense is also named after him.

In 2005, he was voted the 177th-greatest Israeli of all time, in a poll by the Israeli news website Ynet to determine whom the general public considered the 200 Greatest Israelis.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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