The latest news from academia, regulators
research labs and other things of interest
Posted: November 22, 2007
Snow Chair in nanotechnology inaugurated at ben Gurion University
(Nanowerk News) The Milton and Frimette Snow Chair in Nanotechnology was inaugurated in the presence of the extended Snow family as part of the annual Ben-Gurion Day that marks the passing of Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion. The first incumbent of the Chair is Prof. Yehuda Band of the University’s Department of Chemistry.
Milton (Mickey) and Frimette Snow and their 13 combined children and grandchildren flew to Israel to attend the inauguration ceremony at the University's Marcus Family Campus.
The couple, who support a wide range of charities and educational projects, first heard about nanotechnology from their friend and attorney Barry Lipson, head of the Canadian Associates of BGU. “At the time, I didn’t know what Nanotechnology was. I thought it was some disease,” joked Mickey Snow following the ceremony. “But we were persuaded this was a good thing to do.” Snow and his family certainly know now that the science of the very, very small has become a very, very big thing.
Nanoscience is the study of particles one nanometer or one millionth of a millimeter in size – that’s less than one thousandth of the thickness of a human hair. At this scale, it is possible to manipulate single atoms or groups of atoms.
Because research in nanoscale science and technology directly impacts the ability to miniaturize, potential nanotechnology applications include the creation of more effective drug delivery systems (imagine miniscule "nano-machines" that would enter the bloodstream and kill off cancer cells), faster and more powerful computer processors and lighter and stronger materials.
“There is a necessity to play the nano game for the future of mankind,” explained Prof. Yehuda Band of Department of Chemistry at the dedication ceremony. Band, well-known for his expertise in quantum scattering and the interaction of light with matter, has been on the BGU faculty for three decades. “To make the promise of nanotechnology real,” Band explained, "involves scientists in many fields: physicists, chemists, biologists, chemical engineers, electrical engineers and medical researchers."
University President Prof. Rivka Carmi remarked that in order to meet the challenge of creatively bringing together all these disciplines, BGU recently upgraded the Ilse Katz Center for Meso- and Nanoscale Science and Technology to a full research institute – the Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology.
Rector Prof. Jimmy Weinblatt, an economist by profession, commended the Snows for their excellent investment. “An investment in science and human knowledge might not give you financial returns, but it will give you fantastic returns in terms of enhancing human knowledge.”
Mickey Snow originally studied pharmacy at the University of Toronto, but after World War II he went into the construction business. Through the Milton and Frimette Snow Charitable Foundation, the Snows support some 30 charitiesand raise money for educational and healthcare institutions in Canada and Israel. The size of the gift of the Nanotechnology Chair, related Snow, was a first. “I’d never done anything like this before; my hand was shaking a bissel as I wrote out the check. But we believed this was a good thing to do.”
Snow explained the origin of his name, which his parents adopted from the original family name “Sosnowski”. “My parents came from Poland but were married in Canada. They lived in a non-Jewish section of Toronto. My mother decided her children should have an easier name, and it was perfect for Canada.”
Nine out of the15 members of the Snow family had never been to Israel before taking the trip for the inauguration ceremony. “It has been wonderful bringing over the whole family,” Snow said. “I’m 80 years old now, how long do I have left? I wanted to do something for my children, and this trip is very meaningful.”