Young Israeli scientist wins top award, $100k prize

Young Israeli scientist wins top award, $100k prize

An innovative system to detect pollutants in urban water system nets Yossi Kabessa honors in the Global Young Scientists Summit

Yossi Kabessa shows off his gold medal (Photo credit: Courtesy)
Yossi Kabessa shows off his gold medal (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Yossi Kabessa, who last December created the world’s tiniest Chanukah menorah – out of a piece of dust – has done it again: Kabessa was named winner of the just-completed Global Young Scientists Summit, held in Singapore. Kabessa, who received the award from Singapore’s president Tony Tan Keng Yam, returned to Israel with the Singapore Challenge gold medallion and a $100,000 cash prize.

The Global Young Scientists Summit is an international gathering that brings together bright young researchers from all over the world to address major global challenges, and how chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, computer science and engineering can help solve them.

The January event brought together 350 post-doctoral fellows and PhD students from around the world, along with internationally eminent science and technology leaders, among them 13 Nobel laureates. Kabessa is the Bryant and Lillian Shiller Fellow at the Hebrew University’s Peter Brojde Center for Innovative Engineering and Computer Science.

This year’s Summit theme was developing methods to deal with urban development and ensure that cities remain healthy places to live. Kabassa proposed using biosensors, based on genetically engineered bacteria to monitor the presence of pollutants and hazardous materials in municipal water supply systems. The project was the outgrowth of another one using biosensors, which were used to detect the presence of landmines, a project that was led by Prof. Aharon Agranat and Prof. Shimshon Belkin at the Hebrew University.

Yossi Kabessa's nano-sized menorah (Photo credit: Courtesy)
Yossi Kabessa’s nano-sized menorah (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Kabessa, a nanotechnology expert, was also the brains behind another big Hebrew University event. In December, Kabessa, along with fellow doctoral student Ido Eisenberg, built a nano-scale Hannukah menorah, standing less than a tenth of a milimeter and invisible to the naked eye. The menorah was built using the Nanoscribe laser lithography system, allowing for the manipulation of micro- and nano-sized structures for use in a wide variety of applications such as micro-optics, photonics, opto-electronics, materials research, and life sciences.

“The Global Young Scientists Summit provided a great opportunity to exchange ideas with top scientists and Nobel laureates from around the world,” Kabessa said when he returned home from Singapore earlier this month. “I was proud to present made-in-Israel ideas for ensuring the safety of large populations around the world, and I was especially honored to bring home the gold medallion to the Hebrew University and to Israel.”

read more: