Students at the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston got a sneak peak at a major new science collaboration between Cornell University and Israel’s Technion, thanks to the project’s founding director.
Craig Gotsman spoke to students on Dec. 17, describing the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute — a key component of Cornell NYC Tech — and its new campus being built on New York City’s Roosevelt Island. The applied sciences graduate school offers dual degrees in media technology and other fields associated with New York’s and Israel’s tech sectors.
Technion — the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa — is involved in bringing “the Israeli culture of startups to the Big Apple,” Gotsman told the students. While the campus will focus on master’s and doctoral level degrees, he said, there would be some high school level programs, and he also advised students to look into the undergraduate programs given in English at Technion.
Gotsman, who holds the Hewlett-Packard chair in computer engineering at Technion, is a native of Manchester, England, and grew up in Durban, South Africa, before moving to Israel. He shared information about Technion’s 100-year history with the students, highlighting the Nobel prize winners from the university, its role in the agricultural history of Israel, and its academic and business reputation.
He credited the Technion with the rise of the high-tech industry in Israel, pointing to Matam, the Scientific Industries Center built in close proximity to the Technion campus that features such high profile tenants as Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Yahoo. He also spotlighted a variety of Israeli high-tech success stories, including Waze, (a mapping app that includes current traffic patterns), Given Imaging (which manufactures diagnostic products using nanotechnology), and Argo Medical Tech (a company creating robotic limbs that enable paralyzed patients to walk).
A handful of students continued the conversation with Gotsman for at least half an hour after his talk.
Avi BenDory, 15, of Livingston — who said he hopes to go into technical engineering and has already considered attending Technion — thought Gotsman “presented some really exciting opportunities.”
Head of school Rabbi Eliezer Rubin said he views such high-tech visions relating to Israel as “an emerging model of Zionism” and was pleased that Gotsman was able to inspire and excite the students” about technology, entrepreneurship, and innovation.”