THE PHYSICAL WORLD

Although over the centuries we have learned much about our physical world, from the earth below to the stars above, there are still many mysteries to uncover.  With curiosity and a thirst for knowledge as the drivers of Weizmann Institute scientists, they are working hard to unlock the doors to these answers.  Weizmann archaeologists were the first to find a way to precisely identify and analyse prehistoric ashes and discovered a pure, well-preserved DNA source in fossilised bone.  Weizmann material scientists and structural biologists also revealed that shell and bone form in a similar way and its astrophysicists for the first time watched a massive star – estimated to be a mass of 200 suns – turn supernova to black hole. Weizmann hydrologists work towards aiding the development of sound environmental policies by providing models of how groundwater moves. Overall Weizmann is looking at the past to understand the future of our planet and universe works.

Weizmann Facts

First to watch a star turn supernova then black hole

Helped prove in 1957 that ‘gluons’ – responsible for natures strongest force – exist

Showed that 50% of the mineral dust feeding the Amazon is from one small African valley

Calculated that when holding up one grain of sand to the sky, the part it covers contains 10,000 galaxies

Seeking to unlock the doors to secrets hidden in our lost worlds

Fossilised DNA was found that it could be preserved and less prone to contamination with modern DNA, allowing DNA fragments held in crystal aggregates within fossilised bone to be isolated and studied.  This Weizmann science by Professor Steve Weiner and colleagues is increasing insight into our past as well as our future.

Seeking understanding of why Amazon rainforests are so abundant

Over half the mineral dust carried through the air to settle in the Amazon basin was discovered by Weizmann’s Professor Ilan Koren to come from one small valley in the African Sahara. When measured using satellite images, this dust provides the wonderful Amazon rain forest with its nutrients.

Seeking the strongest force in nature

Gluons are the force that holds the nucleus of an atom together and Weizmann scientists were part of research in 1957 that proved they existed.  As atoms are part of all beings and structures, gluons are therefore the strongest force in nature.

Seeking answers to the greatest question in the universe – how it all began

The Large Hadron Collider in Geneva is the largest, highest-energy particle accelerator in the world. Weizmann scientists are members of an international consortium using the Collider to answer questions of the universe, such as how it all began by identifying Higgs Boson – the big bang!

Seeking knowledge about the creation of black holes

Weizmann scientist Dr Avishay Gal-Yam and colleagues at San Diego State University were the first astrophysicists to observe a star estimated to be a mass of 200 suns explode – this enabled them to confirm that a black hole had been created from this massive star explosion.

Seeking answers to the universe by discovering a new kind of supernova

While discovering a new type of supernova, Weizmann astrophysicists and an international team found something else.  They pinpointed that the supernova was the result of a nuclear reaction due to the levels of calcium and titanium involved in the explosion.  Ultimately this could explain universal mysteries such as why there is a prevalence of calcium around us and in our bodies.

Other achievements

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