Tag Archives: Technion

Jew of the Week: Shaul Ladany

The Ultimate Survivor

Shaul Ladany

Shaul Ladany

Shaul Paul Ladany¬†(b. 1936) was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. When he was 5, the Nazis bombed his hometown and his family fled to Hungary. A few years later, with nowhere else to turn, his parents hid him in a monastery. The plan failed and the whole family was caught and sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where they spent six months. Many of them died there, but Ladany and his parents were lucky to be saved by a group of American Jews who ransomed out 2000 prisoners. In 1948, the family made aliyah to Israel. There, Ladany earned a Master’s in Engineering from Technion. He later got a Ph.D from Columbia University. During his studies, Ladany trained himself to become a marathon runner, then switched to race-walking. He would go on to win 38 national titles globally, and set a new world record that stills stands to this day (50 miles in under 7 and a half hours). He participated in his second Olympic games in Munich in 1972, wanting to make a statement as a Holocaust survivor competing in Germany. The night after his race, Palestinian terrorists broke into the Israeli quarters. Ladany managed to escape by jumping out of his window, and rushed to notify the authorities of the attack. Sadly, 11 of the 16 Israelis were killed. Ladany went back to race-walking soon after, winning a gold medal at the World Championships the same year, then breaking more records, and becoming the first person to ever win both the American Open and American Masters championships. Despite his age, Ladany continues to compete, setting another record in 2006 as the first 70 year-old to walk 100 miles in under 24 hours. He recently swam across the Sea of Galilee, and did a 300 km walk across Europe. It is estimated that he has walked over half a million miles over his life. On top of this, Ladany was a professor of industrial engineering for over 30 years, publishing over 120 scholarly books and articles (in addition to an autobiography), and has lectured in universities around the world. He holds eight patents, speaks nine languages, and has been inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Unbelievably, he has also defeated both skin cancer and lymphoma – no wonder that he has been nicknamed “the Ultimate Survivor”. He still walks at least 15 kilometers every day.

Words of the Week

A person should have two pockets in his coat. One should contain the Talmudic saying: “For my sake was the world created.” In the second pocket he should keep the Torah verse: “I am but dust and ashes.”
– Rabbi Simchah Bunim of Peshischa

Jews of the Week: Dov Moran, Dan Harkabi, and the USB Key

Dov Moran

The Universal Serial Bus (USB) key was invented in Israel by a tech company called M-Systems. The company was founded in 1989 by Dov Moran¬†(b. 1955), a graduate of Haifa’s Technion Institute. Their first major project was creating an easy to use digital storage device that could hold a great deal of information in a small space. In 1995, M-Systems released DiskOnChip, the first ever flash drive. Building on this success, M-Systems patented the DiskOnKey in April 1999. The technology was quickly licensed by IBM and debuted in the US in late 2000, known as the USB Key. With 8 Mb of storage, it held over 5 times more data, wrote 10 times faster, and was far more durable (and smaller) than the standard floppy disk. The USB rapidly rose to popularity, and is now the most ubiquitous personal digital storage device.

Dan Harkabi

The project to develop the USB was led by Dan Harkabi, along with Amir Ban, Oron Ogdan, and company founder Dov Moran. In 2006, M-Systems was acquired by competitor SanDisk for $1.6 billion. Moran went on to start a company called Modu, which was acquired by Google in 2011. He now chairs two more Israeli tech companies, and recently launched a new start-up called Comigo, which is building systems to intertwine handheld devices with televisions. Meanwhile, Dan Harkabi – who served in the Israeli Air Force for over 20 years – is CEO of Picosmos, where he continues to work on flash drive technology.

Words of the Week

The tongue is secured behind the teeth and behind the lips, yet there is no end to the damage it causes. Imagine if it were outside!
Yalkut Shimoni

Jews of the Week: Nathan Rosen & Brian Podolsky

Podolsky and Rosen

Nathan Rosen (1909-1995) was born in Brooklyn and studied at MIT during the Great Depression. While still young, he published several famous papers, including ‘The Neutron’, which predicted the structure of the nucleus a year before it was discovered. Between 1935 and 1945 he was Albert Einstein’s personal assistant at Princeton. Together, they discovered (mathematically) a “bridge” connecting distant areas of space – now called a wormhole. With Einstein’s encouragement, Rosen moved to the nascent State of Israel and joined Haifa’s Technion in 1953. He later served as President of Ben-Gurion University, founded the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the Physical Society of Israel, and the International Society for General Relativity and Gravitation. Aside from all this, he is most famous for coming up with the well-known “EPR Paradox” together with Einstein and a fellow Jewish scientist named Podolsky (hence “EPR”).

Boris Yakovlevich Podolsky (1896-1966) was born in Russia to a poor Jewish family which immigrated to the U.S. in 1913. He served in the US Army and worked as an electrical engineer before returning to school and earning a PhD from Caltech. In 1933 he was given a fellowship at Princeton, which led to his collaboration with Einstein and Rosen on the EPR Paradox. Interestingly, some have suggested that Podolsky was a Soviet spy, codenamed “Quantum”, and helped the Soviets start their nuclear program during World War II. His major legacy, however, is in the great work he did on solving various complex physics problems of the day.

Words of the Week

Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.
– Albert Einstein