Former Tel Aviv University President Prof. Yosef Klepter has won the Israel Prize for Physics and Chemistry

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His works touch on the basis of many processes in areas such as energy and nanotechnology applications

Professor Yosef (Yossi) Klepter was born in Tel Aviv in 1945 to parents from Slovakia who immigrated to Israel through illegal immigration in 1939. Klepter graduated from elementary and high school in Rishon Lezion.

Upon graduating from high school, he began his studies, as part of the academic reserve, at Bar Ilan University. Towards the end of his studies, the Six-Day War broke out, in which Klepter took part as a reservist, during which he was wounded in the battle for the Commissioner’s Palace. Prior to his enlistment in the IDF, he managed to complete his master’s degree studies under the supervision of Professor Haim Halpern on the subject: “On the theory of field conditions in crystals”,
Upon his release from the IDF, he was accepted to study for a doctorate at the School of Chemistry at Tel Aviv University. He did his doctoral dissertation under the supervision of Professor Joshua Yurtner on the subject: “Electronic modes and energy transfer in ordered and unregulated molecular crystals.” During his studies, Klepter married Farhiya and their children Einat and Dan were born.

After receiving her doctorate, the Klepter family moved to Boston as part of a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Chemistry at MIT (1978). During the postdoctoral period, Klepter turned to a new field of research around movement in complex systems. These were his first steps in questions related to random moves in amorphous mediums. In this context, Klepter published work on a controversial subject, a work that put an end to that controversy and provided a basis and justification for the use of random time-dependent moves, and which established the uses of these moves in chemical and physical systems. Following this research he was invited to join as a researcher at the Exxon Research Center (which turned to target solar cells and the movement of cargo carriers in them) and the family moved in 1980 to the state of New Jersey. The years of research at Exxon were fruitful, revealing new questions and problems of application origin during which Clapter’s work contributed significantly to understanding reactions on fractal structures as models for composite systems and achieved significant first results in research on diffusion anomaly. In 1987, the family returned to Israel and Klepter joined the Tel Aviv University School of Chemistry as part of the Alon Scholarship.

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At Tel Aviv University, Klepter set up an active research group that became a magnet for many visitors and extensive collaborations. In fact, the group was a nucleus for building a growing community and today it is an active and vibrant international network based on its peers, students and students.

Over the years, since the return, the ties with Exxon have continued and close ties have been added with universities such as: Bayreuth, Berlin, and Freiburg in Germany, ETH in Switzerland, Charles University in Prague, University of Paris VI, MIT, Ecole Polytechnique Columbia and more. Klepter was invited to deliver doctoral courses at Columbia University and MIT and workshops at other institutes.

Over time, Klepter and his group’s research topics expanded to include dynamics in limited geometric systems and pore motion, the development of models to study the problem of friction between surfaces, and the further expansion of the use of anomalous diffusion insights into the field of individual protein spectroscopy. Studies in fluctuations and catalysis of individual enzymes have led to treatment of questions about the basic structure of proteins and the relationship to their structure-function.

The works on the subjects of Levy’s moves, the limited geometries and the introduction of new equations into the field of anomalous diffusion have gained momentum and become popular. The mathematical tools developed found their way into different disciplines and hence many groups and in many fields began to use ideas and approaches. Following this, a series of conferences, meetings and invitations to write cover articles were created. The topics of these works have been widely covered in planetary lectures and review articles on the subject of diffusion and the reactions derived from it.

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From 1996, Klepter served as a member of the management of the National Science Foundation and in charge of the exact sciences and technology in the foundation, and from 2002 to 2009 Cohen as chairman of the management of the National Science Foundation. During his time, a cooperation agreement was signed between the National Science Foundation and its Chinese counterpart, a cooperation that has expanded and continues to this day. Philanthropic support was also obtained for the field of life sciences and medicine and the framework of a physician-researcher was established that enables and encourages research among hospital physicians.

In 2009, Klepter was elected the eighth president of Tel Aviv University. He accepted the position following the leadership crisis the university went through. During the ten years of his presidency, the tears were healed and the university reached significant heights and achievements. Emphasis was placed, among other things, on advancing research while caring for new resources, expanding international collaborations (facing east), encouraging and supporting lowering barriers between areas and raising the miracle of innovation in learning and entrepreneurship. During his presidency, he chaired the University Board for two years, a period in which he worked tirelessly to preserve freedom of expression and academic freedom in universities. The presidency ended in May 2019.

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