Israel Prize in Earth Sciences to TAU Prof. Zvi Ben-Avraham

Professor Zvi Ben-Avraham of Tel Aviv University (TAU) was yesterday selected by the jury to receive the Israel Prize for Earth Sciences.

The jury - Professor Ilan Het of the Weizmann Institute, Professor Dov Bahat of Ben-Gurion University and Professor Yisraela Rabina of the Haifa Technion - described Ben-Avraham as "a broadminded explorer, knowledgable in the most innovative research methods, with a rare ability to gather and decipher data and an exceptional organization power that is reflected in his management of extensive projects."

Ben-Avraham, 62, specializes in a field that is a combination of geophysics and oceanography. Among other things, Ben-Avraham set up TAU's Institute for Dead Sea Research and formed ties with the Jordanian royal family to help Jordan establish its own Dead Sea research center. He also initiated the establishment of an international project for earth structure studies.

A year ago Ben-Avraham initiated a broad comparative study between the Dead Sea rift and the Rein rift - the two most prominent tectonic phenomena in the Middle East and Europe. Ben-Avraham has joint projects with several European universities, Stanford, Cape Town University's Department of Oceanography, where he runs South Africa's ocean exploration. He is a member of the European Academy of Sciences, the Heidelberg Science Academy, the Israeli Academy of Sciences and the American Geophysical Union.