The Technion

The Technion - Israel Institute of Technology has played a vital role in the development and strengthening of Israel – in industry, agriculture, defense, architecture, construction and many other fields.

The Technion was conceived in the early 1900s by the German-Jewish fund Ezra (Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden). Dr. Paul Nathan, head of Ezra in Germany, proposed a plan in 1908, and set out to obtain support for it. The Jewish National Fund acquired a site in an undeveloped section of Haifa, while the country was still part of the Ottoman Empire. The Russian tea merchant, K. Wissotsky and the New York banker-philanthropist, Jacob Schiff donated funds for the construction. The foundation stone was laid in April 1912. Alexander Baerwald designed the massive building, which became a famous national landmark.

There was a delay of years in the opening of classes, as a bitter conflict flared around the question what the language of instruction would be – German or Hebrew. WW-I also caused a delay in the opening. During the war the Technion (then called Technicum) building was utilized by the German, Turkish and British armies. Following the war, Ezra was forced, due to its bad financial shape, to walk away from the project, and the World Zionist Organization took over. This change brought the victory of Hebrew in the "Battle of the languages" and paved the road for the first class to begin in 1924. At that year the institute's name was changed to Technion (written in Hebrew with the Tav letter; only in 1954 the first letter was changed to Teit). The first engineering course got under way with 26 students specializing in civil engineering and architecture. The early years were accompanied by financial difficulties, but gradually the institute consolidated its position.

From the start the Technion was geared to meet the needs of building a country according to the Zionism's goal. Under Dr. Shlomo Kaplansky as Director (1931-1950), the Department of Technology was established, later branching out into the faculties of Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Chemical Engineering. Prior to WW-II, The Technion absorbed many Jewish scientists fleeing Nazi Germany and neighboring countries. During WW-II, Technion students and staff members served in the British army. In the years preceding the establishment of the State, marked by a struggle against British rule, the Technion building was a center for Hagana's underground activities.

The establishment of the State, mass immigration, and the rapid expansion of Israel's economy, brought a new era to the Technion during the 1950s. The institute became independent and its name was changed to Technion - Israel Institute of Technology. Construction of a great new campus - Technion City ,on Mt. Carmel, Haifa - was undertaken in the early 1950s, with General Yaakov Dori as President (1951-1965), and the active support of Technion Friends overseas. Student enrollment rose dramatically, and new subjects were introduced.

Until the establishment of a school of engineering at Ben Gurion University in the early 1970s, the Technion was the only institution in the country offering engineering degrees. Over the years the Technion has become a major technological university by international standards, widely known for the excellence of its teaching and research. Tens of thousands of its graduates have filled vital roles in Israel's economy, industry and defense.

In recent years the Technion has increasingly enhanced its international cooperation. In New York City, a flagship joint venture with Cornell University, the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute (JTCII), continues to move forward, and has begun accepting applications for its first degree program.

The Technion is rapidly moving ahead with planning for its new branch in China, the Technion-Guangdong Institute of Technology (TGIT) at Shantou. This historic collaboration was made possible by a $130 million donation to Technion by the Li Ka Shing Foundation, combined with a strategic investment of approximately $150 million by Guangdong Province, the city of Shantou and Shantou University to develop and operate the new institute, as well as a technological park to be built in close proximity to the TGIT campus, that will serve as a bridgehead for Israeli companies interested in the Chinese market.

In late 2013, the Technion signed an agreement for strategic cooperation with École Polytechnique, one of the world’s leading science and engineering universities.


The stamp to the right was issued in 1956, designed by G. Hamori; the stamp to the left was issued in 1973, designed by D. Pessach and S. Ketter.

The previous stamp, featured with the Hebrew article, is a special commemorative stamp honoring 100 Years since the laying of the cornerstone to the Technion. The building – known today as "the Technion's old building" and located in Hadar Ha'Carmel, Haifa – is a famous national landmark. It was designed by the Jewish-German architect Alexander Baerwald, one of the pioneers of modern Israeli architecture. A rendering of the building facade is featured in the stamp.

The stamp also features the Technion's advanced research, represented by an advancement in nano-technology. Out of the building grows a nano-technology element developed in the Technion by three professors: Daniel Weihs, Alexander Yarin and Eyal Zussman. It is the prototype of a nano-parachute, whose structure and movement are based on the structure of the dandelion seed and its movement in the air.

The nano-parachute is made of nano-fibers, and is in fact a sophisticated detector of airborne toxins. Thousands of nano-parachutes that are dispersed at a site suspected of being contaminated change their color in the presence of toxins, thus allowing to determine the type of toxins and to prevent or mitigate loss of life.

The stamp tab features the invitation, in Hebrew, to "the cornerstone laying ceremony, on Thursday, 24 Nissan 5672 (April 11, 1912), at 3 pm at the Technikum plot".

The Technion Cornerstone Centennial stamp was issued in 2012, design: Naama Tumarkin. The photo of a nano-parachute on the palm of a hand is a courtesy of Miki Koren.