In recognition of their trailblazing academic work, the 2022 Kadar Family Award for Outstanding Research was presented to four Tel Aviv University scholars: Prof. Michal Feldman (Exact Sciences), Prof. Leo Corry (Humanities), Prof. Jonathan Berant (Exact Sciences) and Dr. Roy Tzohar (Humanities).
Now in its eighth year, the Kadar Family Award honors pioneering scientists and scholars who have reached the highest levels of excellence in both research and teaching. The Award is granted annually to four TAU researchers, two senior and two junior faculty members, from across the entire spectrum of faculties and disciplines at TAU.
The Award Committee selects the winners based on a number of criteria including: groundbreaking research; teaching quality; research grants earned from competitive foundations; quality and quantity of scientific publications; and their status in the global scientific community.
Prof. Dan Peer, TAU Vice President for Research and Development, conferred the awards to the recipients at a festive ceremony, which also included presentations of the researchers’ work, during TAU’s 2022 Board of Governors meeting.
Professor Corry spoke on behalf of the recipients and noted that while scientific advancements in TAU’s hard science faculties are globally recognized, “One important aspect of this award is in the explicit acknowledgment that a great university, like ours, promotes not only one kind of achievement, but also excellence in the humanities and social sciences.
“Precisely in an era of deep technological and scientific change…the study of the humanities is more relevant and necessary than ever before to help interpret and place new context on how these changes are affecting us as a society and individually,” he said.
The Naomi Foundation established the Award in 2015 to honor the memory of Naomi Prawer Kadar PhD, a lifelong Yiddish specialist and the late wife of TAU benefactor Dr. Avraham Kadar, a TAU graduate, physician, educator and innovator. The three Kadar children, Einat Kadar Kricheli, Nadav Kadar, and Maya Kadar Kovalsky, are all TAU alumni and active board members of the Kadar Foundation along with their father. Avraham, Nadav and Maya are also members of TAU’s Board of Governors.
Maya Kadar Kovalsky opened the ceremony and welcomed everyone via a recorded message. She lauded the laureates: “Congratulations…on reaching this high level of distinction and thank you for your pathbreaking contributions in your respective fields.”
TAU President Prof. Ariel Porat also addressed the crowd; “The Kadar Foundation does an excellent job in advancing academic research and excellence,” he said, noting other programs the Foundation supports such as MD-PhD scholarships and the Naomi Prawer Kadar International Yiddish Summer Program, housed in TAU’s Goldreich Family Institute for Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture at the Lester and Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities.
Prof. Michal Feldman – Professor of Computer Science at the Blavatnik School of Computer Science, Raymond and Beverly Faculty of Exact Sciences. She is one of the most visible and successful researchers of her generation working in the rapidly emerging field of algorithmic game theory, which is situated at the intersection of theoretical computer science and economics. She is also a trailblazer in the field, where women are significantly underrepresented.
Prof. Leo Corry – Professor at the Cohn Institute for History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Lester and Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities, and former Dean of Humanities. Corry is a historian of mathematics. His research explores the historical development of some of the main threads of twentieth-century mathematics, such as the rise of modern algebra and the development of the idea of a mathematical structure. Since 2013, he has held the Bert and Barbara Cohn Chair for History and Philosophy of Exact Sciences.
Prof. Jonathan Berant – Associate Professor at the Blavatnik School of Computer Science, Raymond and Beverly Faculty of Exact Sciences. His research examines Natural Language Processing (NLP), which stands at the crossroads between linguistics, computer science, and artificial intelligence.
Dr. Roy Tzohar – Associate Professor at the Department of South and East Asian Studies, Lester and Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities. His research, publications, and teaching are driven primarily by an interest in the Buddhist philosophical understanding of the role and function of language. His first book, A Yogācāra Buddhist Theory of Metaphor, was published by Oxford University Press and won the Numata Prize for the best book in Buddhist Studies in 2018.
Featured image: The 2022 Kadar Family Award recipients from left: Prof. Jonathan Berant, Dr. Roy Tzohar, Prof. Michal Feldman, and Prof. Leo Corry. (Photo: Israel Hadari)