Almost 50 years after serving as a breeding ground for Israel’s doctors and researchers, the old medical school on the hospital campus became a new bridge connecting the past with the future. The original research laboratory of the 2004 Nobel Prize Laureates in Chemistry, which today serves as a surgical skills training center, has become a marker of the history of Israeli science and a source of inspiration for future generations.
Closing a circle of history at Rambam, on December 17, 2018, dozens of researchers and doctors from Rambam and the Technion gathered at the site of the old medical school on the hospital campus to participate in a particularly moving moment: inauguration of the “Nobel Prize Room” that served as the first research laboratory for Professors Avraham Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover, the 2004 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry.
The historic Carmelite building, served as the site of the first two graduating classes of the Faculty of Medicine in Haifa in the 1970s. It was the center for the faculty's administration, and housed research laboratories of Technion researchers. Within those wall, the important research work was performed that led to the historic Nobel Prize.
The ceremony celebrated the groundbreaking achievements of the Israeli scientists. Attending were Professor Hershko and Ciechanover, Professor Rafi Beyar, Director of Rambam, Professor Peretz Lavie, the President of the Technion, and Professor Shimon Marom, Dean of the Technion’s Faculty of Medicine, together with members of Rambam’s administration, friends and family, and many of the researchers and staff members who were an integral part of the historic events.
Professor Hershko noted spoke deep feeling on the closing of the circle and shared some his nostalgic memories from that time: “With simple means and under simple conditions, we dealt with science and research and had a passion for talking.”
“The science and research of that period are not like those of today,” Ciechanover added. “Today things are more complex, but the principle remains—loving what you do.” Professor Lavie spoke about the importance of winning the prestigious prize for Israeli research in general and the Technion in particular: “The Technion before and after the award is not the same institution,” he said. “I am sure Professors Hershko and Ciechanover were unaware of how this win would not only change the scientific concept, but the institution in which they operated as well.”
The newly dedicated Noble Nobel Prize at Rambam, which was once the research lab for the Nobel Laureates, will serve as a surgical skills training and simulation center for physicians and medical students.
"This is a place where the past, present, and future meet,” concluded Professor Beyar, summarizing the idea behind this initiative. “The Nobel story is the wonderful story of the establishment of the Ruth & Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine by a group of doctors from Rambam, headed by Professor Erlich, the faculty’s first dean, their transfer to the Technion despite all objections, and its growth into a world leader despite its small size –is a story about creation of a huge scientific breakthrough in the simplest conditions imaginable, about the love of knowledge and desire for discovery –and now it's a space where we will continue to educate new generations of doctors. I am proud today as an Israeli, as a “Haifaite,” as a Technion man, and as a Rambam man, to stand here in this important historic facility, which is also Rambam’s path through history.”
Watch a video about the ceremony.