Emet Prize Laureates

Prof. Meir Lahav

2018 Laureates of Emet Prize

In Category: Exact Sciences
In Field: Chemistry

Meir Lahav

Jury Statement

“The Emet Prize is awarded to Prof. Meir Lahav for his pioneering research in the fields of structural chemistry, surface chemistry and crystallography, which has had a significant impact on science worldwide, and for his discoveries that touch upon fundamental issues such as the connection between crystal symmetry and molecular structure, understanding directionality in biology, cloud seeding for increased rainfall, and controlled fabrication of crystals for use in the preparation of medicines.”


Prof. Meir Lahav was born in Bulgaria in 1936 and immigrated to Israel with the establishment of the State. He completed his M.Sc. in Chemistry and Physics at the Hebrew University and in 1963 began his doctoral studies at the Weizmann Institute of Science under the tutelage of Prof. Gerhard Schmidt. Following post-doctoral studies at Harvard University, he returned to Israel and was appointed as investigative scientist in the department of Structural Chemistry at the Weizmann Institute. In 1978 he became Associate Professor and in 1982 was appointed Professor in the department. In 1984 he became Margaret Thatcher Chair of Chemistry. He subsequently helped establish a new Materials and Interfaces department which he headed for three terms. In 1995 he established the Gerhard Schmidt Minerva Center for Supramolecular Architecture, which he headed until 2001.

His research has focused on the solid-state and surface chemistry, stereochemistry, the properties of polar crystals and the emergence of homochirality on Earth. Working together with Prof. L. Leiserowitz in the 1970s, he studied solid-state photochemical reactions, and his findings led to innovative approaches to the study of granulation, growth and dissolution of crystals. These have important theoretical and practical implications, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry, for the fundamental understanding of the source of asymmetry in nature and for identifying the link between the macroscopic structure of crystals and molecular chirality.

His work has earned him numerous awards and prizes, including the Israel Prize for Chemistry and Physics, the Prelog Gold Medal from the Eindhoven University of Technology in Zurich, the Kolthoff Prize from the Technion, the Aminoff Prize from the Swedish academy of Science, the Gold Medal from the Israel Chemical Society, and Centenary Lecturer of the Royal Society of Chemistry (U.K.), among others. In 1988 he was elected member of the Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in Germany.