2006 Laureates of Emet Prize
In Category: Exact Sciences
In Field: Earth Sciences
Professor Zvi Garfunkel was born in Kaunas (Kovna), Lithuania, in 1938. Having survived the Holocaust he immigrated to Israel with his parents in 1948.
In 1958 he began his studies in geology at the Hebrew University, where he obtained a PhD degree in 1970. After post-doctoral work in the United States he returned to Israel and joined the academic staff of the Institute of Earth Sciences at the Hebrew University, and has since been a member of the Institute, where he became full professor in 1986. He also served as chairman of the Institute for four years, and he has been holding the R. Kravis Chair in geology since 1988.
His scientific work was focused on geodynamic processes such as rifting and continental breakup, vertical motions, igneous processes and plate motions, especially their role in shaping the geology of Israel, the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean region. He studied extensively the structure and history of the Dead Sea transform (rift) as well as other rifts. He also studied strike slip faults, foreland basins, thermal processes in continents and the way in which plate motions are related to mass flow in the earth's interior. So far he published approximately 100 works. His main findings in the study of the geological history and the tectonic development of the Land of Israel and its surroundings have a basic role for the modern tectonic study of the Middle East.
Over the years he participated in the Sinai Research Project and acted as president of the Israel Geological Society. He has been a member of the academic board of the Jerusalem College of Engineering since 2000. He has also served as chairman and member of many scientific and professional committees, as well as an advisor.
His scientific work has won him the Peretz Grader and the Raphael Freund Awards – both bestowed by the Israel Geological Society.
Professor Zvi Garfunkel is awarded the EMET Prize for his achievements in the various fields of geology, for his unique contribution to the study of the geology of the Land of Israel and the Middle East as well as the study of the Dead Sea Rift, for his multidisciplinary exploration of the Earth's activity, the deciphering of the processes that shaped the Mediterranean Basin and for his analysis of subjects relating to geodynamics, block rotations, plate motions and rift formation.