Emet Prize Laureates

Prof. Mordechai Segev

2019 Laureates of Emet Prize

In Category: Exact Sciences
In Field: Physics and Space Research

Mordechai Segev

Jury Statement

“The EMET Prize is awarded to Prof. Mordechai Segev for his groundbreaking achievements in the research of nonlinear optics, most notably the pioneering experiments on two-dimensional solitons, as well as his demonstration of the first photonic topological insulators, which launched the new field of topological photonics.”


Distinguished Prof. Mordechai (Moti) Segev, one of the world’s leading researchers of the interactions between light and matter, has had profound impact on optics, photonics and other areas in physics. His work has impacted numerous fields beyond optics, ranging from applied mathematics and condensed matter physics to the research of ultra-cold atoms.

His father, Shlomo, was a shoemaker. A Holocaust survivor from Dorohoi in the northeast corner of Romania, he was refused immigration to Israel for 11 years. His mother, Zelda, worked mostly as a child caregiver. Moti and his parents arrived in Israel in 1961 when he was three, and settled in Stanton, a poor neighborhood in Haifa. He served in the IDF as an infantry officer and later as a reserve commander of a reconnaissance unit for many years. After his military service, Segev completed his bachelor's and PhD at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in electrical engineering. Following a post-doctorate at Caltech, he was appointed assistant professor at Princeton University in 1994, and rose to associate professor and full professor within four-and-a-half years. In 1999 he returned to Technion as a faculty member. In 2008, he was made a Technion distinguished professor.

Prof. Segev has won numerous prestigious awards, among them the Quantum Electronics Prize of the European Physics Society (2007), the Max Born Award of the American Optical Society (2009), the Arthur Schawlow Prize in Laser Science of the American Physical Society (2014), and the Israel Prize in Physics (2014). Segev is a foreign member of the United States National Academy of Sciences and a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

Beyond his personal achievements, Segev is most proud of the success of his doctoral and postdoctoral students, 21 of whom are university professors in Israel and abroad, as well as many others who hold senior R&D positions in industry. His candidacy for this year's EMET Prize was submitted by his former students, who are now university professors in Israel.