Israel Contact

Middle East Profiles


Selected Past Event

The Mystery of Dark Energy in the Cosmos

On 7th January 2012, some 300 people gathered at Tel Aviv University to learn about “The Mystery of Dark Energy in the Cosmos” from UCL’s Professor Ofer Lahav.

After refreshments, the evening was opened by The Hon .Supreme Court Justice (ret’d) Mr. Gabriel Bach, Hon. Chair of the UCL Israel Alumni Association, who greeted the participants -alumni, students and faculty of Tel Aviv University and members of the public at large- and, on behalf of the Association, thanked Tel Aviv University’s Astroclub for hosting and jointly organizing the event.

He continued by mentioning the liberal principles upon which UCL was founded, and which guide it to this day, including its strong opposition to the calls for an academic boycott of Israel.

Professor Lahav was introduced by Benny Trahktenbrot , on behalf of the Astroclub. Professor Lahav is Perren Professor of Astronomy at UCL , and also serves as Vice-President of the Royal Astronomical Society, and as Chair of the Science Committee of the International Dark Energy Survey.

Professor Lahav was born in Tiberias. He studied at Tel Aviv University (BSc), Ben-Gurion University (MSc) and Cambridge University (PhD), where he was later a member of staff. 

He has recently been awarded a large Advanced Grant by the European Research Council for his studies on Dark Energy.

Professor Lahav commenced his lecture with a description of UCL today, and brought a special message of greetings from the Provost, Professor Malcolm Grant .

He then presented the mysteries of dark energy and dark matter , against the background of the recently awarded Nobel Prize for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe through the observations of distant supernovae. We learned of the differing theories concerning dark energy–does it exist or does Einstein’s gravity theory require modification?

Professor Lahav concluded by presenting details of the Dark Energy Survey, in which scientists from 200 countries are taking part,under his direction,and UCL’s important role, including the structure of the lens for the special, large telescope under constuction in Chile.

The fascinating evening concluded with an opportunity for the many participants to gaze at Jupiter through a telescope specially set up outside the lecture hall by members of the Astroclub.

Gala Dinner, Ramat Gan, November 28th 2007

Gala Dinner, November 2007

Pictured left to right: Dana Olmert, Dr Paul Ayris, Jennifer Janes
Zvi Geffen and Justice Gabriel Bach

Nearly 100 UCL Alumni and guests enjoyed a Gala Dinner held at the Sheraton City Tower Hotel in Ramat Gan, Israel on 28 November 2007 to celebrate the first decade of activities of the UCL Israel Alumni Association.

The evening was opened by the Chairman of the Association, retired Israel Supreme Court Justice Gabriel Bach (Laws, 1950) Fellow of UCL, who read greetings from Lord Woolf.

Greetings were also received from Minister for Social Affairs and Services Isaac Herzog, the son of the late President Chaim Herzog (Laws, 1941) who was prevented from attending by urgent parliamentary business.

After Justice Bach's remarks on the activities of the association, and his happy memories of his time at UCL, the company heard from Dana Olmert, the first recipient of the Chevening-UCL Israel Alumni-Chaim Herzog Award. Dana expressed her appreciation of the opportunity that had been given to her and the impact her studies at UCL had made on her doctorate.

The Association had set up the Award as one of its first actions, and has so far sent 5 students to UCL to study for a second degree.

The Award winner presently at UCL is Liran Zitzer who is reading Public Policy and Administration. He graduated from the Hebrew University after completing the special PPE honours degree programme, and also participated in the Atidim Programme (Cadets for Public Service) that aims to qualify its graduates for key positions in the public sector - he interned at the Ministry of Finance Budget Division within this framework.

Jennifer Janes, (Laws, 1963) Joint Executive Director of the Association, thanked those who had contributed towards the Award and hoped that further donations would enable the Association to continue to send students to UCL.

The evening's high point was the address by Dr. Paul Ayris, UCL's Director of Library Services and Copyright Officer. Dr. Ayris spoke on "Celebrating 350 Years of the re-Admission of the Jewish Community into England" and gave a fascinating analysis of Cromwell's motives for permitting the re-admission.

All the speakers made reference to the boycott of Israeli academia, which had recently been proposed and rejected in the UK. UCL's strong opposition to the boycott, under the leadership of the Provost, Professor Malcolm Grant, was emphasized by Dr. Ayris.

UCL's recent rating as 9th University in the world was celebrated by all present.

Everyone then enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner, during which alumni socialized with friends old and new.

Bookmark and Share