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PROF. DANIEL WEIHS:
Very few people know they want to an aerospace engineer at age two, but Distinguished Technion Professor Daniel Weihs did.
As a child, Prof. Weihs lived near a US Air Force base in China, where he was born in 1942 after his parents fled Austria. The family was invited to attend a Seder at the base, during which one of the soldiers asked Danny what he wanted to be when he grew up. Inspired by the sight of the planes flying overhead in and out of the base, the toddler replied, “an aerospace engineer.”
Even at that early age, Prof. Weihs had set his sights on the career in which he was to become one of the world’s foremost experts, specializing in the areas of aerodynamics, biological fluid mechanics, hydrodynamics and space research. It was a career for which he received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Technion, where he has been a member of the faculty and pursued his research for the last 34 years.
Following his doctoral degree, Prof. Weihs worked at the University of Cambridge, England as a researcher and then returned to the Technion as a senior lecturer in 1973. He became a full professor in 1983, a distinguished professor in 2002 and currently holds the Louis and Lyra Richmond Chair in Life Sciences.
As fascinated with the natural world as he is with the world of high-tech, Prof. Weihs has adapted principles of natural phenomena in his high-tech research. His observation of dandelions led to his development nano-sized "parachutes" that can detect toxins in the air, and his studies of fish enabled him to improve submarine design and also helped prevent dolphins from being destroyed in the drift net fishing of the tuna industry. He has also studied birds to find ways to improve piloted and unmanned aerial vehicle performance.
Prof. Weihs has served the Technion as provost, dean of the graduate school and of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, director of the Samuel Neaman Institute for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology and director of the Norman and Helen Asher Space Research Institute. Most recently, he has been selected to direct the university’s planned Center for Autonomous Systems.
His long association with the Technion has enabled Prof. Weihs to have both observed and participated in strengthening Israel’s security and guaranteeing its economic future. As one example of the university’s impact on Israel’s economy, he cites the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, which was set up to develop an aerospace industry in Israel. In fact, he adds, today there is a large aerospace industry in Israel that is responsible for about 20 percent of total exports.
In addition to his work at the Technion, Prof. Weihs is Chairman of the Israel National Committee for Space Research. Throughout his career, he has consulted for the Israeli ministries of defense, transportation and science, and for public and private organizations in Europe and the United States, including NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He has served on numerous boards including Israel Aircraft Industries, Beth Shemesh Engines and the Israel Limnological and Oceanographic Research Corp.
Click To Play a Techcast with Prof. Danny Weihs.