This is the story of a single stone that helped shape a nation...
On April 11, 1912, 36 years before the State of Israel declared its independence, a ceremony was held on the barren slopes of Mount Carmel near the port of Haifa. None of the finely dressed participants could have imagined that the laying of the cornerstone for the "Technikum" would be a historic milestone in realizing the implausible vision of creating a world-class institute of scientific and technological education in this remote corner of the Ottoman Empire.
The story of the "Technikum" - the original German name of the Technion - is the tale of the last century. The second industrial revolution created the printing press and new communications infrastructure, which allowed Jews who were scattered across the globe to organize in face of rising anti-Semitism. As Jews were often barred from technical education at that time, the establishment of a technical school was a top priority along the road to building a Jewish homeland.
That educational institution came into being as the Technion, which has a unique place in history as the university that built and shaped the agriculture, industry, infrastructure, security, advanced technology and essentially the economy of an entire country. It would transform Israel's icons from the Jaffa orange to the microchip.
The cornerstone laid in 1912 set a century of progress and development in motion, responding to national and global needs. Technion would become a global pioneer in fields such as biotechnology, stem cell research, space, computer science, nanotechnology, energy and robotics. Three Technion scientists, Professors Avram Hershko, Aaron Ciechanover and Dan Shechtman, have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. As it celebrates its cornerstone centennial in 2012, Technion is a thriving world center of scientific-technological research and teaching, with more than 12,000 students and tens of thousands of alumni leading the hi-tech revolution that drives Israel's economy and so greatly benefits humanity.
Professor Peretz Lavie
Technion - Israel Institute of Technology