Belgian innovator in Tel Aviv wins the 2014 Christoffel Plantin Prize


On 20 October, Antwerp Governor Cathy Berx awarded the Antwerp province 2014 Christoffel Plantin Science prize to professor Daniel Wagner from the Weizmann Institute for Science in Israel. This prestigious prize is an annual reward for a leading Belgian who lives abroad, is outstanding in his field, but is little known in Belgium and deserves the attention of his fellow countrymen.

Professor Wagner was born in Israel but grew up in Belgium. Wagner is an authority in the science of metal and is internationally acclaimed as expert in nano composites. In 1991 he received the Fiber Society Award for Distinguished Achievement in New Orleans. Since 2000 he has been an exceptional professor at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel. In the same year he became Chairman of the prestigious Gordon Conference on Composites in Ventura, California. Ten years later he won the Gutwirth Research Prize from the Weizmann Institute.

Professor Wagner also teaches at the Technion (the Israeli Institute for Technology) as well as at various foreign universities. That's how he came to be guest professor at the Max-Planck Institute in Golm-Potsdam and at the Ecole Centrale in Paris. Besides that he participated in many conferences and presented the Joint MIT-Harvard Nano materials Special Lecture in 2013 to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Daniel Wagner is an influential and very productive scientist. His professional activities include a whole range of different themes ranging from the classic composite materials and carbon nano tubes to the mechanics of biologically inspired structures, etc. To date he has published around 245 articles and specialist chapters in trade journals, as well as organising many international colloquia.

In her speech, the Governor emphasised that the prize giving in the province of Antwerp is a sign of the close ties between Antwerp and Israel. Indeed, many Belgians who live in Israel come from Antwerp.

The recognition of a famous Belgian professor in Israel adds to efforts made by the Belgian embassy in Tel Aviv to increase bilateral contact in the area of innovation. On 26 June, helped by some young Belgian entrepreneurs who emigrated to Israel, she started up the new Belgian-Israeli Business Club, which focuses on innovation.

After the ceremony in Antwerp attended by around one hundred guests, there was a reception, where Professor Wagner had the chance to renew acquaintances with many Belgian friends. There he met, among others, the Likin de Strée family, who had provided shelter for his mother during the Second World War. To mark their bravery, Professor Wagner arranged for the Likin family to be awarded the honorary title Righteous among the Nations in Yad Vashem some years ago.