First and foremost, the Harvey Prize rewards excellence by recognizing breakthroughs in science and technology. The monetary Prize is a banner of recognition for men and women who have truly contributed to the progress of humanity. No less, however, the Prize is a source of inspiration. Serving as stimulus, the award urges scientists and scholars forward to further accomplishment.
The first presentation of the Harvey Prizes took place in 1972 at the official residence of the president of Israel in Jerusalem. In addition to former President Zalman Shazar, those attending included former Prime Minister Golda Meir, government ministers, and representatives of the American Technion Society (ATS). This presentation was followed by a reception in the Knesset, where Prize winners and audience were addressed by former Minister of Education and Culture Yigal Alon. Leo Harvey came to Israel to be part of this inaugural event.
Since that time, the Harvey Prize has been awarded annually in a ceremony at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. World-class luminaries in science, technology, medicine, government, and literature have been among the laureates. In fact, thirteen Harvey Prize recipients were later awarded the Nobel Prize: Prof. Robert J. Aumann (Economic Sciences), Prof. Elizabeth H. Blackburn (Physiology or Medicine), Prof. Sydney Brenner (Physiology or Medicine), Prof. Claude Cohen-Tannoudji (Physics), Prof. Pierre-Giles de Gennes (Physics), Mr. Mikhail S. Gorbachev (Peace), Prof. David Gross (Physics), Prof. Eric Kandel (Physiology or Medicine), Prof. Roger D. Kornberg (Chemistry), Prof. Paul C. Lauterbur (Physiology or Medicine), Prof. Bert Sakmann (Physiology or Medicine), Prof. K. Barry Sharpless (Chemistry) and Ada Yonath (Chemistry).