The Fredy & Nadine Herrmann Institute of Earth Sciences at Hebrew University
The primary mission of the Institute of Earth Sciences is to teach and research geology, geochemistry, atmospheric sciences, hydrology, and oceanography, and environmental sciences. Established in 1978, the Institute is today a leader, both regionally and globally, in fields as diverse as climate change, water resources, and natural hazards. Many of the Institute’s staff have earned international recognition for their scientific contributions, and our graduates have gone on to hold key positions in academia, industry, and government organizations. The Institute possesses state of the art facilities, and much of our globally oriented research is carried out in collaboration with other academic institutions in Israel and abroad.
The Institute is the oldest Israeli academic institution in the field of geology. This journey began in the 1950’s, and since that time the Institute has produced the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral graduates responsible for the bulk of the geological, hydrological, and meteorological knowledge of the land of Israel. In 1978, the Institute was established in its current format, combining the departments of geology, physical geography, and atmospheric sciences into one institute that emphasizes the connection between the various fields. The first year curriculum is shared throughout all of the Institute’s programs, and then separated into programs in geology or atmospheric science for undergraduate and graduate degree candidates, and oceanography (both an undergraduate and graduate program). In 1994, the Institute took a central part in the establishment of the Department of Environmental Sciences, in which researchers from the Institute of Earth Sciences, Life Sciences, Chemistry, and Geography are partners. The interdisciplinary nature of study allows for a convenient integration of students with a background in the exact sciences, natural sciences, and agriculture into advanced studies at the Institute.
In addition to the instruction taking place at the institute, there is also a wide range of research conducted on a variety of topics including: continental and mountain formation processes, the global oxygen cycle and hurricane and flood development, mechanisms of coral skeleton formation, pollutant movement in groundwater and atmosphere, formation of rain droplets in clouds, the initial stages of crack formation before earthquakes or of a gas bubble in a magma before a volcanic eruption, gas and oil formation processes and their environmental impact, etc.
The rocks of Israel, the Gulf of Aqaba, the Mediterranean Sea, the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea and the atmosphere of the Middle East constitute a field laboratory for the study of the natural infrastructure of the State of Israel.
The institute has new equipment in the laboratories that allows research to be performed on the geochemistry of spring water, underground water movement, past climate based on the geochemistry of Dead Sea sediments, sources of aerosols arriving in Israel, the creation of diamonds in the Earth's mantle and many other topics.
A satellite communication station on the roof of the Institute enables the receipt of satellite and radar data which can be used, for example, to study the effect of desert dust and pollutants on the formation of rain in the clouds.
The inter-university computational unit and the advanced calculation system at the institute enable the simulation of various atmospheric, hydrological, and geological processes.
The Hebrew University manages the The Inter-University Institute for Marine Sciences at the Almog Beach Reserve in Eilat. The Institute's researchers work at the laboratories of the inter-university institute and many research students are involved in the study of the reef and its construction, its development, and the effect of the availability of food sources in the Gulf of Aqaba on its current situation, as well as the tectonics of the Gulf of Aqaba
The close connection between the Institute of Earth Sciences and the Geological Survey of Israel of the Ministry of National Infrastructure, which is also located in Jerusalem, allows access to additional equipment in the Survey’s laboratories, as well as joint work in the natural laboratory - the field.