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The prestigious NASA medal for extraordinary achievements to Israeli Dr. Eliad Peretz

While still a doctoral student, Dr. Peretz, a graduate of the Faculty of Aeronautics and Space Engineering at Technion, began working at NASA after it and the US National Science Foundation (NSF) appointed him a research fellow and awarded him a grant of more than half a million dollars; He was included in the list of fifty promising young scientists in the USA, a prediction that later proved itself

Dr. John Mather (right) presents Dr. Eliad Peretz with the NASA medal for extraordinary achievements at a ceremony of the Friends of the Technion Association in the USA. Photo: Association of Friends of the Technion in the USA (ATS)
Dr. John Mather (right) presents Dr. Eliad Peretz with the NASA medal for extraordinary achievements at a ceremony of the Friends of the Technion Association in the USA. Photo: Association of Friends of the Technion in the USA (ATS)

Dr. Eliad Peretz, a graduate of the Faculty of Aeronautics and Space Engineering at the Technion, won the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal. Nobel laureate in physics Dr. John Mather, chief scientist of the Webb Space Telescope, presented him with the medal in a festive ceremony. The event was held at the beginning of this month by the Association of Friends of the Technion in the USA (ATS) at the National Aviation and Space Museum in Washington. This is the second medal awarded to Dr. Eliad Peretz at NASA, thus making him the most decorated Israeli in the history of the American space agency (additional medals were awarded to Ilan Ramon after the shuttle disaster and to Dr. Reuven Ramati). Dr. Peretz is a space mission leader and director of technology development at the American space agency and serves as Dr. John Mather's right-hand man.


Dr. Peretz was born in Eilat to Dayna and Naftali. He has always been interested in aviation and science, so he enlisted in a pilot course (from which he dropped out), and after military service and preparatory school at the Technion, he began studying at the Faculty of Aeronautics and Space Engineering at the Technion. At the Technion, he met his wife, Dr. Avi Goldman, who came to Israel as part of the "Fulbright" program of the American State Department for a year of research under the guidance of Prof. Gitty Fry, currently the dean of the Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering. Currently, Dr. Goldman is an advisor to the White House on matters of science and technology policy. They are the parents of three daughters: Shoshana, Ruth and Efrat.

"Many years have passed since my first degree at the Technion," he says, "but I have never forgotten where I came from." I had the privilege of getting to know the Technion's president at the time Prof. Peretz Lavi when I interviewed him in the student newspaper and on my program on Technion Radio, and since then our paths continued to cross in the following decades. It is important for me to mention the support I received from the student advancement unit at the Technion and its significant contribution to my life path. Looking back, the main tools I received at the Technion are the ability to learn a completely new subject quickly and at a very high level, as well as manage my schedule effectively. In my career, these things are no less important than solving equations."


The pre-doctoral research was done by Dr. Peretz under the guidance of another Technion graduate - Prof. Hod Lipson, who said about him: "Eliad gave a significant boost to our research in a very short period of time, we were very lucky that he worked here with us." While still a doctoral student, Dr. Peretz began working at NASA after it and the US National Science Foundation (NSF) appointed him a research fellow and awarded him a grant of more than half a million dollars; The Hertz Foundation included him in the list of finalists for the Hertz Prize and thus placed him in the list of fifty promising young scientists in the USA, a prediction that later proved itself.

In the last five years, he has served in senior positions in the organization both in the scientific aspects and in applied engineering. According to him, "in recent years, NASA has been devoting enormous resources to the discovery of planets outside the solar system, to the study of planetary bodies and to the study of the sun. Until the end of the eighties we did not know that such objects even existed, and today we know of thousands. This is one of the main directions in my work today. Other areas are laser radars that will be placed on the South Pole on the Moon and on the surface of Saturn's large moon, the development of a telescope for ultraviolet radiation, and more."

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