This Augusts marks a year since Dr. Omri Ram returned to Israel. He says he was ready to return to Israel after two years as a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University, but he continued for four years, studying high-speed transient phenomena in fluid mechanics. He said returning to Israel was not as big an adjustment as his move from Beersheva to Haifa, moving from the south to the northern part of the country.
“My lab is currently undergoing design and development. We are building a complex lab that requires a large space – twice the size of normal Technion lab. We have number of systems in the lab, and each will be designed to look at very transient samples, with each system needing its own space.” Dr. Ram describes the two-story lab, which will employ high-speed cameras, lasers, a high-speed pump, and filtration systems, with all heavy machinery and pumps located in the basement, and all diagnostic and experimental equipment in on first floor. “We are spending almost a million dollars on the equipment, and even more on the physical structure. I don’t know of any young faculty member that has access to this type of lab. It’s truly world class level.”
Dr. Ram appreciates that in Israel, the university sets up the faculty member to begin their research right away. He also cites a big difference is in the student population. “We get much older, more mature students who are well-rounded and more experienced in life, with army experience that is a tremendous help. They know how to mentor other students, know how to work as a team, how to take care of themselves. Some were officers in military, and they are very focused, are not afraid to do things or take risks. It’s in our military culture. All officers/commanders started out at the bottom as foot soldiers. They understand that everything can be changed and is negotiable -and that impacts everything in Israeli society – even in academia.”
“Being a Zukerman Faculty Scholar gives me two things – in addition to the funding – that I really appreciate. The first is exposure young faculty members need to apply for funding, grants, or talking to people who have influence in the university. Second, finding students as a young faculty member is difficult. Students in Israel are very picky. They want an advisor who will give them the best chance of success – they look at your publications, your grants, news media, etc. Students Google that – and being a Zuckerman Scholar gives a young faculty member like me an added advantage. It is written in a very prestigious way, as ‘young leaders in science,’ which helps me recruit students who are looking for a “rising star,” and I hope to meet that expectation with the help of my team.”