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The Dan David Prize is an annual award of $1 million each awarded by the Dan David Foundation and Tel Aviv Universitymarker to three individuals who have made an outstanding contribution in the fields of science, technology, culture or social welfare. There are three prize categories - past, present and future. Prize laureates donate 10 percent of their prize money to outstanding doctoral students and researchers in their own field from around the world.


The Dan David Foundation was founded in 2000 with a $100 million endowment by international businessman and philanthropist Dan David. The first awards ceremony took place at Tel Aviv Universitymarker on May 2001. The First Founding Director of the Dan David Prize was Professor Gad Barzilai and the foundation is now chaired by Itamar Rabinovich, former president of Tel Aviv University. In 2007, the ceremony was held at Opéra de Paris.

Biography of founder

Dan David (1929- ) was born to a Jewish family in Bucharestmarker, Romaniamarker. He joined a Zionist youth movement at the age of 16. After studying economics at university, he switched to photography and worked for Romanian television. He began to work for a newspaper, which fired him upon discovering his Zionist past. He left the country for Paris, and in August 1960, immigrated to Israel. In 1961, he travelled to Europe and, with a $200,000 loan from a cousin, he won the franchise for Photo Me International automated photography booths in certain countries. He opened branches in Israel, Spain, Romania and Italy, and eventually took over the company.


Year Theme Laureate
2002 Past - History Warburg Library
Present - Technology, information and society Daniel Hillis
Future - Life sciences Sydney Brenner, John Sulston, Robert Waterston
2003 Past - Paleoanthropology Michel Brunet
Present - Print & electronic media James Nachtwey, Frederick Wiseman
Future - cosmology & astronomy John Bahcall
2004 Past - Cities: Historical legacy Romemarker, Istanbulmarker, Jerusalemmarker
Present - Leadership: Changing our World Klaus Schwab
Future - Brain sciences Robert Wurtz, Amiram Grinvald, William Newsome
2005 Past- Archaeology Graeme Barker, Israel Finkelstein
Present - The Performing Arts: Film, Theater, Dance, Music Peter Brook
Future - Materials science Robert Langer, George Whitesides, C.N.R. Rao
2006 Past - Music Yo-Yo Ma
Present - Journalism Magdi Allam, Monica Gonzalez, Adam Michnik, Goenawan Mohamad
Future - Treatment of cancer John Mendelsohn, Joseph Schlessinger
2007 Past - Historians Jacques Le Goff
Present - Contemporary Music Pascal Dusapin, Zubin Mehta
Future - Quest for Energy James Hansen, Jerry Olson, Sarah Kurtz
2008 Past - Creative Rendering of the Past Amos Oz, Tom Stoppard, Atom Egoyan
Present - Social Responsibility Al Gore
Future - Geosciences Ellen Mosley - Thompson & Lonnie Thompson, Geoffrey Eglinton
2009 Past - Astrophysics - History of the Universe Paolo de Bernardis, Andrew E. Lange, Paul Richards
Present - Leadership Tony Blair
Future - Global Public Health Robert Gallo


  1. The Dan David Prize
  2. The true worth of Dan David - Haaretz - Israel News
  3. Al Gore - Present 2008 Laureate - Dan David Prize, TAU

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