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Israelis You Should Know: Hava Hornung

Institute of Oceanography, Israel (Photo: flickr/david55king)

Lived: December 25, 1929 - December 29, 2012

Known for: Israel's first female oceanographer

Why you should know her: Born in Poland, Hava was sent with her family to a Soviet gulag. After World War II ended, the family sneaked into the American part of Berlin. Once Israel won its independence, Hava then boarded a ship and sailed to the newly created Jewish state.

Arriving in Israel, Hava was hired by the Sea Fisheries Research Station in Haifa. In this job, she studied the Mediterranean Sea and its coastline. In 1972, Hava and her colleagues joined the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research (IOLR) center, where she continued to do research until her required retirement in 1994.

During her nearly fifty years as an Israeli oceanographer, Hava Hornung pioneered the science in the Jewish state. Her work in monitoring heavy metals such as mercury, as well as researching beached dolphins, has proven invaluable to those who follow in her footsteps studying the sea and its living things, both in Israel and around the world.

Tags: Life in Israel

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