About Ilan

Ilan Manulis, director of the Martin S. Kraar Observatory, Department of Particle Physics and Astrophysics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot Israel is a well-recognized lecturer, presenter and a true populrizer of science. His lectures draw large audiences and are requested among enthusiasts of science and astronomy.

Ilan Manulis has been involved with astronomical activity in Israel for many years. Starting as an avid amateur astronomer in the early eighties, he has three decades of asronomy-related activities in Israel and abroad at his record. He is a practical observer with hands-on experience, has a Solar System Small Bodies expertise, has initiated and promoted the research of Near Earth Objects (NEOs) in Israel and raised public awareness for the NEOs issue through lectures, radio and TV talk shows.

In his background Ilan Manulis was a software development manager in various high-tech firms, speciaizing in the domain of real-time control.

The following are points of interest in his long career:

  • Served as the chairman of the Israeli Astronomical Association (IAA), 1983 – 1986
  • Initiated scientific interest in the NEOs subject, through various meeting with SELA and TAU professional representatives.
  • Proposed the establishment of a robotic NEOs survey observatory in Israel, 1996 – 1998
  • Initiated and operated the Wise Piggyback NEOs Project. In the course of this project, fields imaged through the Wise Observatory's 40" telescope for scientific research (by Dr. Avishai Gal-Yam) were serendipitously examined for the presence of asteroids. Once detected, astrometry was taken and their coordinates reported to the IAU MPC. Throughout this project 65 new asteroids were discovered, 1999 – 2001
  • Served as a formal member, and participated in all the meetings, of the National Steering Committee for NEOs, chaired by Prof. Yuval Ne’eman. Prepared a proposal for the establishment of a dedicated NEOs survey observatory in Israel which has been presented to the Committee, 2000 – 2002
  • Participated in the integration of, and later operated (during several meteor showers), the Wise Observatory's Visual Meteor Detection Stations. Wrote the set of working procedures for the stations. Also, participated in the analysis of the first batch, 1999 – 2002
  • Selected, assembled and integrated the software for the Wise-NEOs telescope, a fully robotic, 18" telescope dedicated to NEOs survey, 2002 – 2004
  • As of 2006, began practicing astronomy as main vocation. Joined the Technoda in Givat-Olga, appointed as the Observatory Director as well as responsible for the astronomy-related curriculum. Teaching astronomy to various age groups, including gifted children. Defining and preparing course programs, aid materials and astronomy-related construction kits.
  • Joined the Weizmann Institute of Science. Took full responsibility for the design, integration, calibration and operation of the first major observatory on the Institute's campus grounds. Appointed as the Observatory Director, assuming full responsibility for finalizing the commissioning of the observatory as well as operation, maintenance and future development.
  • Full time employment as the Director of the Martin S. Kraar Observatory, part of the Particle Physics and Astrophysics Faculty, Weizmann Institute of Science

An asteroid has been named after him, asteroid (13615) Manulis, dedicated by astronomers Carolyn Shoemaker and David H. Levy, as a token of appreciation for Manulis’ long standing activities in promoting the study of NEOs in Israel (an excerpt from the official citation), 2000.

Manulis has several scientific papers of which he is one of the authors and has an entry in the Hebrew version of Wikipedia.

Over the years Manulis has been a favorite interviewee by the written and electronic media in Israel, with many interviews and articles at his record.

Ilan Manulis can be reached by contacting him here.