Science and technology is one of the most developed sectors in Israel. Here are some interesting and amazing facts about it:
- Israel has 140 scientists and technicians per 10,000 employees, even besting the United States’s 85 to 10,000 and Japan’s 83 to 10,000 ratio.
- Israel allocates 4.3% of its gross domestic product (GDP) to civil research and development, one of the world’s highest.
- Israel isn’t called the “innovation nation” for nothing. It has been at the forefront when it comes to the invention of the new technologies across many other sectors, which also include agriculture and medicine. These inventions include drip irrigation, cherry tomatoes, capsule endoscopy, the cell phone, USB flash drive, and the Pentium MMX chip technology.
- Israel is also dubbed the “start-up nation.” It has the highest number of start-ups per capita in the world, with 1,400 start-ups per person. Israel is home to several tech startups, including Waze, Fiverr, SodaStream, and Mobileye.
- When it comes to space technology, Israel is now second in the world ranking of space sciences. In 2019, the country launched the Beresheet lunar lander in its first attempt at the moon.
Well, how come Israel is so successful in science and technology? Perhaps one of the secrets of its success is to get people, most especially the young, interested in science and technology. One of the ways to do that is to encourage them to visit science and technology museums.
And speaking of museums, Israel also leads in this department. With over 200 of them, the country has the highest number of museums per capita in the world.
In line with science and technology and museums, this article tackles about one of the most popular museums in Haifa, the Israel National Museum of Science, Technology, and Space. It is also known as Madatech for short.
This sprawling complex is not just your ordinary science museum – Madatech is crammed with hands-on and interactive educational activities that will entertain both adults and kids.
A little history about the Madatech building
Located at the heart of a 28-dunam (7-acre) green campus, not too far away from the Baha’i Shrine and gardens, Madatech is housed in a large, historic building that is the old Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. The building was designed by renowned German-Jewish architect Alexander Baerwald who started working on the project in 1912. Technion’s cornerstone was laid in the same year.
In 1923, the world-famous scientist (and another German Jew) Albert Einstein visited the university – the old Technion, that is – having planted the first palm tree there. The palm tree still exists today.
When Technion moved to a new campus in Nave Sha’anan on the north-eastern slopes of Mount Carmel in 1983, the old building was converted into a museum, which is now Madatech. In 1987, the museum was officially recognized by the Israeli government.
Madatech’s exhibitions and activities
Madatech has over 20 exhibitions, exposing visitors of all ages to the world of science, technology, and space through exciting and fun hands-on exhibits and diverse activities. These exhibitions aim to awaken, provoke, and excite most of the senses, together creating a sensory experience in which visitors learn, discover, see, and even touch.
The museum’s permanent exhibitions include as follows (in alphabetical order):
- Acoustics Hall
- A Look to the Heavens – An astronomy exhibition.
- A Matter of Chemistry
- Between Mount Carmel and the Sea – A collection of taxidermied birds borrowed from the Shimon Angerss Nature House in Kibbutz Ma’ayan Tzvi.
- Dark Room – An exhibition of lights, plasma, lasers, and electric charges, among other phenomena of lights and optics.
- Fly High – Aviation exhibition.
- Green Energy – Opened in 2007.
- Harry Pommert’s View of Science – A collection of antique scientific instruments.
- Imagine – Dedicated to the late Ilan Ramon, fighter pilot and the first Israeli astronaut who was one of the six casualties of the fatal Columbia space mission in 2003.
- Leonardo da Vinci – All about the Renaissance-era Italian scientist and engineer.
- Magical Science – An exhibition of optical illusion through the application of elementary science. It opened in 2007 and re-opened in 2009.
- My Green Home – The “Green Energy” gallery where children can learn about solar power and light power, combustion, etc.
- Puzzle Games
- Smile! It’s Science – An exhibition that deals with teeth, dental care, and oral health, opened in 2009.
- The Secrets of Life – A DNA exhibition opened in 2005.
- Visual Deceptions – An optical illusion exhibition.
Once visitors have completed touring the interior expanse of the museum, they should also check out the courtyard where the Noble Energy Science Park is located. The science park was opened during the Hanukkah festival in 2011.
The Noble Energy Science Park presents the famous historical scientists and inventors and their important discoveries, inventions, and contributions to the world of science and technology. It is loaded with scientific games and models that can be played with. An example of these models is Da Vinci’s original helicopter sketch, where kids and young adults can climb inside the “helicopter” and “fly” using manual power, like pedaling.
Madatech is also home to the “Boyo,” a challenging but exhilarating and fun vertical swing where children and adults can experience going up and down, just like a yo-yo. They can launch themselves four meters into the air, bounce back down, and go up again. It is one of the museum’s most popular activities.
For a small additional fee, visitors can experience the Cinematrix, which screens in 3D, offering a multi-sensory experience. Thanks to the state-of-the-art imaging effects and technology, the senses of smell, sight, hearing, and touch all come alive. The films feature safety, space, and flight.
Lectures, scientific illustrations, and presentations may be added to what Madatech offers during holidays and even weekends.
It is important to note that a visit to Madatech can easily take up a whole day. If you plan to visit there for a few hours, it is recommended to tour the exhibits that closely align with your interests.
Israel National Museum of Science, Technology, and Space (Madatech) – general information
Shmaryahu Street 25 and Balfour Street 12,
(In Hebrew and English)
Monday to Wednesday – 10:00 to 15:00
Thursday – 11:00 to 18:00
Saturday – 10:00 to 16:00
Sunday and Friday – closed
Ticket prices (subject to change without prior notice):
Adult – NIS 75
Child – NIS 65
Israeli senior citizen – NIS 37.50
Family (up to four members) – NIS 250
Oleh Hadash (new immigrants) – NIS 10
You can also avail of the annual subscription and membership. Go to Madatech’s page to learn about their special benefits.
How to go to Madatech?
- By Carmelit subway – If you’re in Haifa, take a ride at the Carmelit subway and get off at Hanevi’im or Masada station.
- By train – In front of Haifa Bat Galim railway station, lines 37 or 28, stop at Balfour street (just in front of Madatech’s entrance).
- By bus – If you’re coming from various points in Haifa, you can take the buses 24, 28, 37, 113, 114, and 115.
- By car – The parking lot is on 12 Balfour. However, it has limited capacity and gets full quickly, especially during summer and school holidays.