Every summer since 1969, the Dr. Bessie F. Lawrence International Summer Science Institute (ISSI), more fondly known as “the Bessie program,” brings together approximately 80 highly talented pre-university students (high-school graduates) from all over the world to experience the challenges and rewards of scientific research and to learn more about the Weizmann Institute of Science and life in Israel. During the month-long program, the students spend the first three weeks conducting research in the campus labs. The work combines the exploration of problems in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematical and computer science, and instruction in the use of sophisticated lab equipment such as electron microscopes, advanced computers, a high-energy particle accelerator, and lasers.
There are also lectures given by senior Weizmann Institute scientists, departmental talks, and visits to some of the state-of-the-art facilities on campus. And after three weeks on campus, the group moves to an altogether different scientific focus: a field school in the Judean Desert and the Negev. Expert guides from the Sde-Boker field school lead hikes that acquaint the students with the unique ecological, geographical, geological, zoological, and archaeological characteristics of the area – some of which are one-of-a-kind in the world. This is a great opportunity to experience Israel, participate in ongoing scientific research and meet an amazing variety of people.
For more information visit the official website here.
There are only 80 positions available for the ISSI program, and applications are based on academic merit. It is therefore relatively competitive in terms of entry and eligibility.
The program is conducted in English and is free for participants; all costs are covered by scholarships from Weizmann donors.
Applicants to the Dr. Bessie F. Lawrence International Summer Science Institute (ISSI) must
excel in their school science studies and demonstrate an interest in scientific research
beyond the classroom – in extracurricular research projects, science competitions, summer
programs, etc. They must be in their last year of high school and highly proficient in English. In addition to their academic requirements, students must be physically capable of hiking in the Israeli summer heat, on rocky trails, in streams and in the desert.
Applicants must be willing to dedicate nearly 4 weeks of their time to participate in this course.
Applications to the International Summer Science Institute must include a completed application form, a complete transcript or list of courses (with grades) the applicant has taken in his/her high school studies, two letters of recommendation from teachers, advisors, school principal or others who know the applicant well, and a photograph of the applicant.
Each form should be e‐mailed to
Complete form via this link