Posted: Tuesday, May 12, 2015 – 5:45 PM
The world’s tiniest Hebrew Bible went on exhibit last month at The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, thanks to the support of residents Joan and Arnold Seidel, the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute and the Dorot Foundation.
Created by researchers at the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, the Nano Bible is etched onto a microchip no larger than a grain of sugar, and can only be read using a microscope capable of 10,000 times magnification.
The new exhibition, “And Then There was Nano: The Smallest Bible in the World,” along with two other special displays, are part of the museum’s year-long 50th anniversary celebration of the museum and its Shrine of the Book, home of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The high-tech Nano Bible serves as a contemporary complement to the Scrolls (on exhibition at the California Science Center), which are the oldest Biblical manuscripts in the world.
The exhibition gives audiences the opportunity to examine the technological evolution of the Hebrew Bible from antiquity to the postmodern era.
What is the Nano Bible?
The Nano Bible is a gold-plated silicon chip the size of a pinhead on which the entire Hebrew Bible is engraved. The text, consisting of more than1.2 million letters, is carved on the 0.5mm2 chip by means of a focused ion beam. The beam dislodges gold atoms from the plating and creates letters, similar to the way the earliest inscriptions were carved in stone. The writing process takes about an hour and a half. The letters belong to a font unique to this technology and appear darker against their gold background.
Employing a modern incarnation of an ancient writing technique, this technological marvel demonstrates the wonders of present-day miniaturization and gives the spectator with a tangible measure of the achievable dimensions.
The term “nano” derives from the Greek word nanos, meaning “dwarf.” The unit nanometer measures one billionth of a meter, a ratio similar to the size of an olive compared to the entire planet Earth.
The Nano Bible was conceived of and created by Prof. Uri Sivan and Dr. Ohad Zohar of the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. It was made by engineers in the Sara and Moshe Zisapel Nanoelectronics Center and the Wolfson Microelectronics Research and Teaching Center.
The first of two copies was presented by the former President of Israel, Shimon Peres, to Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Israel in 2009. The chip on display in the Israel Museum was produced especially for the Information and Study Center of the Shrine of the Book.
The Seidels are co-owners of the stock brokerage firm Morton Seidel & Co., Inc., and philanthropists abroad and at home. Joan Seidel has served as Beverly Hills City Treasurer, and as past national president of the American Technion Society (ATS). Arnold Seidel is a member of the ATS National Board of Directors and is active with Friends of The Observatory, among other associations. Both are Technion Guardians, a designation reserved for those who support the Technion at the highest level.
To watch a video on how the Nano Bible was made, visit http://on.fb.me/1JnjgfM