The Center

The Franz Ollendorff Minerva Center for Vision and Image Sciences was founded in 1985 by the German Ministry of Science, as one of the first Minerva Foundation centers established in Israel. It was founded in the Department of Electrical Engineering of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, in memory and honor of Distinguished Technion Professor Franz Ollendorff, who was born and educated in Germany, before immigrating to Israel in 1934, and establishing the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in 1947. The center operates by the Department of Electrical Engineering and central facilities are maintained and managed by the Laboratories for Vision and Image Sciences.

Research areas supported by the center span a broad range of topics from the understanding of biological vision to the development of theoretical framework and algorithms suitable for implementation on-line in real time computational vision systems. Research areas also include schemes of image representation, image understanding and processing, medical imaging and medical image processing, machine learning, pattern recognition and computer graphics.

The center was originally established with the goal of focusing the research effort on problems related to vision and image understanding. Although these are still the main topics, interest expressed by the Technion scientists as well as German colleagues has prompted recent incorporation of parallel architectures that are of utmost importance in dealing with real time computer vision systems and visual communication, as well as electro optics and ultrafast optics for imaging.

The center is targeted at bringing together German-Israeli researchers at all levels from undergraduate students to faculty research fellows. Programs offered by the center range from undergraduate internship, through graduate students short\long term visits to faculty visits. Activities are held both at the Technion – Faculty of Electrical Engineering and also in top ranked German universities and research centers affiliated with the center. The center also organizes and co-sponsors joint German-Israeli workshops and seminars devoted to topics of mutual interest.

The founder and Head of the Ollendorff Center is Professor Yehoshua Y. (Josh) Zeevi, who started his academic carrier as Professor Ollendorff’s only student who became a faculty member at the Technion. The center’s research activities are monitored by a Bi-national Scientific Advisory Board, chaired by Professor Dr. Dr-Ing Hans Burkhardt, Chair for Pattern Recognition and Image Processing, Albert Ludwid University, Freiburg.

In its 7 years review, the evaluation comittee stated in Dec 2005: “The excellent research and the international activities make the center a top research institute in its field.”



Professor Franz Ollendorff


Prof. Franz Ollendorff was the founder of the Department of Electrical Engineering at Technion.

Professor Ollendorff was born in Berlin in 1900. He received his Diplom-Ingenieur from the Technische Hochschule, Berlin-Charlottenburg in 1921, and the Doctor-Ingenieur in 1922. After few years as an electrical engineer at Siemens Professor Ollendorff joined the Technische Hochschule in Berlin as a scientist and lecturer. His first, out of 11 books ‘Die Grundlagen  der Hochferquenztechnik’, was published in 1926. Professor Ollendorff became a leading scientist in Germany in Electron Phsics and Devices, and in Applied Relativity, but was dismissed from his position by the Nazi regime. In 1937 he escaped to Israel. Shortly after his arrival in Israel he joined the Technion, and in 1938 founded the Electrotechnic department. In 1947 this department became the Technion Faculty of Electrical Engineering, and Professor Ollendorff became its first dean. He served as faculty member until 1981. In addition to his profound research activities and seminal contributions, Professor Ollendorff was also a highly distinguished teacher highly regarded by faculty members, and admired by students. Although his strengths and reputation were better known in physical electronics, including medical electronics, he was deeply interested in human vision and based on theoretical considerations predicted correctly some functions of the human visual cortex. Professor Franz Ollendorff died in Haifa in 1981.

Scientific text books written by Professor Franz Ollendorff

Curriculum Vitae

1900 Born, March 15, in Berlin.
1921 Graduated as “Diplom-Ingenier” from the “Technische Hochschule” Berlin-Charlottenburg.
1922 Doctor-Ingenieur, “Technische Hochschule”, Danzig.
1922 – 1924 Principal Assistant, Institute of Technology, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Danzig.
1924 – 1928 Research Engineer, Research Department of Siemens-Schuckert-Werke, Berlin.
1928 – 1933 Senior Assistant and ‘Privatdozent’ (Lecturer), Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Technische Hochschule, Berlin-Charlottenburg.
1933 Dismissed by the Nazis’ National-Socialist Government.
1933 – 1934 Teacher at Jewish Primary School, Berlin

1934 – Emigration to Palestine.
1935 – 1937 Member of “Judische Jugendhilfe” in Berlin, and Head of “Jugend Alijah School”, preparing Jewish children towards emigration to Palestine.

1937 Return to Palestine.

1937-1980 Professor of Electrical Engineering, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Founder of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering’ and its first dean.
1938 Organization and Management of the Department for Electrical Engineering of the technical High-School affiliated with the Technion.
1952 – 1980 Research Institute Professor, Technion — Israel Institute of Technology.
1956 Visiting Professor, University of California, Berkeley.
1976, 1980 – Visiting Professor,Technische Hochschule, Wien, and ETH, Zurich

1980 – Professor Emeritus.
1981 Deceased, December 9, in Haifa.


Prof. Ollendorff (in front) with the graduates of the first class of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering first class


Member of the Israel Academy of Sciences.
1948 Weizman Prize.
1950 Israel Prize for Exact Sciences.
1959 Honorary Citizen of Haifa.
1960 Honorary D.Sc. – Technische Hochschule Berlin-Charlottenburg.
1961 Vice-President of the IEEE.
1971 Education Medal of the IEEE.
1974 Rothschild Prize in Technology.

 Franz Ollendorff's Haifa Honorary Citizenship Certificate


  • Electron Physics and Devices
  • Electromagnetism
  • Relativistic Electromagnetism
  • Quantum Electronics
  • Medical Electronics
  • Vision

Advisory (Beirat) Committee

From Germany:

Prof. Ulrich Rueckert (Chair – Germany)
Bielefeld University

Prof. Klaus Obermayer
Technical University Berlin

Prof. Christoph Schnoerr
University of Heidelberg

From Israel:

Prof. Yehoshua Y. Zeevi (Chair – Israel)

Prof. Jacob Rubinstein
E.V.P. for Research

Prof. Nahum Shimkin
Dean, Faculty of Electrical Engineering