Simon Ben-Avi

Professor Emeritus

Dr. Simon Ben-Avi first came to The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1984, having previously served in positions at the Universities of Manchester, Kingston-upon-Hull and London, and at the Institute for Semantic and Cognitive Studies in Switzerland.  He was appointed as a Professor in Electrical Engineering, but became Associate Dean in 1997, and Acting Dean in 2009, commissioning and moving The School of Engineering into the 41 Cooper Square of that year.

Following a first career as a self-taught church organist, which began at the age of fourteen, Dr. Ben-Avi studied first Electrical Engineering, then Computer Engineering at U.M.I.S.T., and finally Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Manchester.  His research centered upon automatic translation of natural languages, targeted at the European Union’s efforts in this area.  To avoid the exponential increase in the number of translation engines needed as the E.U. grew, he used the notion of a computer “bus” where a single intermediate representation of meaning bridged the gap between an input language and the target language.

Lately, Dr. Ben-Avi enjoys long-standing relationships with medical institutions, and performs clinical studies with physicians. He is particularly interested in the muscle, skeletal and neurological systems, publishing regularly with a research team at Lenox Hill Hospital.  His designs of unique testing machinery led to the ASME admitting him as a member.

A Senior Member of the IEEE and a member of the Association for Computing Machinery, Dr. Ben-Avi is also a Chartered Engineer in the E.U., which translates to the American P.E., is a Tau Beta Pi Eminent Engineer and a member of Eta Kappa Nu.  His personal favorite achievement remains the performances of Saint-Saëns’ Organ Symphony in Sheffield Cathedral with the touring London Symphony.  He played the organ and piano parts.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.