College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota
College of Science and Engineering

Science and Technology in the Middle East

May 19-June 7, 2010

Seminar Description
We are proud to offer a new technical seminar to Israel and Jordan led by Marvin Marshak, professor of physics. For the first time, Minnesota students will have an opportunity to study this historic and strategically important area in a seminar led by a faculty member.

There is arguably no region in the world outside of our own country that plays a larger role in the American consciousness than the Middle East, which is also a unique region in the context of science and technology. The region generally lacks water and arable land. The distribution of energy resources is dichotomous. Some countries have huge petroleum and natural gas surpluses. Others are desperately short of energy resources.

Science and technology, if it can be developed appropriately, offers considerable benefits to the countries in the Middle East. However, various factors make such development problematic. Can American scientists and engineers participate positively in the development of scientific and technological infrastructure in the Middle East? The goals of this course are to better understand this region, how it has been affected by science and technology, and how can science and technology improve the lives of its people.

Included will be visits and discussions with scientists and engineers at university and industrial sites in Israel. Possible sites include universities in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beersheva and technology companies such as Intel, Teva Pharmaceutricals, Israeli Aircraft Industries, and Tadiran Electronics. Of particular interest in Jordan is the region around Aqaba, where the U.S. Agency for International Development is working with Jordanian government to promote a Special Economic Zone with technology industry and a new university. The group will also visit some historic sites to achieve a better understanding of the historical context that continues to shape culture and politics in the Middle East. See itinerary (coming soon)>>



It's early Sunday morning--May 9--and I just had an interesting experience with globalization. My wife Anita participates in a woman's drumming group that is playing from 7:00 am to 10:30 am this morning for the Race for the Cure. I delivered her and her drum at 7:00 am this morning to their performing spot on 12th Avenue South in Bloomington and then drove over to McDonalds on Nicollet and 494 for my 7:30 am conference call with IBM in Haifa Israel. Sitting in McDonalds "McBusiness Center" (that's what it says on the sign), I used my cell phone to call the 800 number for IBM's Global Conference Call Service. I then keyed in my code number and waited for Moshe Levinger at IBM Haifa to call in to the conference server. When he did, we had a great conversation planning the class visit to IBM Haifa two weeks from today on Sunday afternoon May 23. So now, I am using the McBusiness Center wireless to post this comment while I wait for Anita to call when her performance is over.

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