College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota
College of Science and Engineering
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Middle East 2010

Jun 9, 10

SESAME, Jerash, and the U.S. Embassy (Jordan Style)

June 3, we visited the International Centre for Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science Applications in the Middle East (SESAME), the city of Jerash (known for the ruins of the ancient Greco-Roman city of Gerasa), and the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan.

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Jun 9, 10

University of Jordan and JUST

June 2, we toured the University of Jordan in Amman, and the Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) in the city of Irbid. These universities provided us with a glimpse of the challenges confronting Jordanian academics.

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Jun 7, 10

Petra

Our next stop, Petra, is considered by some to be one of the new wonders of the world.

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Jun 1, 10

We've Made it to Jordan!

Monday morning we packed up and loaded our suitcases onto the bus. We crossed the border into Jordan later on in the day.

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May 31, 10

Kibbutz Lotan

We spent the day in the Israeli settlement Kibbutz Lotan. A Kibbutz is a community that works collectively to meet the necessities of basic life. They were traditionally based on a combination of socialism and Zionism ideologies and developed communal means of agriculture. Recently, however, Kibbutzim (pl) have become more privatized and capitalistic.

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May 29, 10

Bedouin Camp

Today was arguably our best day so far. We slept in until 10 am!

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May 29, 10

Intel and Viamaris (water desalination)

Thursday, we toured an Intel branch in Kiryat Gat and a water desalination plant owned by a compnay called Viamaris in Palmachim. We were not allowed to take any pictures at either of these sites, so we apologize for that.

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May 28, 10

Bar-Ilan University and Super Dimension Ltd.

Today we saw the cutting edge research going on at Bar-Ilan University and Super Dimension Ltd. (medical device company). We ended the day with an interesting lecture given by Professor Isaac Ben-Israel about how technology impacts Israel.

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May 27, 10

More Pictures!

More pictures...

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May 26, 10

Weizmann Institute and Israeli Air Force

To finish off Monday, we ended up having dinner and then having a guest speaker from Tel Aviv, show us around the city. We went on a walk next to the beach and made a few stops on the way to Jaffa. He showed us where a suicide bombing took place at a Russian club. He then showed us the tallest mosque in the area, which also serves as the border of Tel Aviv and Jaffa.

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May 24, 10

Technion University, Bahai Gardens, and Checkpoint Software

Today we packed up and moved out of Haifa Gallery Hotel. Our first stop was at the Bahai Gardens. They were beautiful! The Bahai religion is a religion believes that Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, and other religious figures are all prophets sent to the world to benefit the people of the time. They also had an additional prophet that was exclusionary to them.

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May 23, 10

University of Haifa, IBM, and Guest Speakers

We attended many lectures today and heard a lot about technology in Israel. Our first stop was to the University of Haifa. Like the Hebrew University, we learned that they host many international students. They welcome students from all over the world. The University is located on top of Mount Carmel and one of the University buildings is the Eshkol Tower, which is 30 stories high. From the top we could see much of Israel and even the border to Lebanon.

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May 22, 10

Pictures...More to Come

Sorry these took so long to put up, but we've been very busy.

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May 22, 10

Caesarea, Druze, and Tel Megiddo

Today's adventures included a journey to Caesarea, a unique lunch hosted by the Druze, and a walk around Tel Megiddo.

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May 21, 10

Masada, Qumran, and the Dead Sea

Our first stop of the day was a historical site called Masada. The site contains numerous ruined buildings and defense fortifications scattered throughout the top of a rock plateau overlooking the Dead Sea. Masada is located at the eastern edge of the Judean Desert in the South District of Israel. The Romans sacked the city during the first Jewish-Roman War leading to a mass suicide of almost 1000 inhabitants of the city, who preferred to die rather than surrender.

We took a rail car to the top of the plateau and surveyed the breathtaking landscape, and walked amongst the ruins of the city. Our tour guide Sam explained the history of the city and discussed the purposes of the various buildings and structures we came across. After a while, we returned to the road by means of the Snake Path, a long stone and sand pathway winding down the side of the plateau, and boarded our bus.

We headed to Qumran, another plateau settlement destroyed by the Romans, and best known as the settlement closest to the location where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Qumran is located just a mile inland from the northwest shore of the Dead Sea in the West Bank.

After eating lunch in a nearby food court, we proceeded to examine the settlement ruins and received history lessons from our ever-knowledgeable tour guide Sam. As in Masada, we discovered how the people in these times lived by exploring the wreckage of the settlement buildings and stone structures. We also saw the caves in which the Dead Sea Scrolls were found and learned how, and by whom, they were made. We then boarded the bus and headed to the Dead Sea.

The Dead Sea is a great body of salt-water bordering the West Bank, Israel, and Jordan. It is one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world and can harbor virtually no life, hence its name.

When we arrived we changed into our bathing suits and headed for the beach. The diversity of the beach going population was remarkable; we heard people speaking French, Italian, Spanish, English, Russian, Hebrew, and Arabic to name a few. Once in the water, it became immediately clear why so many people flocked to the Dead Sea. Due to the high levels of salt, which gives the sea a higher density than fresh water bodies, we were able to float in the sea with ease. We also learned that the mineral rich mud at the bottom of the Dead Sea is excellent for your skin. So after covering ourselves in mud and frolicking for a while in the water, we rinsed off and headed back to the bus.

We returned to our hotel exhausted after another extraordinary day. Today we will be leaving the ancient city of Jerusalem for Haifa, the largest city in northern Israel.

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May 20, 10

Exploring Jerusalem

We began today at the Western Wall of the old city of Jerusalem. The Western wall is a 2000-year-old structure built by the Jewish people to support the Temple Mount, upon which stood the second temple. It is currently the largest roman structure still standing today (larger than the roman coliseum). Although the temple was destroyed in AD 70, the wall remains the holiest place of all the Jewish sites.

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May 19, 10

Al-Quds University and Old City Jerusalem

Our day started at 0830 as we headed to the West Bank in Palestine to visit Al-Quds University in Abu Dis (Al Quds is Arabic for Jerusalem). When we arrived Dr. Mukhles Sowwan greeted us and invited us to join him for some coffee before beginning the tour.

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May 18, 10

We're Here!

We made it! After many hours of traveling, including a 12 hour flight from Atlanta to Tel Aviv we are finally here! We were served 2 meals on the long flight and had complimentary movies, games, and music. Most of us got through customs with no problem. On the way from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, we passed a memorial to 9/11, a memorial for the 1948 war, and the place wear Jesus was first seen after his resurrection.

Today is the Jewish holiday Shavuot so almost everything is closed. We are staying at Beit Yehudah in Jerusalem for the next few days.

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May 10, 10

Travel Itinerary

T3789 Final Itin.doc

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May 10, 10

Course Syllabus

Physics 4993_Summer2010_syllabus.pdf

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May 4, 10

Science and Technology in the Middle East

May 19-June 7, 2010. 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.

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