(photo credit: Ofira Shterenbeg/Tel Aviv University)
The Night of the Scientists, free events open to the public at 12 universities,
research institutes and science museums, will be held on Monday
This year, the theme will be the computer sciences. The hands-on
events are being organized with cooperation from the Science and Technology
Ministry and in coordination with the European Union.
Who will win in a
battle between man and machine? What did Israel’s first computer look like? And
in our future, will computers replace machines in a wide variety of activities?
These questions will be answered by scientists on Monday night, a full day
before Yom Kippur begins.
Most events will begin at 5 p.m. and continue
for hours after midnight.
Members of the public may have face-to-face
meetings with scientists, tour laboratories, hear lectures, participate in
experiential workshops and watch presentations.
The computer theme was
chosen to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of British scientist Alan
Turing, the “father of the computer era.”
The Haifa Israel Institute of
Technology-Technion’s venerable science museum is coordinating the events.
There, audiences will be able to watch humanoid robots; learn about the power of
the computer in preventing the use of nuclear weapons, its role of the film
industry and its functions in aircraft.
Tel Aviv University is offering a
robot race and a robot that washes floors; a lecturer on computer hackers in the
Middle East; a speedy chess tournament facing the computer Junior; and
preparation of ice cream as physics and chemistry experiment.
Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, visitors will be able to take part in
an interactive game and astronomical observations, take a look at the
institute’s first computer and converse with scientists in a cafe
At the ministry’s MIGAL center in Kiryat Shmona, one can view
early computer equipment from the 1970s and 1980s, participate in virtual
computer games, listen to a series of lectures and create “works of art” from
old computer parts.
The Hebrew University’s Givat Ram campus in Jerusalem
offers robots and miniature helicopters, as well as the story of the evolution
of the computer.
At the nearby Bloomfield Science museum, the public can
take a tour on patents, take part in an encryption workshop and hear a
computer’s lecture on understanding the brain. A “fringe” presentation on the
influences of technology on our lives will also be shown.
University campus in Ra’anana will explain to visitors how the Internet changes
thinking. You can also have your absolute hearing checked, view the skies with
telescopes, try to solve an encrypted riddle and view a real-time chess match
between the captain of Israel’s national chess team and a
Science and Technology Minister Prof. Daniel Herschkowitz said
that the computer influences everyone and every facet of daily life. The Night
of Scientists is an opportunity to learn from close up the latest technological
developments and get a sense of what will exist in the future and to perform
experiments in scientific fields, he added.
The peak of the events will
be a mass Turing test in which for the first time in Israel, the computer will
vie with humans. Among those involved will be Intel-Israel CEO Maxine Fassberg,
Israel Space Agency chairman Prof. Yitzhak Ben-Yisrael, TV host Avri
Gilad and model Adi Neuman.
People on the dais will be asked questions,
and the audience will vote on whether they faked their answers from the
Other participating universities and institutions are Ben-
Gurion University and the Sami Shamoon Academic Engineering College on its
Beersheba and Ashdod campuses.