Israeli science seminar draws 1,000 students in London

Zionist Federation hails host museums for ignoring boycott demands.

Israeli science seminar 248.88 (photo credit: Adrian Korsner, Sound Images Photography)
Israeli science seminar 248.88
(photo credit: Adrian Korsner, Sound Images Photography)
London's Science Museum hosted a day of science lectures by Israeli academics for 1,000 high-school students on Thursday. The event, organized by Britain's Zionist Federation, featured lectures by seven leading Israeli academics from seven Israeli universities: Dr Gabi Nakache of Tel Aviv University on Genetics; Ohad Zohar of Haifa's Technion on Nanotechnology; Dr Michael Lazar of the University of Haifa on Marine Geosciences; Professor Eliam Gross of the Weitzmann Institute and CERN on The Large Hadron Collider; Dr David Passig of Bar Ilan University on Futurology; Professor Alon Tal of Ben Gurion University on Israel's Water Management and Dr Amir Amedi of the Hebrew University on Bionic Man: Dream or Reality? The students also visited ZF exhibition stages highlighting Israeli innovations in the areas of solar power, the memory stick, the mobile phone camera, the diagnostic camera, the MRI scan, computerized library system, cherry tomato, drip irrigation, Arava R+D, and the Medfly project - a collaboration with Jordanians and Palestinians (under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Authority and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization) to protect fruit crops by releasing sterilized male fruit flies. A similar event was held on Tuesday at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry. The ZF praised the two museums for, as one of the lecturers put it, "not blinking" in the face of pressure to cancel the events by academic and other critics of Israel. Some critics had argued that the science museums were legitimating what they deemed intolerable Israeli policies regarding the Palestinians by hosting the seminars. The ZF noted that there were fewer than 20 protesters at the Science Museum when the event began on Thursday, and that they quickly dispersed. It said the feedback from the students was "very animated." The day's lectures were introduced by Professor Raymond Dwek of the University of Oxford, who spoke about three of the milestones in Israeli science: the first successful analysis of amniotic fluid in 1948, by Leo Sachs, formerly of Cambridge; endoscopy; and Interferon, used in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis and Hepatitis C.