An Arab-Israeli professor is the first to conduct an Arabic-language course in nanotechnology. Thousands of students registered immediately for the online program.

This month, Arab-Israeli Professor Hossam Haick of the world-renowned Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa has become the first to teach an Arabic-language course on nanotechnology in Arabic. Already, 4,800 students from Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait and the Palestinian Authority-administered territories have signed up for the online program.

The course, “Nanotechnology and Nanosensors,” is designed to educate on Haick’s specialty, which is described as “novel sensing tools that make use of nanotechnology to screen, detect, and monitor various events in either our personal or professional life.”

It will consist of 10 classes, each broadcasting three-to-four short lecture videos in both Arabic and English. The course is free and anyone can participate. Over 30,000 students have enrolled from all parts of the world.

Commenting on the enthusiastic response, Haick said:

“Nanotechnology and nanosensors are perceived as futuristic, and people are curious to understand what the future looks like. … It offers a large diversity of research opportunities.”

First Arabic-Language MOOC Created by Arab-Israeli Technion Scientist

It was the president of the university, Prof. Peretz Lavie, who had invited Haick to represent the Israeli university before such a massive audience.

The Arab-Israeli professor “thinks there is a high need to bring science beyond the boundaries, between countries,” Lavie said. “He told me there is something called a ‘MOOC’ [Massive Online Open Course]. I did not know what a MOOC is. He said it is a course that can be given to thousands of people over the Web. And he asked if he can give the first MOOC from the Technion — in Arabic.”

Haick, 38, has been a senior lecturer in chemical engineering and nanotechnology at the Technion since 2006. having earned his Ph.D. at the Institute, He lives in Haifa with his wife and son.

The Arab-Israeli professor comes from a family of academics that includes a doctor, an electronics engineer and a math teacher.

“Since I was a small boy, I have been interested in science,” he said.

Arab-Israelis Making Groundbreaking Scientific Discoveries

Haick’s current project is a sensor of gold nanoparticles that can distinguish the breath of lung, breast, and colon cancer patients from that of healthy people. His “electronic nose” would pave the way for an inexpensive, portable, noninvasive diagnostic tool that could screen for a variety of malignant tumors.

Some 19 percent of the Technion’s students are Arab-Israelis, a figure which has doubled over the last 12 years.

“If the Middle East was like the Technion, we would already have peace. In the pure academy, you feel totally equal with every person. And you are appreciated based on your excellence,” Haick stated.

Author: David Fink
Date: Mar. 24, 2014