In the comics, Iron Man is an ordinary human who, because of a mishap, is forced to become part machine, with the latest technology giving him extra-human powers. As part of a broader nationwide festival of science set to take place on March 26, Israeli scientists will present at Hebrew University the latest in vision, brain, motor, and other technologies that could be used as substitutes for the “real thing.”
On that day, hundreds of events will take place in schools, universities and community centers — all emphasizing the big ideas of modern science, from physics to chemistry, medicine, nutrition, computer science, and much more.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be participating, promoting Israeli science and technology to hundreds of foreign diplomats at an event Tuesday night to kick off Israel Science Day. Participating in the event will be Science Minister Yaakov Peri, who, along with UK Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts, will discuss science (and probably other topics as well) with Israel’s recent Nobel Prize winners – Professor Dan Schectman, Professor Ada Yonath, Professor Yisrael Auman, and Professor Aharon Ciechanover. The prize winners will review seven scientific projects from young scientists who recently returned from abroad to do their research at the Weizmann Institute.
University campuses and museums around the country will be holding special events, as will the Tel Aviv municipality, which will turn Rabin Square in the center of the city into the site of a giant science fair to be judged by, among others, President of Intel Israel Mooly Eden. At Hebrew University, professors will discuss the latest in brain technology, with the session opened by President Shimon Peres.
Bar-Ilan University will host the world-famous gerontologist Dr. Aubrey de Grey, who will present the latest findings on how to avoid aging. At the Technion, President Peretz Lavie, along with Technion professors, will host Finance Minister Yair Lapid and discuss the connection between the cost of living and quality of life.
High schools all over the country will be holding special science events for students, as well. Science students at Hadera high school, for example, will show parents and guests how science has an impact on everyday life – like trying to determine for once and for all whether or not sugar-free gum prevents or causes tooth decay (the jury is still out on that one). Students in a computer programming class at another school will present apps they wrote to several high-tech investors and executives for critique (and possibly investment). The point of the events, according to Ravit Dom, CEO of the Amal high school network, is “science is not just for nerds.”
Science will even be coming to bars and restaurants; the Science Ministry is sponsoring discussions and events in select places of entertainment all day, until the wee hours, and there will be more events in community centers in cities across Israel throughout the day and evening.
For Science Minister Peri, Science Day is an opportunity to get attention to the innovation that goes on in Israeli educational institutions and research labs every day. “We want people to experience science in an unconventional way, presenting information that in other settings may be hard for the average Israeli to absorb. It’s also a great way to show off Israel’s accomplishments in science, now and in the past, and to give thanks to the people who made this possible. I truly appreciate the many people who are participating in this event, managing and directing the hundreds of events that I am sure many Israelis will enjoy and learn from.”