Boycott be gone: Plastics researchers to meet in Israel

Though academic boycott is at its height, the Polymer Processing Society is holding its annual conference here

Shenkar College (Photo credit: Courtesy)
Shenkar College (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Stephen Hawking and a host of university academics are unlikely to be coming to Israel anytime soon because of a politically inspired academic boycott, but the “polymer people” — members of the International Polymer Processing Society (PPS) — are on their way. Bucking the boycott trend, the PPS has chosen to hold its annual meeting in Israel this year. The event is set for next Monday through Thursday at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Ramat Gan, next to Tel Aviv.

The PPS has had an annual event for the past 30 years, but this is the first time it’s coming to Israel, despite the fact that Prof. Zeev Tadmor, a former president of the Technion, was a founding member of the organization. A special session honoring Tadmor will be held at the conference’s end. For years, Israel’s leading polymer researchers — Prof. Hanna Dodiuk, Prof. Samuel Koenig, Prof. Amos Ophir, Dr. Anna Dothan, Dr. Dan Levitas, Dr. Yiftach Nir, and Dr. Elizabeth Amir – have been after the PPS to bring its event here, and this year they succeeded – despite the anti-Israel atmosphere in academia, and especially despite this summer’s war in Gaza. A spokesperson for Shenkar College said that the institution was “proud to be hosting the PPC Conference, and we will do everything possible to ensure its success.”

Plastics was the one word to describe the bright future in the 1967 movie The Graduate, when a young college grad was advised to check out plastics as a career – and it still has good times ahead, judging by the agenda of the Europe Africa 2014 Regional Conference of the International PPS. Among the topics to be discussed: Biodegradable Polymers — From the Concept to the Clinic; Nonwoven Mat and Fiber Based on Extremely Long Carbon Nano Tube; Multi Materials 3D Printing of Polymeric Structures; Super-hygrophobicity Made Simple, and many more.

Addressing the conference will be top experts in polymers, 3D printing, and nano-technology – including Dr. Hossam Haick of the Technion, inventor of the “electric nose,” which can be used to “sniff out” cancer – a much more effective system than those currently available.

Organizers promise several surprise announcements on new developments and inventions in the areas of plastics and polymers, with discussions focused on biological materials, adhesives, coatings and surfaces, processing and rheological polymers, smart materials and composites, medical polymers for applications in energy, mixtures, foams and additives, and other topics, all of them important in areas like food packaging, water repellent materials, and nano-technology based clothing and materials.


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