Can a $10-billion university restore science to the Islamic world?
On the shores of the Red Sea, near a small fishing village called Thuwal, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is launching a university with the ambition of making it a world leader in science and technology. Not only will the school—called King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)—possess one of the 10 largest university endowments in the world, it will also allow women and men to study side by side. The greatest challenge that the potentially revolutionary school now faces is attracting faculty and students.
Science once flourished in the Islamic world, a legacy seen today in the West with the use of Arabic numerals and words such as “algebra.” After the golden age of Islam ended with the Mongol invasion in the 13th century, this momentum vanished. “It’s recognized in several [United Nations] reports that the Arab and Muslim world now lags behind in science,” says Ahmad Al-Khowaiter, interim provost for KAUST. Such an assessment includes, for instance, the amount of money expended on research relative to the size of a country’s economy and the total number of research papers published and patents registered.
A quick note on this. Scientific american is loosing money because it doesn’t understand how the internet works. Charging people for content doesn’t work anymore because the web isn’t just a big digital magazine. Put everything up for free and get your profits from advertising.
:: KAUST.edu.sa via email (Thanks Doz!) ::