Science for society’s sake
LAU hosts the 19th LAAS International Science Conference.
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The Lebanese Association for the Advancement of Science (LAAS), in collaboration with LAU and the National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS) held the 19th LAAS International Science Conference on the Beirut campus on April 5-6.
In his opening address, LAU professor of computer science and member of the LAAS local organizing committee Dr. Nashat Mansour stressed the pivotal role of the conference in forging cerebral and creative collaborations between scholars and researchers working across different disciplines.
“Is scientific research a luxury or a necessity? In this day and age, what should our priorities in research be? In a small country like Lebanon, is research being given the weight it deserves? These are some of the questions we should be asking ourselves as scientists today,” said Mansour.
The two-day symposium aimed to provide a platform for pioneering researchers and practitioners to present and discuss recent advances in the various fields of science and science education, including — but not limited to — biological and medical sciences, food security, environment, engineering, mathematics, and behavioral sciences.
Over 500 students and researchers from a total of 24 Lebanese and international universities attended the conference, addressing recent technologies, technology transfer, innovative science education, Arab-EU research cooperation, and the global impact of research and science policy.
In addition to LAU, participating universities included the American University of Beirut, Beirut Arab University, the University of Balamand, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, the University of Southern Denmark, and Université de Rennes 1.
“As the globalization of science continues to have an increasingly expansive impact on our society, education is and should be our main point of focus in Lebanon,” said the Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr. Hassan Diab at the event’s opening ceremony.
Echoing Diab, LAU President Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra said, “Even in the gloomiest of times, brave and hopeful souls can always glimpse a gleam of hope. Today, I see before me a room glimmering with hope — great minds with remarkable passion for what they do, who are capable of making a difference.”
Three distinguished scientists and researchers were granted excellence awards for their exceptional scholarly achievements: Dr. Antoine Zahlan, Dr. Karim Kabalan, and Dr. Naim Ouaini.
Fatima Chatila, an industrial microbiology student at Beirut Arab University, said that participating in a conference of this esteem and caliber was a great jump-start for her career, especially as an aspiring independent researcher. Her project, entitled “Production of pigments by bacteria,” focuses on natural, rather than artificial means of pigment production.
“What we aim to achieve as researchers goes beyond the classroom,” said Chatila. “Some of the greatest scientific discoveries took place in laboratories, but science doesn’t belong in a laboratory — it should be applied in the outside world, as well.”