I know it’s been a looong time since I have posted in this blog of mine, and since I had so many people asking about my KAUST trip, I decided to dust off my blog and write a post instead of repeating the whole thing a zillion times. I warn you.. this is gonna be one LONG post with LOTS of pictures of course. 😉
So I was invited to spend one week at KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology) from Jan 20th until the 27th to present my research poster which was accepted along with 50 others who were selected from more than 300 world-wide submitters in the “International Research Poster Competition For Undergraduates” as part of the university’s Winter Enrichment Program . My friends Areej and Shahad were accepted as well. We arrived there on Friday 20th and shared a huge villa on the beach, just the three of us. 😀
Our beautiful beach villa
My spacious room
The living room
The WEP committee has arranged special activities for us -the posters competition group consisting of 40 students from different countries-. And we were given a schedule of the WEP for us to choose whatever course/ lecture/ workshop/ lesson we wanted to attend from the program in our free time. (The schedule of the WEP is found here http://wep.acadox.com/). Saturday morning we had a lovely breakfast with the faculty members and we were introduced to each other.
The formal breakfast
We then had our lunch at the dining hall after attending a symposium in the campus auditorium. Their restaurant has various kinds of food, from Asian to Indian, Italian, Middle Eastern food. You could simply find anything you want in there [except for the sushi, or I would’ve declared it the PERFECT restaurant].
Making fresh pasta
The dining hall
The most fun part of the day was the two hours sunset cruise. We had a great time getting to know each other while enjoying the sights of the sea, university and the beacon. 😀
The university buildings and the beacon
The poster competition was on Sunday. So we woke up early and went to the library to hang our posters and get ready till the competition started at 4:30 AM. It was so cool to see everyone dressed up in suits and formal clothes for the competition :D. My research was one of 4 other medical researches among the 40 posters competing. And since the visitors were all either engineers or bioscientists, no one really knew much about what I was talking [which put me in my falsafa mode :p]. Al7amdulillah it went so smoothly and the judges asked casually about our researches.
The posters session at the library
My poster 😀
Oh I must show you how their library looks like. It’s like nothing else i’ve seen in my whole life! The building has won 2 architecture awards and GOD it certainly deserved them! :’)
I don't mind studying 24/ 7 if that's where I'll be doing that :')
We were taken for a group tour to King Abdullah Grand Mosque which was beautifully built that made all the foreign students go crazy shooting pictures of every corner (They even took pictures inside the bathrooms :p). Then we went to the museum. Everything there was interactive and so cool we spent so much time there (divided on two days).
Heading to the grand mosque
The view from the mosque
Museum of Science and Technology in Islam
Al-Jazri's famous elephant clock
One of Al-Jazri's awesome mechanical inventions
On Monday 23rd of Jan, we celebrated the Chinese Lunar New Year at the student center where there was an outdoors Chinese musical performance including violin, viola and piano playing. And at the end of the event, there was a launching of a Chinese Lantern and a Dragon Kite at the Harbor Walk. I was expecting lanternS and kiteS like the website said. But turned out there was only one of each lol. It was fun anyway 😀
The Lunar New Year Celebration at The Student Center
Musical performance by some Chinese students
Ahmed trying to fly the dragon kite :p
The next day we went for a VizLab (Visualization Lab) and Corelabs Tour. The VizLab had six-sided virtual reality facility that turns data into 3D structures that students and researchers can interact with and examine as part of their work, with an advanced spatial/surround sound audio system that adapts to match visual images and it was the only known research center of this type in the world!
Computer sciences students also took a special tour to see the supercomputer “SHAHEEN“, which is one of the world’s fastest in an academic environment. Developed with IBM and capable of 222 teraflops, or 222 trillion floating point operations per second O_O
It was the day I realized how much money this university was draining :p Oh god billions and billions. Being financed by the king himself is a great advantage. I honestly felt sorry for the other Saudi universities including my KAU. I mean.. it’s not that the country can’t provide such level of high standards because it CAN. And it can also turn deserts into such a paradise (or shall I say disneyland?). There came a moment when I wished King Abdulaziz was alive to finance KAU by himself.. *sigh*
High definition monitors with the world’s highest resolution (100 million pixels) displaying 6GB image than can be zoomed in to see license plates and mountain climbers!
"The Cave" a set of computers/ monitors/ sensors. Wearing a special hat with a 3D glasses adjusts the 3D scenes to your eyes and lets you walk around a realistic 3D scene.
NMR lab: (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) it has a powerful magnet with field strength of 27 Tesla which is 1 million times the earth's magnetic field! *Much greater than that of an MRI system (1-5 Tesla). It is used to detect magnetically active nuclei (not radioactive)
Water Desalination and Reuse Center
They feed the plants water of different cleanness and monitor their growing
Water Desalination lab
After we were done from the labs tour I felt a significant decrease in my IQ thanks to all the nerds and geeks we met during the day >.<. Anyway, we attended a lecture given by the CEO of AlBaik: Mr. Rami Abu Ghazalah titled “Recipe for Success”. His story was very inspirational and then he received questions from the students regarding his business. The funny part was when a row of students raised signs with “Open AlBaik in KAUST الله يخليك” written on it and the whole audience laughed and applauded in approval 😀 But unfortunately he apologized for not being able to do so because of some reasons regarding the low profits of a KAUST branch.
Recipe for Success by Rami Abu Ghazalah
On Wednesday afternoon, there was a Nanosatellite launching in front of the library. 40 students from the WEP designed and built it and they were launching it with a stratospheric weather balloon that will ascend to 30 Km and survey much of the region around Thuwal. 7amaaaas! 😀
Getting ready in front of the library
At night, there was this sort of a goodbye dinner with the faculty at the Yacht Club. We chatted once more with different doctors and had our dinner in the beautiful weather. Took group pictures and just enjoyed our time together. :’)
THE WEP POSTERS FAMILY ❤
I hope you enjoyed my long boring post :p
Oh and for more pictures, check out my Flickr