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celebrating science in palestine

>crossposted from tumblr so sorry if formatting is a little odd =_=;;

in the face of israels’ targetting of scholars, scientists and intellectuals…

saw a tumblr post by @/anarchistfrogposting that got me heavythinking about the relevance of language and culture in chemistry and science, it’s unfortunate english has been accepted as its’ lingua franca and most other input is lost to the globalization of this change. formulae and structure are essential and in a subject so specific, the average chemist will need to memorize hundreds of chemistry-specific words, and it becomes a barrier past entry when direct translating gets murky. deconstructing the history of science will always lead to political waters as the politicization of science and populist anti-intellectualism ethos rooted itself since the beginning of the study and these implicit biases result in a lack of consensus amongst borders.

before wwi the geographical spread of language in science was much more diverse, a lot of french and german researchers were common in research publishing, but after the allies established new scientific institutions that excluded germans and the isolationist decades that followed suit, foreign-language education was reductionist and excised globally as a result of elitism, being a language considered spoken only ‘by the educated’. english-language proficiency is undeniably a prerequisite when an inexaggerated count of 99% of natural science papers are published in english, starting since 2015. this is a /heavily/ debated and discoursed topic and is terribly intimidating to sink your teeth into because of globalization of english and the complexity of modern language but getting over this hurdle will blossom a culturally rich rabbit hole to go down and it is all super interesting. there is so much great palestinian scientific practices, not as in western scientists work imagined in palestinian hands, but palestinian-born theories and practices. i think it’s really integral, to always, but especially during times like these to uplift the people of palestine and their beauty just as much as funnel hatred toward their oppressors and murderers.


[image ID: a lineup of various glass pots and vases, ranging in color and size, placed in front of a plain background. end]

this is a specific sort of glass called 'hebron glass’ which is an extremely renowned palestinian practice and passed down traditionally through multiple families and businesses. dating back as far as the 100~s in BCE, their technique of glassblowing was far ahead of their time and not used commonly anywhere else until much further in BCE. the /exact/ practice of hebron glass is kept a family secret amongst palestinian businesses, but a metal tool called 'kammasha’ is used to blow the glass. a palestinian artisan talks about the process in more length here, i would recommend doing extended reading directly from palestine:

article here

the colors are so vibrant and beautiful, i am endlessly impressed by how elegant these pieces have been made since the middle ages. these pieces and techniques have inspired a lot of famous modern day forms of glassblowing and glass artistry, most notably the venetian glass of venice.

i include this under science as much as it is art because it often goes unseen how much temperature and calculation goes into this craft. its highly skilled and intense work to bend over the hot flames and handle the glass in such a vulnerable state that could easily shatter. the material is more than 1800F and the palestinian kammasha is very carefully timed.


[image ID: an online video call meeting titled 'School on Synchrotron Light Sources and their Applications’ at the top. end]

what you’re looking at right now is the SESAME initiative run by the international centre for theoretical physics. a famous alumnus of this school was sufyan tayeh, a palestinian scientist. he was a prominent researcher and mentor and advocate for international understanding through science, introducing: SESAME, an alternative vision for the future of peaceful coexistence and cooperation and offered a meeting point around the globe to speak the common language of science, making communication possible. sufyan tayeh was an inspiration and bridge builder for all of these young students and an entry point for future scientists. he was a winner of multiple awards for his contributions to science and was appointed chair man for UNESCO (united nations educational, scientific and cultural organization) and head of physical, astrophysical and space sciences in palestine. he was regarded as a leading researched in science and applied mathematics globally, and tragically was killed in the current genocide. this is one case of many, many palestinian researchers. the impact of their contributions are insurmountable and irreplaceable.


[image ID: a list documenting the 45 palestinian scholars killed by israel since october 7th: Sufian Tayeh, Mohammad Eid Shubair, Omar Ferwana, Taysir Ibrahim, Ibrahim Hamed, Naeim Baroud, Azou Afana, Mohammad Bakhit, Mahmoud Abu Daf, Salem Abu Mukhda, Mohammad Abu Asaad, Osama Al-Muzayni, Refaat Al-Areer, Wael Al-Zard, Ismail Abu Saada, Khaled Al-Ramlawi, Mohammad Al-Najjar, Saeed Al-Dahshan, Raed Qudura, Mohammad Abu Zour, Yousseff Jameh Salameh, Nidaa Afana, Moumen Shweidah, Saeed Al-Zabdeh, Saqid Nasaar, Ahmed Abu Saada, Mohammad Jameel Al-Zaaneen, Ismail Al-Ghamari, Razq Ali Arouq, Walid Al-Amoudi, Abdullah Al-Amoudi, Hassan Al-Radi, Mohammand Abu Amara, Mohammad Al-Louh, Khaled Al-Najjar, Sharif Al-Asli, Mohammad Hassouneh, Yassar Hdeib Ridwan, Jihad Al-Baz, Hazem Al-Jamali, Nasser Al-Yafaoui, and Jihad Al-Masri. end]


the fabric gauze was also invented in palestine. if you’ve ever stepped foot in a labratory, you will know what this is lol. used in surgery and in chemical labs for multiple functions: separating liquids and gases, strain acids from bases, filter substances at extreme temperatures, prevent contamination, and to treat water. it is also used to diffuse heat and help protect glassware, seriously, these guys influence in glassware was HUGE. i think glass would still be sand without palestinian input.

i’ve set this post just up as a basis summary of the sciences, i would love to give an add-on going more indepth into the scientific process of some examples i gave and also in the history of palestinian scholars listed above.. when i get the time! but i hope this was an apt introduction! may good things come in 2024. feel free to recommend things i should check out or correct. OH OH also there is a lot of palestinian sci-fi.. 'divine intervention’ and 'the second war of the dog’ are both good, iirc they won the international prize for arabic fiction. just random things i found while looking up things for this post haha but they’re good

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xalli's profile picture

this is all so fucking wild to learn about oh my god !!! ty for sharing...

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