Egyptians rally to defend cultural heritage

Cross posted from Nature News As petrol bombs fly near the Egyptian Museum, citizens and army mobilize against looters. Declan Butler “I’m a little shaken. They are throwing Molotov cocktails towards the museum.” Sarah Parcak, an archaeologist at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, who has spent the past 12 years working in Egypt, was speaking yesterday as the Al Jazeera TV news network showed live footage of running street battles around the Egyptian Museum at Tahrir Square in Cairo. “We are all nervous and scared, first and foremost for the people, but now the museum, a symbol of Egypt’s vast  … Read more

Synchrotron project weathers Middle-East storm

Cross posted from <a href= “http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110203/full/news.2011.70.html”>Nature News SESAME experiment pushes on despite revolutions and assassinations. Geoff Brumfiel When members of international scientific projects meet, it’s typically a mild affair. But at the Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) there is a sense that the stakes are considerably higher. At a gathering last year, project members held a minute of silence in remembrance of Masoud Alimohammadi, the Iranian physicist and fellow participant who was killed by a car bomb in Tehran. In November, a second member of the Iranian delegation was assassinated. As pro- and anti-government  … Read more

‘Deep fury’ of Egyptian scientists

Cross posted from Nature News Michael Harms, director of the Cairo office of the German Academic Exchange Service, offers a view from the Egyptian capital. Quirin Schiermeier As the protests against President Hosni Mubarak gather pace across Egypt, the growing possibility of regime change is inspiring hope among many sectors of the population. The swelling number of protestors has seen academics add their voices to the call for change (see ‘Scientists join protests on streets of Cairo to call for political reform’). But the volatile situation in the country inevitably means uncertainty for the scientific enterprise, and a stronger future  … Read more