Summit Of Geniuses: 2012 Asian Science Camp (ASC) Brings 250 Young Scientists From Asia And The Pacific To Israel

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New Asian Science CampJerusalem, August 29, 2012 - 250 young scientists in over 20 delegations from Asia, Australia and Oceania arrived at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem this week for the annual conference of the Asian Science Camp, considered the world’s most important encounter for promoting young scientists from Asia and the Pacific. From August 26-30, the male and female students, aged 17-21, are engaging in plenary sessions, round-table discussions and dialogues with 5 Nobel Prize laureates and 25 leading scientists in the spheres of physics, chemistry, the life sciences and mathematics. The students are accompanied by 34 senior scientists serving as heads of delegations.

Previous Asian Science Camps were held in Taiwan, Bali, Japan, India and Korea. Now in its sixth year, the Science Camp is the initiative of a number of Nobel laureates in the sciences from eastern Asia who wanted to create a platform for finding and promoting the future generation of scientists from Asia, and to create a link between them that transcends borders and nationalities through the universal language of basic science.

Organized by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and ORT, this year’s gathering the guests a unique and diverse Israeli experience, from its history and culture to its youthful dynamism, including travels in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The Israeli camp was funded jointly by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The largest delegations are from Israel (35 participants), China (34), India (33), Japan (24), and Korea (20). The Israeli delegation, representing the next generation of scientific leaders in Israel, comprises 35 young Jews and Arabs from across the country. Chosen according to strict criteria of excellence in science, the participants were selected by ORT Israel, the Hebrew University, and Israel Sci-Tech, with the cooperation of the Ministry of Education and several Israeli institutions of higher education. Israel Sci-Tech, a leading science and technology network of high schools and colleges, organizes annual Israeli participation in the Asian Science Camps.

Five Nobel Prize laureates in the sciences from Israel and abroad are participating: 

  • Taiwan's Prof. Lee Yuan-Ti, the Nobel laureate for Chemistry and one of the founders of the ASC
  • Japan's Prof. Makoto Kobayashi, the Nobel laureate for Physics and the Chairman of the ASC's Advisory Committee
  • Israeli Nobel laureate Professor Yisrael Aumann, from the Hebrew University (game theory)
  • Israeli Nobel laureate Prof. Aharon Chechanover, from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (medical-chemistry)
  • American Nobel laureate for biology, Prof. Roger Kornberg.

The participants will also be instructed by 30 Israeli scientists who are among the most senior leaders in their fields in the world, among them laureates of the Wolf Prize and other prestigious awards.

Bringing the ASC to Israel was a key objective of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the year 2012. The project is part of ''Asia's Year in Israel,'' in which Israel is commemorating anniversaries of the establishment of diplomatic relations with some of the largest and most important countries on the continent (The People's Republic of China – 20 years; India – 20 years; The Republic of Korea – 40 years; Japan – 60 years).

Hebrew University President Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson said the Hebrew University is proud to play a central role in this important national project and pleased to cooperate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. ''Hosting the Asian Science Camp constitutes a wonderful opportunity to enhance Israel's positive image in the fields of academia and science, as well as creating ties between young people who are destined to lead scientific research in their countries and to link them with Israeli academia. The Hebrew University views the conference as an excellent opportunity to increase its exposure to Asia in order to draw many students and researchers to Israel, and to encourage cooperation in research with the leading institutions in those countries. I am sure that the Israeli spirit of creativity, curiosity and questioning that is so evident at the Hebrew University will affect our bright guests from Asia, and that they will gain from their studies with us at the University.''

The Science Camp opened on August 26 in the presence of Israel’s Minister of Science and Technology, Daniel Hershkowitz. The official opening, in the presence of Israeli President Shimon Peres, integrated technological elements that express the Israeli spirit of innovation and creative thinking.

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