I secured a place in a biography of a prominent scientist or: The longest birthday party I ever attended

The story starts at the late 1980’s, at which time I did my M.Sc. work under Prof. Jacob Klein.  It was a strike of luck for me, as I did not set out to look for a top notch advisor, but ended up having such an advisor.

Twenty years later, as one of his former M.Sc. students, I was invited to a workshop, which was dedicated to his 60th birthday, and which was held between 21-23 June this year.  I was happy to attend it, soak some science, and meet old acquaintances.

The workshop was relatively small and intimate.  There were few tens of participants, and several of them also lectured and presented posters.  Most of them were students, collaborators or colleagues of Prof. Klein.  At the workshop’s end, people remarked about the high quality of research described in the lectures.  Scientists were also not afraid to venture forth from their zones of comfort and discuss also subjects about which they did not have all the answers.  So one could notice that some post-lecture questions were answered by “I do not know”.

Rachel Yerushalmi-Rozen, one of the workshop organizers, arranged for me full coverage of notetakers so that I could follow all lectures.  They did good enough work so that I was not bored, even though fundamental cognitive and motor limits of humans prevented them from writing down everything that was being said during the lectures.  The notetakers had to be proficient with the terminology used in the lectures, so they were students of the workshop’s organizers.

The first part of the workshop was held in Schmidt Auditorium in Weizmann Institute of Science, and when it ended, a group photo of the participants was taken.  Such group photos often end up in biographies of scientists, who participated in them.  The caliber of the workshop’s participants was such that several of them are current or future prominent scientists.

In one of the evenings we were treated to a dinner and a rare night visit in the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo (see also in the Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem_Biblical_Zoo).  After the night tour, still in the zoo, Prof. Klein blew out candles on his birthday cake and we were treated to a presentation of photos of highlights of his life, so that the 3-day workshop would qualify also as a birthday party.

Author: Omer Zak

I am deaf since birth. I played with big computers which eat punched cards and spew out printouts since age 12. Ever since they became available, I work and play with desktop size computers which eat keyboard keypresses and spew out display pixels. Among other things, I developed software which helped the deaf in Israel use the telephone network, by means of home computers equipped with modems. Several years later, I developed Hebrew localizations for some cellular phones, which helped the deaf in Israel utilize the cellular phone networks. I am interested in entrepreneurship, Science Fiction and making the world more accessible to people with disabilities.

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