We started off the first day of our adventure in Haifa at the early hour of 8AM, with a traditional Israeli breakfast of bread, cucumbers, tomatoes and all the liquid cheese we could want. After we ate, we headed to the Technion. Our first stop was the Technion’s ecological gardens, where we received a tour by a botanist and were shown some of Israel’s endangered plant life. The garden had a truly relaxing ambience, one we could really benefit from at MIT.
The next stop on our agenda was Technion visitor center where we watched a video featuring Albert Einstein detailing much of the current research at the Technion. We then began our visit of the Technion labs, where several Technion students joined us. The first lab we visited worked on applications of porous silicon, ranging from drug delivery to indicating the presence of certain molecules. The next series of labs were all in the Physics department. The first had something to do with plasma, though none of us were able to derive much beyond that. The next two were really interesting. The first had to do with super cooling atoms and studying the effects this has on sound waves. The research is supposed help guide the question of whether or not black holes could emit some form of electromagnetic radiation by testing the analogy with sound waves. The last physics lab dealt with powerful lasers that were able to ionize the air turning it into plasma.
We ate lunch at a small restaurant on the Technion campus where we learned the word “Shnatz” (Israeli slang for being tired in the afternoon) from our Technion peers. Upon our visit to the next and final lab, the shnatz was really starting to kick in. The lab researches the possibility of growing organ tissue that can be used for transplants.
Next we cabbed to the Haifa University, one of the highest points in Haifa. We took the elevator up to the top floor of a 29.5 floor building were we could see a view of almost all of Haifa. We could even see into Lebanon. For the next hour or so we napped and relaxed on a turf field in the middle of Haifa University.
Our next stop was dinner where our choice of food divided us into three groups: falafel, burekas or falafel and burekas. Our final stop of the day was at a local pub that every Wednesday night hosts a language swap, where they pair you with someone who wants to learn the language that you are offering to teach. Some of us felt a little discrimination since not too many people wanted to learn English. After a long and interesting, but exhausting, day we cabbed back to our hostel, where some of us crashed and some of us wrote blog posts.
– Stevie Fine ’15
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