Monday, February 22, 2010

Hurray for Iranian Scientists

I just read an article from New Scientist indicating that Iran has the fastest growth in science in the world. This  great achievement is the result of decades of human and financial investment in academic and research institutions in both private and government forms.  Iranian scientists and students have witnessed an exceptional growth in local academic centers in remote and underdeveloped areas of the country. In addition free academic education for a large number of students and the booming expansion of the Azad University have led to numerous new opportunities for study and research in Iran. Iranian scientists have taken the opportunities and the enthusiasm of the young generation for granted.

However, students and academics have also faced difficult pressures during the recent years and particularly after the contested elections in June last year. Suspension and detention of students and professors at the nationwide level and pressures on Islamic Student Associations that critisize the government are policies consistently  pusued by the current government ,unfortunately.  A recent global report by UNESCO , concerning attack on education included a three page report on the pressures and intimidations that students and academics in Iran are currently facing.
In such circumstances the New Scientist news report indicates that the potentials of the academic society in Iran are unlimited and irregardless of the pressures and censorship they are intent on moving ahead for the pursuit of science and for the betterment of their society and the global community. I will post some parts of this article for your information.

Iran showing fastest scientific growth of any country

12:52 18 February 2010 by Debora MacKenzie

For similar stories, visit the US national issues Topic Guide

It might be the Chinese year of the tiger, but scientifically, 2010 is looking like Iran's year.

Scientific output has grown 11 times faster in Iran than the world average, faster than any other country. A survey of the number of scientific publications listed in the Web of Science database shows that growth in the Middle East – mostly in Turkey and Iran – is nearly four times faster than the world average.

Science-Metrix, a data-analysis company in Montreal, Canada, has published a detailed report (PDF) on "geopolitical shifts in knowledge creation" since 1980. "Asia is catching up even more rapidly than previously thought, Europe is holding its position more than most would expect, and the Middle East is a region to watch," says the report's author, Eric Archambault.

World scientific output grew steadily, from 450,000 papers a year in 1980 to 1,500,000 in 2009. Asia as a whole surpassed North America last year.

Nuclear, nuclear, nuclear

Archambaut notes that Iran's publications have emphasised inorganic and nuclear chemistry, nuclear and particle physics and nuclear engineering. Publications in nuclear engineering grew 250 times faster than the world average – although medical and agricultural research also increased.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

22 of Bahman and The Legacy of Mohammad (SA)

We have the Ten Days of Fajr behind us. The ceremonies were very different this year. Pressures on students, journalists and supporters of the Green movement have not diminuished. Even though Green leaders have repeatedly emphasised on the independent nature of this movement and have denied allegations concerning foreign links, a systematic propaganda campaign continues to brand reformists as Western agents. Reformists in return, have used the very few media they control, to indicate that   there are still opportunities for reform and change . In their messages they have stressed that the mistakes of the past have to be corrected as a prerequisite for calm and stability to return to the Iranian society. Following the line of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, many political figures and groups have called for the freedom of  political prisoners as the first step in this regard. Large numbers have turned out for the 22 Bahman demonstrations many reformists among them, security presence was also exceptionally high.

Muslims throughout the world  commemorate the anniversary of the demise of the Prophet Mohammad (SA) today.  The Prophet of Islam is known for an ethical and humane demeanor during his lifetime. Inspite of the vicious opposition and animosity of the ignorant Jahilia of his time, Mohammad (SA) displayed a unprecedented behavior of wisdom, tolerance and understanding while he also taught humankind to uphold their dignity, to defend their rights and to submit to no other than the Almighty Creator. The Prophet's life is marked with examples of his graciousness and love, to the extent that the holy Quran  addresses him  " He is strong against the deniers of the Truth, and compassionate among the people." There is no question that the Religion that the Prophet brought has both the elements of  strength, courage and  cavalry ,as well as mercy, compassion and tolerance.  There is a deliberate effort nowadays, in the world and in Iran, to project Islam as a religion of violence, strict edicts, radicalism and intolerance. This effort, I believe, has been orchestrated by radical opportunists who see their power and control in promoting such a perverse interpretation of a Religion that serves the purpose of guiding all humanity until the end of times.

When the Prophet realized that his time had come, he invited the people of  Medina to come and listen to his final words.  Among his sermon he stressed :     "

All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.
Remember, one day you will appear before ALLAH and answer your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.
O People, NO PROPHET OR APOSTLE WILL COME AFTER ME AND NO NEW FAITH WILL BE BORN. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the QURAN and my examples (those appointed companions) and if you follow these you will never go astray."

The religion Prophet Mohammad brought 14 centuries ago has now millions of followers, is the fastest growing religion on earth and yet it is the most misunderstood religion as well. Considering the high ethical standards of  Islam, Muslims still have a long way ahead and face a major challenge in realizing those standards and values in themselves and in their societies (the Islamic Republic of Iran not being an exception of course).