Second annual Science Festival welcomes Sir Magdy Yacoub

Sunday, May 8th, 2011
Magdy Yacoub

Sir Magdy Yacoub believes that science can salvage Egypt and push the country forward

“Science gives us dignity,” said Sir Magdy Yacoub during his inaugural speech at the 2nd Annual Cairo Science and Engineering festival.

This is certainly true for Yacoub, a renowned Egyptian cardiologist who rose to prominence for his breakthroughs in heart transplant surgery, and the recipient of various international awards in recognition of his work.

The three-week long festival aims to promote knowledge and culture and encourage Egyptian scientists, innovators and scholars in post-revolution Egypt.

“It is my belief that science is the savior of Egypt,” Yacoub re-iterated at Bassily Hall last Monday, relating Egypt’s sense of dignity to its scientific accomplishments.

“We must realize that science is the only way to benefit humanity […]It gives us the quality of life and enhances prosperity and wealth. Healthy people can be a lot more productive.”

The festival coordinators target students who are interested in science and research, but would not necessarily pursue a career in them.

Substituting formal education for a healthy appetite for knowledge is one of the festival’s main goals.

“Only five percent of your life is spent in formal education. We want this to fill in the other 95 percent,” said Alaa Ibrahim, the coordinator of the Cairo Science Festival.“The big picture is really informed citizens leading a better society. And that is really what we need in this new Egypt to become a better community.”

The festival, which ran till May 6, also involved lectures and dialogues through video conference with Nobel Laureates and Luminaries. These include Prof. Peter Diamond, receipient of the 2010 Nobel prize in economic sciences, Linda Griffith, professor of biological and mechanical engineering at MIT, Walter Gilbert, recipient of the 1980 Nobel prize in chemistry, and Leon Cooper, recipient of the 1972 Nobel prize in physics.