Brains for oil

Qatar’s emir is investing in the future by creating Education City, writes S. Rob Sobhani in National Review.

The tenants of Education City, a 24,000-acre multi-institutional campus, are leading American institutions and think tanks. For example, the Rand-Qatar Policy Institute will help build a base for independent policy analysis with local scholars. Furthermore, Rand has been putting together a plan to revamp primary and secondary education in Qatar. Unlike the Saudi model, tolerance of other cultures and ideas is the cornerstone of this new education system.

Cornell Medical School and Texas A&M University are offering degree programs.

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Comments

  1. PJ/Maryland says:

    I wish the Qataris all the best, but I have to wonder if their society is willing to adopt some Western ideals (like a free press) that are (I think) essential to becoming a progressive society.

    Also, I hear a lot about how creative the Arab world was 1000 years ago, but I have trouble thinking of what they created. Lots of poetry and 1001 Nights, but beyond that? “Algebra” is obviously an Arabic word, but my impression is that the Arabs learned algebra from India, and then the Europeans learned it from the Arabs.

    Monotheism (in both Judaic and Christian forms) comes from the Middle East, but they’re not especially Arab, and they certainly don’t relate to a Golden Age 1000 years ago.

  2. Caffeinated Curmudgeon says:

    PJ/Maryland wrote: “‘Algebra’ is obviously an Arabic word, but my impression is that the Arabs learned algebra from India, and then the Europeans learned it from the Arabs.”

    According to Donald Knuth in his “Art of Computer Programming”, the word “algebra” derives from a book by 9th C. Persian author Abu Ja’far Mohammed ibn Musa al-Khowarism, author of “Kitab al jabr w’al-muqabala” (“Rules of restoration and reduction”), which book really wasn’t about algebra.

    The term “algorithm” (originally “algorism” in English) derives from his name, al-Khowarizmi.

  3. PJ/Maryland says:

    The Arabs were responsible for preserving the work of the Greeks, which they translated, commented upon, and augmented. In Baghdad, Al-Khowarizmi (9th cent.) wrote an important work on algebra and introduced the Hindu numerals for the first time to the West, and Al-Battani worked on trigonometry. In Egypt, Ibn al-Haytham was concerned with the solids of revolution and geometrical optics. The Persian poet Omar Khayyam wrote on algebra.

    This is from the Mathematics article on Encyclopedia.com . Since Al-Khowarizmi apparently studied in India, I don’t think his work is a definite indication of Arab creativity. Surely a Golden Age should have lots of examples?

  4. Caffeinated Curmudgeon says:

    PJ/Maryland wrote: “Since Al-Khowarizmi apparently studied in India, I don’t think his work is a definite indication of Arab creativity.”

    Since Al-Khowarizmi was a Persian, not an Arab, I agree that his work is not “a definite indication of Arab creativity”. However, this has nothing to do with whether his work was an example of creativity, or not.