By Avigayil Kadesh
“We are Ariel Berko and Yoav Levi from Rogozin High School in Kiryat Ata, Israel. In our experiment, that was chosen to be in the big final of the SpaceLab competition, we want to examine the effect of gravity on the mating process of baker’s yeast, which multiplies via sexual reproduction. We think that the yeast will not do sexual reproduction in space because in this process there are many changes in the cells of the yeast and we think that they are affected by gravity.”
That’s how two Israeli 10th-graders described their proposal for YouTube Space Lab, a worldwide competition that challenges 14- to 18-year-olds to design a science experiment that can be done in outer space. The concept was born at a marketing brainstorming session at Google, YouTube’s parent company, and is co-sponsored by Lenovo.
Based on popular votes received by thousands of applicants, the Israeli boys’ yeast experiment made it to the finals. Now the finalists’ ideas are being scrutinized by an international panel of judges including NASA officials, former astronauts Leland Melvin, Frank De Winne and Akihiko Hoshide, and Cirque du Soleil’s founder, Guy Laliberté.
Six regional winners to be announced February 21 will go to Washington, DC, in March to experience a Zero-G flight and receive other prizes including a Lenovo ThinkPad. Two global winners from this group, representing ages 14-16 and ages 17-18, will have their experiments performed 250 miles above Earth in the International Space Station (ISS), live-streamed on YouTube.
The global winners will get a trip to Tanegashima Island, Japan, to watch their experiment blast off in a rocket bound for the ISS. Alternatively, winners may wait until they turn 18 to train with cosmonauts in Star City, Russia.
Yeast and humans
Fifteen-year-old Yoav explains that he and Ariel (16) heard about the competition through the program for gifted young scientists that they attend for two days, three times a year, at the Davidson Institute of Science Education at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot. “They asked us if we wanted to take part, and we did,” says Ariel.
Their first idea was to see the effect of gravity on human reproductive cells, but that would have necessitated a microscope, which is against the rules of the competition. “So we searched for something in the same model but bigger,” says Yoav. “The Davidson Institute offered us to try it with yeast, and one of the PhD students there helped us plan the experiment.”
Ariel describes yeast as “a very interesting creature from which we can study about humans. We are more developed creatures, but with a lot in common.”
Yeast exists in two varieties: one reproduces asexually and the other sexually, through a complex mating process called “shmooing.” If yeast can reproduce in zero gravity, perhaps humans also could – and vice versa.
Their biology teacher at Rogozin also helped them ready their project, and they described the proposed experiment to all 1,500 students in their school. Kiryat Ata Mayor Yaakov Peretz encouraged everyone in town to get onto the website and vote for the local boys.
If they win, it will be Ariel’s first trip to America. Yoav was there in 2010 as part of a World ORT youth ambassadors program to Atlanta. “They wanted to let us get to know each other,” he explains. “When I came there [kids my age] still thought there are camels in Israel.”
CBS entertainment and gossip show ‘The Insider’ revealed last night Whitney Houston’s secret plan to return to Israel. The plans were made only a few days before her death, and meant for after the Grammys. Whitney wanted to be baptized again for spiritual protection in the river Jordan by the African Israelites/Black Hebrew of Jerusalem, as she had in 2003 with her then-husband Bobby Brown.
“We planned to go to Israel together,” tells a her goddaughter Brandi Burnside, “she said to me ‘we need to get into the holy waters, so that nothing can harm us.’”
BALTIMORE — From Friday, Feb. 10 through Sunday, March 18, MICA will display Bezalel on Tour, an exhibition showcasing some of the best contemporary creations by more than two dozen Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design Jerusalem alumni who graduated in the past five years. MICA is the first U.S. venue for this touring exhibition, which introduces to the world some of Israel’s emerging artists while providing a fresh and creative outlook on the country’s society. The exhibition-which celebrates the 105th anniversary of Israel’s oldest institute of higher education and a leading international academy of art, design and architecture-will take place in Brown Center’s Leidy Atrium and Rosenberg and Falvey Hall galleries (1301 W. Mount Royal Ave.). A reception will be held on Thursday, March 1, 5-7 p.m., followed by a screening of student animation films from 7-9 p.m.
This exhibition builds upon many years of MICA’s cultural partnership with Bezalel, stemming from semester abroad exchanges. Both institutions act as key players in the global artistic discourse and can celebrate their many graduates forging important crossroads throughout the international art world.
“Bezalel Academy of Art and Design is an international destination for the highest caliber of art students from all over. Since MICA has such a close partnership with the Academy, it is appropriate that our students experience what their peers are doing on the other side of the globe,” MICA Director of Exhibitions Gerald Ross said. “I think visitors will be surprised by what they discover because this is an exhibition void of what we in the United States might think of when we first think of the ‘charged political atmosphere’ in the Middle East.” Ross traveled to Israel this past summer to meet administration, students and faculty from Bezalel, as well as experience firsthand the incredible work and facilities at the school.
Curated by the head of the Ceramics and Glass Design Department, Muli Ben Sasson, the exhibition includes diverse works from the Academy departments: fine arts, architecture, photography, ceramics and glass design, industrial design, jewelry and fashion design, visual communications and screen based arts, as well as works from its graduate programs: Master of Urban Design, Master in Policy and Theory of the Arts, Master of Design and Master in Fine Arts.
· Film Screening: Waltz with Bashir
Thursday, Feb. 16, 7-10 p.m.; Brown Center: Falvey Hall, 1301 W. Mount Royal Ave.; Free
Winner of six Ophir Israeli Academy Awards and nominated for the 2009 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, Waltz with Bashir is an animated documentary film that tells the story of Israeli film director Ari Folman’s attempt to solve a riddle from his past. Unable to remember a large part of his life, he concludes there must be a connection to the first Lebanon War of the early 1980s. Intrigued, he decides to interview old friends and comrades around the world to discover the truth about that time and about himself. The screening will be hosted by David Sterritt, director of the National Society of Film Critics and a MICA faculty member.
· Reception and Screening of Student Animation Films
Thursday, March 1, 5-9 p.m.; Brown Center: Falvey Hall, 1301 W. Mount Royal Ave.; Free
Celebrate the display of Bezalel on Tour from 5-7 p.m. and then stay for a screening of 12 Bezalel student short animation films from 7-9 p.m.
More than 100 years after it was founded by Lithuanian Jewish artist and sculptor Boris Schatz, the Academy continues to deliver its message of contemporary Israeli art as innovative and groundbreaking, fueled by local materials and creating a powerful international presence.
This exhibition is intended to be displayed in academies and galleries around the world. Previously, the Academy has exhibited in Orangerie du Sénat, Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, Universität der Künste Berlin and Sotheby’s in London.
A showing of this exhibition is being planned for the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Cleveland in fall 2012.
Hours for MICA’s galleries, which are free and open to the public, are Mondays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sundays, noon-5 p.m. They are closed on major holidays.
Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 48 states and 54 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. Redefining art and design education, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists