Over the last week a few labmates and I went to Eilat, a resort / port town on the Red Sea, for the 6th conference of Ilanit, or the Federation of the Israel Societies for Experimental Biology (FISEB), established by in the 90s by a few Israeli academics, including my advisor, Dr. Yosef Yarden. The conference (1) occurs every three years and was held over four days at three five-star hotels on the coast. It included talks from all areas of Biology, including a session on Bioterrorism (only an Israeli conference would have this), that was fully packed (only at an Israeli conference would this be the case), that may or may not have been given by the Mossad. I presented a poster (3) during a night session (2) and during this, I made friends with a grad student from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (3 – his phantom hand in this picture). As we watched our neighbor, who continuously left his poster to bring random people over to present to (we called this cheating), a man came over to my poster, looked me in the eyes, and pointed at a name on the author list. I politely explained that my name was not “Cohen” and pointed at my name. He said, “I know that is not your name, that is my wife!” What a small, awkward world.

The rest of the conference was very comprehensive – there were keynotes from Eric Lander and Ada Yonath, and you really get a good idea of how strong Israel’s scientific community is, despite its size. But the “real” reason we were in Eilat was for the beach and sun. An Israeli in my lab boasted that it never rains in Eilat. It does. When our bus pulled into Eilat the first thing we saw were massive hotels dominating the ocean front (see next blog entry) and a little sprinkling of rain (luckily this went away quickly). Most of the city is large hotels and coves and reefs for diving. The Red Sea is amazing for underwater sightseeing, and although Eilat occupies a tiny tiny portion of its shore, it sees a huge amount of tourists. Our hotel faced the Red Sea on the Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba (13, 14) and on the other side a small inlet called “Peace Lagoon” (4-6), which has a small island in the center. A night stroll along the seaside promenade (8, 9) reveals a small harbor (12), the night lights (10), colorfully lit beach bars (11) and a random “privilege” world sculpture (15) – I seriously have no idea why that is there.  Eilat has little historical significance compared to Jerusalem and other parts of Israel, except that Moses parted the Red Sea somewhere around it, but it makes up for it with it’s amazing…

Federation of all the Israel Societies for Experimental Biology (FISEB)

~ by jonathanmtsai on February 14, 2011.

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