MadaTech spreads scientific ripples around the globe, building a science museum in Addis Ababa.
Each year, approximately three-hundred thousand visitors frequent Haifa’s MadaTech—the National Museum of Science, Technology, and Space—Israel’s biggest science museum. Nearly seventy-five thousand of these are school children who study science from an early age.
Haifa and the MadaTech put special emphasis on science education. Appropriately, MadaTech is the Israeli organizer of the Researchers Night happening, in coordination with the Ministry of Science, the EU, and fifteen universities and science centers. Last September, 5,600 visitors took part in the Researchers Night’s decade celebration. Yet MadaTech’s scientific ripples spread way beyond Haifa and Israel.
MadaTech’s General Director, Brigadier General (Ret.) Eli Shermeister: “We have built a science museum in Addis Ababa from scratch, planned and designed and manufactured it all here, sent the products over to Ethiopia, and had a team sent to install it there. The new museum is active for over a year now, within Addis Ababa’s University of Technology. Mark Gelfand, one of our donors who invests in technological education in Ethiopia, initiated the project; the Ethiopian authorities saw that it was good, so currently there are negotiations on the construction of two more museums, in the northern Ethiopian cities of Mekelle and Axum. But the major issue is that we manufacture everything that’s in our museum, and as I mentioned, everything that’s inside the Addis Ababa museum. We have our own fully staffed factory.”
“As part of our affiliation with science centers and museums in Europe and the States, we have professional collaborations, we attend conferences, give lectures and workshops in various fields. One of the unique things we recently presented in the States was a concept and a software we developed, monitoring hitches in museum exhibits-a controller that automatically reports malfunctions such as mechanical faults, for instance. It’s one of its kind in the world.
“We also cooperate with academic and research institutes and museums in Israel and abroad, and conduct a very big project with the EU, that has to do with the establishment of a sustainable seafood society, namely, utilizing the sea for the welfare of society.
“There is a lot of action around FabBLab, a network of over 150 international digital fabrication laboratories initiated in MIT, aiming to make things cheaply and quickly and to make them available on a local basis for educational and communal purposes. MadaTech maintains strong connections with a pivotal body in New York’s Jewish community, 92Y, conducting seminars about robotics and 3D printing in their summer camps.”
Shermeister, who spent most of his service in IAF’s Aerial Control Unit, was IDF’s Chief Education Officer for six and a half years, and is now in his third year as MadaTech’s General Director.
“For me the museum is a wedding of two thing I love and believe our future depends upon: education and science. If one desires to create a change, one has to invest in children from a very early age. If we invest in persistently and continuously, a change can be made. And that is, in fact, what we do in cooperation with the municipality. We opened Science kindergartens and encourage affinity with science in elementary and junior high schools, for the purpose of developing human reserves and empower future generations.
“This is very important on the social level, taking into account the fact that there are hardly any ideological disputes at the base of science: people of all religions, from cities and villages, old and young, boys and girls, Arabs and Jews, secular or religious, visit MadaTech, and they all share the same experience. Which only goes to show that coexistence is possible. Ever more so when the task is extremely beneficial and clear.”