Professor Stephen Hawking has urged his supporters and followers to help raise money for a second Palestinian Advanced Physics School in the West Bank.
More than $10,000 has been pledged for the new school which aims to build on recent successes, including a cooperation agreement signed between Palestine and CERN, the particle physics laboratory and home to the Large Hadron Collider.
The world-famous Cambridge don, who boycotted an academic conference in Israel in 2014, sent a greeting to the Palestinian Masters students attending the first Palestinian Advanced Physics School last year.
On Facebook this week, he wrote: “I support the rights of scientists everywhere to freedom of movement, publication and collaboration. In this spirit, I would like to bring up a fundraising project aimed at raising funds to make a second Palestinian Advanced Physics School possible. Please consider making a donation today to support science in Palestine.”
Advanced degrees in physics are granted at four universities on the West Bank and one university in Gaza, and the majority of the students pursuing advanced physics degrees are women. Among the international academics to teach the Palestinian students in the first school is Prof. John Ellis at King’s College, London.
“Palestine needs more and more connections to the rest of the world,” said Falastine Abu Saif of An Najah University. “We have plenty of potential and very smart people. We just need support and encouragement. We need to believe in ourselves.”