Lebanon's rocket scientists

By Dr. Haytham Mouzahem

While it is true that Lebanon is a small country, covering only 10,452 square kilometers and with a population of no more than 5 million, the "Land of the Cedars" has been known throughout ancient and modern times for its inventors and emigrants. It is well known, of course, that the Phoenicians, the ancient residents of Syria and Lebanon, invented the alphabet and spread it to the world. Their boats traveled to Europe and Africa, and according to some theories, the Phoenicians may have even been the first to cross the Atlantic and discover the American continent.

Although it has probably been forgotten by most Lebanese, their country was home to a captivating scientific technological project between 1961 and 1966. The "rocket project" was launched at Haigazian University in Beirut by Manough Manougian, a mathematics professor. Manougian, along with a group of his students, designed a rocket and launched it in the context of scientific space experiments. The professor, who later became a prominent academic in Florida, kept photos and recordings from the project, which lasted from 1960 to 1966. These documents formed the primary resource for a documentary film, "The Lebanese Rocket Society," produced by the husband-and-wife team of Khalil Joreige and Joana Hadjithomas and screened in Lebanese cinemas in 2013.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/01/lebanon-inventors-throughout-history.html#ixzz2qfQ6Qypu


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