January 2017 Rabi Al-Akhir, 1438 Volume 8, Issue No. 1 جامعة الملك عبداهلل للعلوم والتقنية
المملكة العربية السعودية،ثول
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Thuwal, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
جامعة الملك عبداهلل للعلوم والتقنية تحتفل بحفل تخرجها السابع
KAUST celebrates seventh Commencement Page 6
WEP 2017 Page 12
Pursuing blue skies research Page 10
Decoding biology’s future Page 20
Immersed in the Red Sea Page 14
KAUST and Aramco break ground Page 22
‘Merchants in innovation’ at UPERC research conference Page 16 Transdisciplinary science and the future of energy Page 17
JANUARY 8-21, 2017 enrichment.kaust.edu.sa #kaustwep2017
Supporting local students Page 23
Vladimir Bajic, named professor of applied mathematics and computational science and director of the University's Computational Bioscience Research Center, hosted a research conference from December 5 to 7 entitled "Computational systems biology in biomedicine." Visit the Center's website for more information at www.cbrc.kaust.edu.sa, and visit http://bit.ly/2hzOuMo to view photos of the event.
The Office of the Arts held an end-ofsemester Musical Celebrations concert on December 11 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Auditorium (bldg. 20). The performance featured musicians from the KAUST community playing small instrumental ensembles and taking part in several vocal selections. Stay tuned to thelens.kaust.edu.sa for concerts taking place in the next semester.
The KAUST community was treated to a special poetry reading session on December 14 from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. in the University Library. KAUST poets presented their work for the enjoyment of other community members.
The University Library hosted the "Discover Saudi Arabia" photography exhibition from December 15 to 17 as part of the program associated with Commencement 2016. The exhibition focused on a number of sites of archaeological and historic interest in Saudi Arabia, with photographs donated by different photographers from the KAUST community. Members of the Society for Archaeology and Anthropology (a student-led group) also assisted with the project. The exhibition was sponsored by Graduate Affairs.
The Beacon Volume 8, Issue No. 1 PUBLISHED BY Marketing Communications King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Thuwal, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The Beacon Staff Managing Editor: Nicholas Demille Arabic Editor: Salah Sindi English Editor: Caitlin Clark Designer: Mahjubeh R. Mashhadi Writers: David Murphy, Meres J. Weche Translator: Adel Alrefaie Photographers: Ginger Lisanti, Lilit Hovhannisyan The Beacon is published monthly. © King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
THE BEACON | JANUARY 2017
The KAUST Artists in Residence program held its opening exhibition on December 11 in room CR2252, level 2, Al-Kindi building (bldg. 5), with the exhibition running from December 11 to 15. The exhibition presented the work of Marie Griesmar and Sandra Kühne, two Swiss artists who developed artwork during a three month University art-science residency called the KAUST Residency Exchange 2016. Griesmar worked with Associate Professor Christian Voolstra's lab in the Red Sea Research Center (RSRC), and Kühne worked with Professor Burton Jones' RSRC lab. Griesmar's exhibition was entitled "Beneath the Red Sea, a New Form of Reef," and Kühne's exhibition was entitled "Into the Blue and Soft and Solid."
The University's seventh annual Commencement ceremony was held on December 16 at 7:45 p.m. along the Discovery Walk between Al-Khawarizmi (bldg. 1) and the University Library. A reception for graduates and guests followed immediately afterwards in the University Library.
In collaboration with the Saudi Aramco Yanbu NGL Fractionation Innovation & Technology center, Innovation and Economic Development hosted the KAUST community at Saudi Aramco’s innovation nexus “InnovX” platform event under the theme of “ignite the passion.” The event was held on December 19 from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. in Discovery Theater. The event included inspiring talks framed around overcoming challenges and obstacles and entrepreneurship and startup success stories delivered by entrepreneurs.
The Office of Enrichment Programs is proud to bring you 14 enthralling days of a unique Winter Enrichment Program (WEP) 2017 educational experience from January 8 to 21, 2017. This year's theme is “Pushing the Limits: Challenging Engineering and Science.” Keynote lectures, workshops and seminars will enrich you with sensational engineering projects and gripping science stories, and the new WEP Hub concept at the University Library will be the beating heart of WEP 2017, featuring a daily talk show, art exhibits, creative activities, engineering challenges and informal meetings with speakers. Visit enrichment.kaust.edu.sa for complete details and to register.
The University Library is offering a variety of trainings and classes designed to help researchers and students get the most from the Library’s wide array of resources and to improve their research skills. Sessions are available to all members of the KAUST community. To reserve your seat, visit libguides.kaust.edu.sa/libtraining.
KAUST and the United States National Science Foundation (NSF) are jointly organizing the KAUST-NSF Research Conference on Interactive Electronics 2017 from Monday, January 30 to Wednesday, February 1, 2017. The goal of the conference is to assemble the global scientific community on a common platform to stimulate discussion on progress and opportunities in electronic materials and devices. The conference will gather the world's leading researchers and scholars from academia and industry to exchange ideas and foster a collaborative framework. A critical component of the event will be a Poster Session on February 1. The Poster Session is open to all KAUST students, postdoctoral fellows and research scientists working on sensors, actuators, energy harvesting, storage, emitters, circuits and systems, etc. The submission site for posters will be open from January 8 until January 15. Visit http://bit.ly/2hLFCRM for the poster submission form.
KAUST community members are invited to submit their original works of visual art for display in the University Library as part of the "Artists of KAUST" 2017 exhibit. The deadline for submission is February 7, 2017. The exhibition will open with a reception on Wednesday, March 1, and will run until Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Examples of work sought for inclusion in the exhibit include paintings, photography, textiles, jewelry, sculpture and ceramics. Work displayed in previous "Artists of KAUST" exhibits or other exhibits in the community is ineligible for inclusion in the 2017 show. For more information, visit thelens.kaust.edu.sa.
The KAUST Global IT Summit for Leading Research Institutions is scheduled to take place from February 8 to 10, 2017. The summit will bring together CIOs, CTOs and IT thought leaders to evaluate the University's current state of IT; benchmark against peers and global industry standards; and contribute to the future strategic roadmap for KAUST IT. This roadmap focuses on providing academics, researchers, University administration and community members with advanced and progressive IT resources. For more information, visit https://itsummit. kaust.edu.sa/2017.
The High Performance Computing Saudi Arabia conference (HPC Saudi) will take place from March 13 to 15, 2017, on the KAUST campus. It is being billed as the premier regional event in the field where participants can meet each other, share ideas and discuss collaboration. This is the seventh HPC Saudi event and will focus on coordinated efforts for the advancement of the HPC ecosystem in the Kingdom. Visit HPCSaudi.org for more information.
KAUST startups FalconViz, Sadeem (pictured) and Hachid were recently listed as numbers 5, 13 and 21 on the Forbes Middle East 50 Most Promising Saudi Startups list. The list is published annually and features exciting startups covering diverse areas of business from across the Kingdom.
Accolades Chun-Ho Lin wins best paper award
Smart Bandage wins IEEE MECAP’16 Best Paper Award
Chun-Ho Lin, a KAUST Ph.D. student in electrical engineering, won the best paper award at the 2nd International Symposium on Devices and Application of Two-dimensional Materials in Shanghai, China, in June 2016.
A cutting-edge, flexible and low-cost technology called Smart Bandage that will help to redesign health care systems was produced by KAUST researchers and won the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Middle East Conference on Antennas and Propagation (MECAP’16) Best Paper Award in Beirut, Lebanon, in September 2016.
“The conference featured over 500 attendees, and it is very competitive to win the best paper award there,” said Jr-Hau He, KAUST associate professor of electrical engineering and Lin’s Ph.D. supervisor.
1. Ph.D. student Chun-Ho Lin
won the best paper award at the 2nd International Symposium on Devices and Application of Twodimensional Materials. Photo courtesy of Chun-Ho Lin.
2. Associate Professor Atif
Shamim (right) and Ph.D. student Mohammed Farooqui produced Smart Bandage, a cutting-edge medical device. Photo courtesy of Atif Shamim.
3. Ph.D. student Maha Alamoudi (right), who is supervised by Associate Professor Frederic Laquai (left), won a best poster award at the 2016 Materials Research Society (MRS) Fall Meeting & Exhibit. Photo by Caitlin Clark.
Lin completed his master’s degree in the Department of Electrical Engineering in his native Taiwan at the National Taiwan University and began his Ph.D. studies at KAUST in 2014. His KAUST research focuses on flexible paper photosensors based on two-dimensional (2-D) boron nitride (BN) nanosheets. “Up till now, conventional flexible devices made of paper and plastic substrates are expected to have thermal issues due to their poor thermal conductivity. In the research work, we demonstrated flexible photosensors based on 2-D BN nanosheets composited paper with good detectivity, fast recovery time , great thermal stability, high working temperature, excellent flexibility and bending durability. This shows great potential to be a key component to solve thermal problems and fully activate flexible electronics for meeting the demand of internet of things,” said Lin. Lin noted he was “glad to attend the conference. I felt honored to get together with such an illustrious group of internationally renowned scholars, and I saw plenty of novel applications of 2-D materials while there.”
Atif Shamim, associate professor electrical engineering and principal investigator of the University’s Integrated Microwaves Packaging Antennas & Circuits Technology (IMPACT) Lab, and Ph.D. student Mohammed Farooqui crafted Smart Bandage, a medical device capable of wirelessly communicating to healthcare providers the parameters and abnormalities in wounds’ recovery process. “More and more we live in a smart world. Wearable sensors are being developed to monitor various physiological parameters of the human body, including temperature, heart rate, electrocardiograms and blood pressure. Chronic wound monitoring is one area of human health that surprisingly has received relatively little attention from the research community,” Shamim said. Smart Bandage has three types of compact inkjetprinted sensors applied on a disposable bandage. In this way, bleeding, pressure and pH levels in the wounds are monitored and immediately communicated via the inkjetprinted loop antenna to a remote medical staff member’s smartphone. With a patient’s case history one buzz away and accessible from anywhere at any time, Shamim’s Smart Bandage provides much convenience in patients’ lives. Following expressions of interest by several pharmaceutical companies, Shamim plans to develop marketable products on a large scale, making the Smart Bandage technology a new, cutting-edge technology for wearable sensors for healthcare applications.
THE BEACON | JANUARY 2017
Ph.D. student wins Materials Research Society poster Maha Alamoudi, a Ph.D. student in the University’s Solar Center who is supervised by Frederic Laquai, associate professor of material science and engineering, won a best poster award at the 2016 Materials Research Society (MRS) Fall Meeting & Exhibit in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., for her poster entitled “Photophysical Processes in Polymer:Non-fullerene Small Molecule Acceptor Bulk Heterojunctions for Organic Solar Cells.” Alamoudi completed her master’s degree at KAUST in materials science and engineering in 2014 and began her Ph.D. as a Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC)funded student in Laquai’s Ultrafast Dynamics Group in 2015. She also served as president of the University’s MRS Student Chapter from 2014 to 2015. “This was the first time I had a poster presentation at an international conference, so it was very special for me to win the award, as it came quite unexpectedly,” Alamoudi said. “I am grateful for support from my colleague and KAUST postdoctoral fellow Jafar Iqbal Khan and from Professor Laquai. The recognition of my work provides me with a lot of motivation for the remainder of my Ph.D. studies and gives me confidence for my ongoing research projects.” Laquai added, “I am very excited and proud of Maha for winning the poster prize. It is a great honor for her, the KAUST Solar Center, the University’s materials science and engineering program and for KAUST in general. Maha’s award comes at a time where she is about to wrap up a major piece of research work, and it recognizes the importance of her findings. I am convinced it is a great motivation for her and our researchers to intensify the efforts towards developing a more precise picture of the physics behind energy conversion in novel photovoltaic materials.”
Here are some exciting Twitter accounts to follow related to the University's recent participation at the International Conference for High-Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC16):
Bilel Hadri is a computational scientist in the KAUST Supercomputing Core Lab - make sure to follow him on Twitter @mnoukhiya
Mohamed Abdel-Aal is manager of Research & Computing Infrastructure at KAUST - follow him on Twitter @abdel_aal
Jysoo Lee is the director of the KAUST Supercomputing Core Lab - follow him on Twitter @JysooLee
The KAUST supercomputer Shaheen was once again named the fastest supercomputer in the Middle East. Follow the organization that ranks Shaheen @top500supercomp
KAUST celebrates seventh Commencement By Caitlin Clark
KAUST welcomed 181 graduates into its global alumni community at the University’s seventh Commencement ceremony on December 16, 2016. Attended by members of the University’s board of trustees, senior leadership, faculty, students and the KAUST community, the ceremony saw 87 Ph.D. graduates and 94 master’s degree graduates receive their diplomas and congratulations from KAUST President Jean-Lou Chameau and other distinguished guests, including His Excellency Ali Ibrahim Al-Naimi, chairman of the KAUST board of trustees, and Commencement speaker Andrew N. Liveris, chairman and chief executive officer of The Dow Chemical Company. Liveris, a 40-year veteran of Dow, has served in diverse roles in marketing, manufacturing, engineering, sales and management in the company around the world, and helped orchestrate the creation of the Sadara Chemical Company, a joint venture between Dow and Saudi Aramco. He has also been part of KAUST since its inception, partnering with the University to invest in local talent and develop solutions to regional and global challenges, for example through Dow’s expanding facilities at the KAUST Research & Technology Park.
Find your ‘North Star’ “I can tell you from experience—40 years of experience— that your path forward from here will not be direct,” Liveris told the graduates. “I am a great believer in seeking, as I have come to call it, your North Star, and really looking for a purpose that will motivate you, guide you and give your career and life a sense of direction.
THE BEACON | JANUARY 2017
“Perhaps some of you already have a North Star in sight, but for most of you, be confident that it may take some time to find. As you seek it—and once you find it—it will be your lifetime pursuit to navigate towards it. You won’t find it in a straight line, for there will be choppy waters, but if you have that purpose and you fulfill it, you will achieve your amazing potential.” “KAUST was founded on the understanding that humans are at our best when we innovate together towards a better world for everyone, a vision of the honorable King Abdullah whose name KAUST bears,” he continued. “As you search for your North Star even in the dark of night, that philosophy is going to point you in the right way.”
‘Develop resilience’ Class of 2016 student speaker Hessa Al-Quwaiee, a Ph.D. graduate in electrical engineering, echoed Liveris’ words in her remarks. “If KAUST has taught us one thing, it is to develop resilience,” she said. “As students, we have been through challenges like paper rejections and failed experiments, and we’ve learned to be strong, keep going and to persevere.” Al-Quwaiee shared a personal story with the audience of her brother’s death in 2015, just 10 days before her Ph.D. proposal. “At that time, I felt the world had ended. I wanted to quit everything,” she said. “But after three days of the loss, I had a serious self talk. In short, if I quit, he would not be happy. With support from my family, my professor
As we graduate, we head into a new chapter of our own lives. There will be a lot of happy moments, and when a challenge strikes, we should be prepared. Before we leave this place, I would like to remind you to stay inspired, stay curious and stay strong.” - Class of 2016 student speaker Hessa Al-Quwaiee, a Ph.D. graduate in electrical engineering
Mohamed-Slim Alouini and my committee members, I did the proposal and attended two international conferences abroad to present my research work.”
Life lessons learned “I’m not sharing this story of loss with you to make you sad,” Al-Quwaiee said. “I share it because the loss taught me three life lessons the hard way. First, never leave work to the last minute. Second, express gratitude to family, friends, faculty members and colleagues—to everyone who supported you to reach this point. Finally, life goes on—maybe not the way you hoped or planned, but tomorrow will come, and with it a new set of challenges and opportunities. “As we graduate, we head into a new chapter of our own lives. There will be a lot of happy moments, and when a challenge strikes, we should be prepared. Before we leave this place, I would like to remind you to stay inspired, stay curious and stay strong.”
‘Be a force for unity’ In his closing remarks, Liveris told the graduates to “continue to collaborate as you have done here at KAUST. Break out of silos and work together across the boundaries of cultures, languages and disciplines—be a force for unity, not for division. Don’t belong to one tribe, be a member of ‘team Earth.’
“You can do well by doing good and do good by doing well,” he said. “You have incredible tools at hand through the education you’ve gained here by keeping your eye on the big picture. Now search for your North Star, but search for it on the global stage. Take yourself through laboratories, board rooms and government offices—set yourself no boundaries—and pursue it with zeal and enthusiasm, but make sure you are not the only one who benefits. Make sure all of us benefit.”
‘Build bridges between people and cultures’ In his charge to the Class of 2016, Chameau encouraged graduates to carry the KAUST culture of excellence with them in everything they do. “Graduates, as you leave here to join the influencers, thinkers and innovators around the Kingdom and the world, I encourage you to remember the leadership lessons you have learned at KAUST,” he said. “Use your ideas, talents and compassion for others to build bridges between people and cultures—always look for opportunities to apply what you have learned to the benefit of society and the world…and most importantly, stay humble.”
8 1. KAUST President Jean-Lou Chameau speaks during the 2016 Commencement ceremony. 2. Class of 2016 student speaker Hessa Al-Quwaiee, a Ph.D. graduate in electrical engineering, gives her remarks during the event. 3. Andrew N. Liveris, CEO of The Dow Chemical Company, speaks during the Commencement ceremony.
4. Pierre Magistretti, dean of the KAUST
Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering Division, leads his division's graduates during the ceremony.
5. Yves Gnanou, dean of the University's Physical Science and Engineering Division, leads the division's graduates during the ceremony. 6. Mootaz Elnozahy, dean of the KAUST Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science and Engineering Division, leads graduates from the division during the ceremony. 7, 8, 9. Graduates receive their diplomas from University leadership during the ceremony.
10. Andrew Liveris (left), CEO of The
Dow Chemical Company and the 2016 Commencement speaker, walks into the ceremony with H.E. Ali Al-Naimi (right), chairman of the KAUST board of trustees, and other members of the board.
11. KAUST President Jean-Lou Chameau gives his Commencement remarks. 12. Excited 2016 graduates walk to the stage to receive their diplomas.
THE BEACON | JANUARY 2017
جامعة الملك عبداهلل للعلوم والتقنية تحتفل بحفل تخرجها السابع أقامت جامعة الملك عبداهلل للعلوم والتقنية حفل تخرجها السابع بتاريخ 16من ً خريجا وخريجة انضموا إلى مجتمع الجامعة من ديسمبر 2016والذي توج بتخريج 234 الخريجين العالميين. حضر مراسم االحتفال كل من معالي المهندس علي بن إبراهيم النعيمي رئيس مجلس األمناء واعضاء المجلس والقيادة العليا وأعضاء هيئة التدريس والطلبة ومجتمع ً خريجا لمنصة التكريم 87 -لدرجة الدكتوراه و94 الجامعة .وشهد الحفل صعود 181 لدرجة الماجستير -حيث قدم لهم التهاني والشهادات رئيس الجامعة الدكتور جان-لو شامو وعدد من الضيوف البارزين اآلخرين ،بما في ذلك السيد اندرو ليفريس ،المتحدث الرئيسي لحفل التخرج ورئيس مجلس اإلدارة والرئيس التنفيذي لشركة داو للكيماويات. وألقى السيد اندرو ليفريس كلمة حفل التخرج والتي تحدث خاللها عن خبراته في شركة داو والتي تمتد ألربعين سنة شغل خاللها العديد من المناصب في مجال التسويق والتصنيع والهندسة والمبيعات واإلدارة في الشركة وفي جميع أنحاء العالم ،وساهم في تأسيس شركة صدارة الكيميائية ،وهي مشروع مشترك بين شركة ً حاضرا مع جامعة الملك عبداهلل منذ نشأتها من خالل داو وأرامكو السعودية .وكان التعاون واالستثمار في المواهب المحلية ووضع حلول للتحديات اإلقليمية والعالمية. ً أخيرا بتوسعة مرافق داو في مدينة األبحاث والتقنية في وتجسد هذا التعاون الجامعة.
حدد وجهتك ً ً عاما أن مخاطبا الخريجين" :أستطيع أن أقول لكم من واقع خبرة 40 وقال السيد أندرو ً مباشرا .يجب عليكم تحديد وجهتكم والسعي لبلوغها طريق رحلتكم من هنا لن يكون من خالل تحفيز أنفسكم ألن ذلك هو ما سيدفعكم إلى األمام في حياتكم المهنية. قد يكون بعض منكم يعرف تماما وجهته ،ولكن ليس األمر كذلك بالنسبة للجميع. لذلك تحلوا بالثقة بالنفس ألن تحديد األهداف وبلوغها قد يستغرق بعض الوقت. ولكن عندما تحددون وجهتكم فسيصبح بلوغها هو هدف حياتكم .فقط عليكم التذكر ً ً ً وعرا في بعض األحيان ،ولكن بالعزيمة يمكنكم دوما بل ممهدا أن الطريق لن يكون عبوره وتحقيق أهدافكم". وختم السيد أندرو كلمته بحديثه عن رسالة الجامعة حيث قال" :تأسست جامعة الملك عبداهلل من مبدأ راسخ يضع في مقدمة أولوياته خدمة الناس ومنفعتهم من خالل التعاون في االبتكار لمستقبل أفضل للجميع ،إنها الرؤية الطموحة للملك عبداهلل الذي يحمل هذا الصرح العظيم اسمه".
المثابرة والقدرة على التكيف وألقت المتحدثة باسم خريجي فصل 2016الطالبة الخريجة حصة القويعي ،الحاصلة على درجة الدكتوراه في الهندسة الكهربائية ،كلمة ظهرت متناغمة مع كلمة متحدث الحفل السيد أندرو ليفريس حيث قالت" :من أهم األمور التي تعلمناها في جامعة الملك عبداهلل هي المثابرة والقدرة على التكيف .حيث علمتنا الجامعة أن نكون أقوياء وأال نيأس أمام العقبات التي تواجه الطلبة في الجامعة كفشل التجارب أو عدم قبول الورقة البحثية على سبيل المثال". كما شاركت حصة الحضور بقصة وفاة أخيها في عام 2015وذلك قبل 10أيام من
تقدمها لدراسة درجة الدكتوراه وقالت" :شعرت في ذلك الوقت بأن العالم انتهى. وأردت التوقف عن المواصلة .ولكن بعد أيام العزاء الثالث أخذت بالتفكير وسألت نفسي هل توقفي هذا كان سيسعد أخي؟ ولكن قررت المواصلة بعد أن لمست الدعم الكبير من عائلتي ،وأستاذي محمد سليم العيوني وأعضاء لجنتي ،وتمكنت بعدها حضور مؤتمرين دوليين في الخارج لتقديم أعمالي البحثية ".
التعلم من تجارب الحياة كما تحدثت حصة عن السبب في سردها لهذه القصة" :شاركتم هذه القصة ليس من دافع التعاطف والحزن ،وانما ألوضح أن فقدان أخي علمني ثالثة دروس صعبة في ً الحياة .أوال ،ال تترك عملك حتى اللحظة األخيرةً . ممتنا ألسرتك ثانيا ال تنسى أن تكون ً وأخيرا، وأصدقائك ،وأعضاء هيئة التدريس والزمالء وجميع من دعموك لتحقيق النجاح. تعلم أن الحياة ستسمر – وأنها قد تسير عكس ما تتمنى ،إال أن الغد قادم ال محالة، ومعه العديد من التحديات والفرص الجديدة". وختمت حصة كلمتها بقولها" :نحن نسير اليوم إلى فصل جديد في حياتنا .سوف يكون هناك الكثير من اللحظات السعيدة ،والتحديات التي ينبغي أن نكون على أتم االستعداد لها .وقبل أن نفترق أرغب بتذكيركم بأن تبقوا شعلة اإللهام والفضول العلمي مضيئة وأن تتحلوا بالقوة في مواجهة التحديات".
في االتحاد قوة وقال السيد أندرو ليفريس في كلمته الختامية للخريجين" :أدعوكم لمواصلة التعاون مثلما كنتم تفعلون هنا في جامعة الملك عبداهلل .تجنبوا العمل في عزلة واعملوا ً ً قائال: معا لعبور حدود الثقافات واللغات والتخصصات – ففي االتحاد قوة ".واستطرد
"لديكم أدوات عظيمة في متناول اليد من خالل التعليم الذي اكتسبتموه والنظر ً دائما الى الهدف األسمى .ابحثوا عن أهدافكم الخاصة ولكن بنظرة عالمية .أطلقوا العنان ألنفسكم ودعوها تأخذكم إلى المختبرات وقاعات االجتماعات والمكاتب ً حدودا لتطلعاتكم وأهدافكم وانطلقوا لتحقيقها بحماس، الحكومية ،ال ترسموا ولكن تأكدوا من أن تعود فائدة عملكم على الجميع وليس أنتم وحدكم".
بناء الجسور بين الناس والثقافات وحث رئيس جامعة الملك عبداهلل الدكتور جان-لو شامو خريجي عام ،2016على التميز لجامعة الملك عبد اهلل في كل مكان يذهبون اليه ،وقال" :أيها تبني ثقافة ّ ً ً وسندا لكم نبراسا التميز في جامعة الملك عبد اهلل الخريجون ،نأمل أن تكون ثقافة ّ لعقود عديدة قادمة .أهيب بكم أن تتذكروا دروس القيادة التي تعلمتموها في جامعة الملك عبداهلل وانتم تغادروننا اليوم لالنضمام إلى المفكرين والمبدعين والرواد في المملكة العربية السعودية والعالم .استخدموا أفكاركم وموهبتكم ً دائما عن فرص وعاطفتكم مع اآلخرين لبناء الجسور بين الناس والثقافات -وابحثوا تطبيق ما تعلمتموه هنا لفائدة المجتمع .واألهم من ذلك ،تحلوا بالتواضع".
Pursuing blue skies research
By David Murphy
Valentin Rodionov, KAUST assistant professor of chemical science, attended the 252nd American Chemical Society Meeting & Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from August 21 to 24 with Tianyou Chen, a postdoctoral fellow in his research group. “Tianyou had some very exciting results to present at the conference. He presented research from a project he spent a good part of two years working on because not everything was working out, and proper science never works out right away—it takes time, but it finally worked out. Tianyou’s project focuses on something we call ‘molecular Scotch tape,’ and Tianyou was the driving force behind it, so he was the perfect person to present it at the ACS,” Rodionov said.
Working on catalysis Rodionov and his team examine catalysts, including some of the more useful catalysts in modern chemistry, which are made of nanoparticles. “The beauty of using these particles for catalysis is that the surface area is huge and they have a lot of surface defects. However, the smaller these particles are, the less stable they are,” explained Rodionov. “The smaller particles want to coalesce into a bigger piece of something, which presents a problem, as at that point they are no longer an able catalyst,” he continued. “Chemists have devised a number of techniques over the years to prevent the particles from aggregating. For example, a common way to do this would be to put them on a solid support, like a piece of silica gel. In this case, on the surface they would not really interact with each other much and the aggregation would be inhibited. However, this is not optimal because they tend to fall off. There are other ways of stabilizing them; for example, you can put on other molecules that bind tightly to the surface, but that also kills the catalyst.”
Molecular sticky tape The research team tackled the catalyst problem through inspiration they got from humble Scotch sticky tape. “What we have devised is a way to make a solid support that is sticky,” Rodionov said. “The nanoparticles stick to one side, leaving the other side free to catalyze, and that is why we call our approach ‘molecular Scotch tape.’ The trick was really to work out the precise composition of whatever we put on the solid support. In this case, we used very cheap and sustainable silica gel. It’s a traditional support that we coat with a single molecule layer of soft material. The material has groups in it that bind tightly to gold. Atoms of sulfur combine with the
THE BEACON | JANUARY 2017
gold to make a very strong chemical bond, so when the gold nanoparticles ‘see’ the surface, they ‘see’ the sulfur and attach to it, but there isn’t enough sulfur there to kill the catalyst.”
Reusing catalysts The inventive research group has created a more practical nanoparticle aggregation system that was previously underdeveloped in the sphere of chemistry research, but there is another advantage to their system—the catalyst can be reused. “Traditional techniques for this reaction created a lot of bi-products we didn’t want, but with our catalyst, we were able to carry out the reaction under conditions that are more practical than pretty anything else that was reported up until this point. This was really because of our approach, because gold is a great catalyst for this reaction, but it’s not stable in its own right and it doesn’t recycle well, so normally we cannot reuse the catalyst. However, in combination with our new Scotch sticky tape support, we can actually do that,” Rodionov noted.
‘Blue skies’ research Like so many researchers and students at KAUST, both Rodionov and his student Chen were drawn to the University because of the unsurpassed research equipment and materials available to them to pursue their research goals. “KAUST is a very interesting place to be because here we have the opportunity to do ‘blue skies research,’ or research that would be complicated in other places,” Rodionov said. “At KAUST, we can pretty much do whatever we believe in, whatever we are passionate about, and we know we have the resources to actually enable us to do this work.” Chen came to KAUST from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China. He pointed out, “I came here for the science and to work with someone like Professor Rodionov. I would not have had the opportunity to conduct this project anywhere else. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities KAUST has given me to meet people from different backgrounds and to work with so many talented chemists on my research projects.” When asked where he imagines their field of research going in the future, Rodionov replied, “We think that it is such a general concept in heterogeneous catalysis, we hope to extend it to other reactions and to other kind of particles—we think that other people will pick it up. At the end of the day, this is something I feel will continue to grow.”
األبحاث المبتكرة والواعدة ضم أعضاء حضر فريق متعدد التخصصات من جامعة الملك عبداهلل للعلوم والتقنيةّ ، في هيئة التدريس وموظفين وطلبة ،الدورة الثانية والخمسين من ملتقى ومعرض الجمعية الكيميائية األمريكية في فيالدلفيا ،بنسلفانيا ،والذي ُعقد في الفترة بين 21و 24أغسطس .2016حضر المؤتمر فالنتين رودينوف ،األستاذ المساعد في العلوم الكيميائية في جامعة الملك عبداهلل للعلوم والتقنية ،ورافقه تيانيو تشن، زميل ما بعد الدكتوراه في مجموعته البحثية؛ حيث تحدث تشن في إحدى جلسات ً مؤخرا مع رودينوف. المؤتمر عن البحث الذي نشره التقت مجلة "المنارة" مع فالنتين رودينوف وتيانيو تشن لمناقشة البحث الذي قدماه ،واالطالع على عملهما في جامعة الملك عبداهلل. ّ
ً فورا" "العلم الحقيقي ال يثمر توصل تيانيو في أبحاثه إلى نتائج باهرة ً قدمها في قال رودينوف" :لقد ّ جدا ّ ً ً ً قدم بحثا من مشروع منبرا يعد مهما لعرض نتائجنا" .وأضاف" :فقد ّ المؤتمر ،الذي ّ ّ ً فورا ،والعلم أمضى فيه فترة طويلة من أصل عامين من العمل ،ألن ال شيء ينجح ً ً طويال ،لكنه ينجح في النهاية .يركز وقتا الصحيح ال يثمر على الفور .إنّ ه يستغرق مشروع تيانيو على ما نسميه (الشريط الجزيئي الالصق،)molecular Scotch tape - بحق القوة الدافعة وراءه ،فكان الشخص المثالي لتقديمه في الذي كان تيانيو ّ ملتقى الجمعية".
األبحاث المبتكرة والواعدة لقد استطاعت جامعة الملك عبداهلل للعلوم والتقنية أن تستقطب رودينوف وتلميذه تشن ،والكثير من باحثي وطلبة جامعة الملك عبداهلل للعلوم والتقنية، بفضل المواد والمعدات البحثية التي ال نظير لها ،والمتاحة لهم لتحقيق أهداف أبحاثهم. قال رودينوف " :أنا سعيد بتواجدنا في جامعة الملك عبداهلل ،ألننا هنا نمتلك فرصة ً تعد معقدة في أماكن إلجراء أبحاث مبتكرة وواعدة، فضال عن األبحاث التي ّ أخرى" .وأضاف" :ال حدود لألبحاث التي يمكننا القيام بها في جامعة الملك عبداهلل للعلوم والتقنية ،فكلما شعرنا بالحماسة والشغف نحو بحث معين ،نثق ً تماما أن لدينا ما يكفي من الموارد للقيام به". ً قادما من جامعة ومن جهته ،قال تشن الذي جاء إلى جامعة الملك عبداهلل ً طلبا للعلم ،وكذلك للعمل مع تشجيانغ ،في هانغتشو بالصين" :جئت إلى هنا شخص مثل البروفيسور رودينوف .ما كان لي أن أحظى بفرصة إجراء هذا المشروع ً كثيرا بالفرصة التي منحتني إياها الجامعة في أي مكان آخر .لقد استمتعت لاللتقاء بأناس من مختلف المجاالت العلمية والعمل مع الكثير من الكيميائيين الموهوبين على المشاريع البحثية".
الشريط الجزيئي الالصق استلهم الفريق البحثي ً المحفزات الكيميائية من فكرة متواضعة هي حال لمشكلة ّ :الشريط الالصق "السكوتش"! قال رودينوف" :إن ما أوجدناه هو وسيلة لصنع دعامة صلبة تكون لزجة والصقة". وأضاف" :تلتصق الجزئيات النانوية من جانب واحد ،وتترك الجانب اآلخر عرضة للتحفيز ،ولهذا السبب أطلقنا على منهجيتنا هذه اسم (الشريط الجزيئي الالصق). ً فعال في تحقيق التركيب الدقيق ألي شيء نضعه على كانت الفكرة تكمن دعامة صلبة .واستخدمنا في هذه الحالة مادة رخيصة ومستدامة ً جدا هي هالم السيليكا .إنّ ها دعامة تقليدية نطليها بطبقة جزيئية واحدة من المادة اللينة.
إعادة استخدام المحفزات ً عملية لتجميع الجزئيات النانوية، نظاما أكثر المبتكرة لقد أنشأت المجموعة البحثية ً ِ ً ً متأخرا في مجال البحوث الكيميائية ،لكنه أضاف ميزة نظاما يعد في السابق كان ّ المحفزات. أخرى واعدة وهي :إمكانية إعادة استخدام ّ الحظ رودينوف أن" :التكنيكات التقليدية لهذا التفاعل أوجدت الكثير من المنتجات لكن باستخدام المحفز الذي طورناه كنا تمكنا من تنفيذ الثانوية التي ال نريدها، ّ التفاعل في ظروف أكثر عملية من كل التجارب التي تم اإلبالغ عنها حتى هذه ً ً مثال ثمرة لنهجنا ،ألن بعض المحفزات التقليدية كالذهب حقا اللحظة .كان هذا ً ً ً مستقرا بحد ذاته ،ناهيك عن كبيرا لهذا التفاعل ،ال يعتبر عنصر محف ًزا والذي يعد ّ كمحفز. صعوبة إعادة تدويره ،لذلك ال نستطيع في هذه الحالة إعادة استخدامه ّ أما مع الدعم الذي يوفره شريطنا الجزيئي الالصق الجديد ،فقد صار بمقدورنا عملياً أن نفعل ذلك".
1. KAUST postdoctoral fellow Tianyou Chen works
on his catalysis research at the University. Chen and his supervisor Valentin Rodionov, KAUST assistant professor of chemical science, traveled to & the 252nd American Chemical Society Meeting Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in August to present their research there.
2. Tianyou Chen (left) and Valentin Rodionov presented their research work at the 252nd American Chemical Society Meeting & Exposition.
WEP 2017 The 2017 Winter Enrichment Program (WEP) features a wide variety of events focusing on the engaging theme of “Pushing the Limits: Challenging Engineering and Science.” From internationally renowned speakers to one-of-a-kind interactive experiences and recreational events, there are many exciting activities and lectures to choose from and enjoy.
Two main subthemes are showcased: • Art, Creativity, Innovation will feature during the first week, including the architectural challenges of Saudi Mega projects, origami, LEGO bricks building, artistic performances in kinetic art, painting, calligraphy, ceramics and improvisation. • Engineering and Science will feature during the second week, including naval architecture, deep sea exploration, climate change, the WEP 2017 Science Fair, Maker Fair and the KAUST research poster competition. Here is a selection of just a few of the must-see events for the first week of WEP. Make sure you don’t miss these key events, meet with experts and learn and enjoy yourself!
Lunchtime Lectures Listen to inspiring lectures given by KAUST and non-KAUST speakers while enjoying a free light lunch. Here is a selection of some of the exciting lectures: • Pushing the Limits of Science Communication With Ian McLeod, Jon Rawlinson and Mark Ziembicki from Cinematic Science Company Wednesday, January 11 • Preventing and Fighting Infectious Diseases: Carbohydrate Vaccines and Flow Chemistry With Peter Seeberger, director at the Max Planck Institute Thursday, January 12 • Prospecting for Biomimetic Models in the Sea With Adam Summers, associate director, Friday Harbor Laboratories, University of Washington Monday, January 16 • Blue Biotechnology: the Last Frontier With Vasileios Roussis, director of a laboratory at the University of Athens Wednesday, January 18 *All Lunchtime Lectures will be held in the Engineering Science Hall (building 9), lecture halls 2322/2325 from 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
THE BEACON | JANUARY 2017
1 Afternoon sessions Auditorium (building 20) – 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. Led by KAUST and external speakers, the afternoon sessions aim to explore in depth some subthemes such as: • Creativity and Innovation in Engineering and Science • Mega Projects in Saudi Arabia With Bassam Ghulman, Gilles Lubineau, Mohamed Abed and Sami Iskandarani • Deep Sea Exploration in the 21st Century With Anders Rostad, Carlos Duarte, Eric Warrant, Ronnie Glud and Silvia Acinas Monday, January 16 • Alumni Lecture Series • Exhibitions Biodiversity at KAUST will be illustrated through the exhibition "KAUST, an Oasis for Birds" that will show a selection of the 240 bird species present on campus (WEP Hub, January 7 to 12). Professor Wei Shyy from Hong Kong University (HKUST) will connect art and science through the lecture Biological Flight and Aerodynamics of Small Moving Wings (WEP Hub - University Library, Tuesday, January 10).
1. Art, Creativity and Innovation will feature during the first
week of WEP 2017, and will include activities featuring origami, pictured here.
2. Visit the "KAUST, an Oasis for Birds" exhibition during WEP
2017 to learn about the 240 species of birds found on campus.
3. You'll have the opportunity to build with LEGO bricks as part of the first week of WEP.
4. The WEP 2017 KAUST research poster competition is an exciting part of the second week of WEP.
JANUARY 8-21, 2017
Immersed in the Red Sea
By David Murphy
The University hosted the International Conference on the Marine Environment of the Red Sea (ICMERS) November 14 to 16. The opening panel session assessed the state of research in the Red Sea region and determined combined priorities going forward, with the overarching aim to share knowledge, stimulate debate, encourage new thinking and develop a regional Red Sea research map that generates new networks and partnerships. The three-day event included six keynote speakers, six regional speakers and 100 oral presentations, along with a 75-person strong poster session. Those in attendance shared state-of-the-art science on the Red Sea; provided a regional assessment of Red Sea research and determined gaps and opportunities for research; established mechanisms and platforms for data sharing; and laid the foundation for scientific representation with international frameworks. With each keynote presentation and parallel session, researchers shared their research insights. These included Red Sea related topics such as climate change, marine protected areas, oceanography, mangroves, contaminants, fisheries, coral reefs, primary production, the blue economy and marine spatial planning.
Collaborate and exchange ideas In his opening remarks, Burton Jones, professor of marine science and head of the Saudi Aramco-KAUST Marine Environmental Research Center, highlighted his and the University’s desire to host an international conference about the Red Sea. “We wanted to have an international conference to bring people together to collaborate and exchange ideas—a conference to unify our governments, our science and our education to work together for the environment of the Red Sea,” he said. Saudi Aramco, a co-sponsor of ICMERS, was represented by Dr. Omar S. Abdul-Hamid from the Saudi Aramco Environmental Protection Department, who spoke of the ongoing collaboration between Saudi Aramco, KAUST and their regional partners in the study and protection of the Red Sea. “It is in our interest to contribute to the sustainable development of the Red Sea. Understanding this environment is essential to understanding global responses to climate change. Saudi Aramco has partnered with KAUST and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) to carry out sustained studies of the Red Sea and to conduct baseline studies that provide a foundation to characterize the Red Sea's environment as it now exists. However, we cannot protect something we don't know, and a considerable gap remains in our knowledge of the chemical and physical properties of the Red Sea. The research undertaken here can be of benefit to the the Kingdom as a whole. We want to use this symposium to establish a foundation for the sustainability of the Red Sea for us and the generations that come after us,” he noted.
THE BEACON | JANUARY 2017
‘The marine environment connects all of us’ In his invited keynote lecture, Dr. Michael Crosby, president and CEO of the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, a nongovernmental agency based in Florida, U.S., discussed his company's background and mission statement before noting the need for continued worldwide collaboration in order to sustain marine life in our oceans and seas. “The marine environment connects all of us. In order to deal with these grand challenges, we have to partner together—as is the goal of this conference. We need to share knowledge and learn from each other, and we must identify priorities to establish a follow-on for future partnerships.” he said. Khalid Zubier from King Abdulaziz University (KAU) highlighted in his keynote presentation the ongoing collaboration and project work carried out by KAUST, KAU, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and Saudi Aramco, and discussed the need for collaboration on a national and international level. “We have to collaborate at a national level and we also have to collaborate with the international community,” he stated. Carlos Duarte, the Tarek Ahmed Juffali Research Chair in Red Sea Ecology and KAUST professor of marine science, and Michael Berumen, associate professor of marine science, touched on the unique and diverse ecosystem of the Red Sea that borders KAUST. During their keynote addresses, they spoke of the ongoing need to protect the unique body of water. “A sustainable, blue economy is an important focus... The ocean is, as is the case of arid nations with limited freshwater and arable land—like Saudi Arabia and Egypt—the only possible source to ensure food security. Developing sustainable aquaculture should be, therefore, a priority,” said Duarte. “The Red Sea is a very unique environment. From a biodiversity standpoint, the Red Sea should not be considered as an offshoot of the west Indian Ocean," said Berumen. "Currently there are not strong coordinated efforts for genetics studies in the Red Sea, but there need to be efforts to standardize these approaches so we end up with information that can be used and combined."
Future research and collaboration A recurring theme during the conference was the need for greater collaboration at both local, national and global levels. Jones, who also heads the KAUST/Aramco Red Sea glider program, which aims to understand the processes that drive the physics, biology and chemistry of the Red Sea through autonomous underwater robotic divers, spoke about the difficulties in observing the Red Sea and its coral reefs. “Observing systems for the Red Sea are not cookie-cutter systems—each is different. At KAUST we have some local glider monitoring studies associated with the reefs. We need
2 to develop collaborative studies and data sharing and a data sharing database, and we need to find a common problem of interest and develop a collaborative monitoring system. We would use this as a building block for future efforts,” he noted.
poster competition was won by Carol Nathaly Buitrago López, a Ph.D. student in the Red Sea Research Center. Her winning poster was entitled: “Adaptive potential of Red Sea corals: Insights from a high-resolution molecular marker approach.”
He also addressed the challenges preventing future research and collaboration, stating, “Challenges to this research include funding—monitoring is a way to measure change, but you have to be able to sustain the measurements. This takes time and money and currently data sharing is a difficult thing in the region.”
“I was delighted with the poster session—it was noisy and people were talking to each other and making connections, and that's what this is all about,” Jones said.
It is in our interest to contribute to the sustainable development of the Red Sea. Understanding this environment is essential to understanding global responses to climate change."
In his closing remarks, Jones thanked all those who had attended ICMERS, and also thanked the ICMERS Conference Steering Committee. “Over the past few days, our working groups came to a lot of good conclusions and had good discussions. This meeting points at how we can all collaborate together,” he said. ICMERS was organized by the KAUST Red Sea Research Center (RSRC), with financial support from the KAUST Office of Sponsored Research (OSR). It was co-sponsored by Saudi Aramco and the KAUST Industry Collaboration Program (KICP) and the Industry Engagement Office..
- Dr. Omar S. Abdul-Hamid, Saudi Aramco Environmental Protection Department
Importance of the Red Sea On the final day of the conference, Zdenka Willis, director of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Program, drew attention to the fact that the Red Sea and seas like it worldwide are the main source of income and resources from many nations worldwide. “The U.S. is a maritime nation—without shipping we wouldn't have about 97 percent of our shoes and clothes and electronics. Increasing ocean-based activities adds to already existing pressures on the health of the marine ecosystems. That is why it is vital to maintain ocean-observing capabilities,” she said. In his keynote address, Professor Raleigh Hood from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science said that many questions remain unanswered when it comes to the environmental impacts of human interaction with the Red Sea.
1. Burton Jones, professor of marine
science and head of the Saudi Aramco-KAUST Marine Environmental Research Center, stands with the top three graduate student poster session winners from the ICMERS conference: (from left to right) Carol Nathaly Buitrago López (1st place), Rehab Hassan Eskander (2nd place) and Najwa Al-Otaibi (3rd place).
2, World leaders in oceanography,
including professors and researchers from KAUST and other international institutions, assembled at the University for the ICMERS conference on November 14 to 16.
“A lot of work has been done on the eddies of the Red Sea, but it is clear that more work needs to be done. We still don’t fully understand the impact that man has on the Red Sea,” he said. A graduate student poster session held on November 15 as part of the conference provided an opportunity for researchers and students to present their work to the KAUST community and international marine science delegates in attendance. The
‘Merchants in innovation’ at UPERC research conference
By Caitlin Clark
Tadeusz Patzek, director of the University’s Upstream Petroleum Engineering Research Center (UPERC), and Eric van Oort, a professor in the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), co-chaired the KAUST Research Conference: Advances in Well Construction with Focus on Near-Wellbore Physics and Chemistry from November 7 to 9 on the KAUST campus. The conference centered on collaboration, breakout groups and discussion addressing core challenges among different experts from the petroleum industry and academia, including from major industrial partners like Saudi Aramco and Schlumberger, and different international universities. Focus areas of the conference included well planning, drilling, navigation and completions; data quality analysis, improvements and standardization; data analysis and machine and statistical learning; model-based field/project control and automation systems; remote reservoir detection and reservoir fluid controls; and reservoir engineering and well performance modeling and analysis.
Radical change necessary in the industry Patzek noted that $21 trillion is predicted to be spent on upstream and midstream oil and gas projects between 2015 and 2035. Oil projects and pipelines will consume $12.3 trillion, and gas projects, pipelines and liquefied natural gas terminals $8.8 trillion. Upstream spending will be 77 percent of total industry spending; midstream 13 percent; and refining 10 percent. “With the easy oil gone, industry is increasingly turning to unconventional oil and gas and frontier areas and the Arctic,” Patzek said. “To commercialize these opportunities as well as the unexploited conventional reserves, companies are increasingly engaging in multibillion dollar megaprojects. However, from 2014 to 2015, the oil and gas industry lost over $500 billion on project delays and project cost overruns before projects became operational.
“We work in silos in this industry, and we also do this academia. We must work together with physicists, geologists and petrophysicists to address current challenges,” added speaker Carlos Torres-Verdin, a professor in the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at UT Austin. Abdullah Al-Yami, a petroleum engineer from the Drilling Technology Team at Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC ARC research center, concurred, stating, “We drilling engineers also work in silos—we try to solve problems without looking at other specialties in drilling and we don’t pay attention to the other sciences. We want to solve our problems by ourselves, which is not possible.”
‘Merchants in innovation’ Van Oort noted that the industry still has far to go in the future. “Novel solutions are still required, and we have not solved every challenge yet, which is why a major theme of our conference is innovation and value. We are merchants in innovation—we have to develop ideas and sell them to people. We then need effective adoption of value-adding innovative technologies, but if you have great innovation, one major challenge we face is getting it into a conservative industry,” he said.
Paradigm shift “The time is now to rethink many of the paradigms we have lived through for the last 10 years,” Patzek said. “We need to now reflect and do more of what we have done, but do these things better and more simply. “Our conference refined, zoomed in on and bounced back a massive amount of information to come up with a vision of key research ideas that involve academia and industry. These ideas will hopefully result in high-quality academic research that is of interest to our academic and industry partners.” “We hope we can elevate our ideas from the conference to a very high level, and that this will become a global approach to solving our identified challenges involving many different stakeholders,” van Oort added.
“‘Business as usual’ simply will not do, and neither will arbitrary spending cuts,” he continued. “Our conference was designed to help the industry in radically changing how it operates.”
Future collaboration essential The participants emphasized the theme of collaboration throughout their presentations and discussions, with van Oort noting, “To be successful in the challenge areas we’ve identified, you need the right expertise and the right skillset, plus some really great knowledge sharing upfront.”
1. Eric van Oort, a professor in the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at UT Austin and co-chair of the KAUST Research Conference: Advances in Well Construction with Focus on NearWellbore Physics and Chemistry, speaks during the event. Photo by Karen Ramirez. 2. Tadeusz Patzek, KAUST Upstream Petroleum
Engineering Research Center director, authored a paper with colleagues Michael Marder and Scott W. Tinker from UT Austin. File photo.
THE BEACON | JANUARY 2017
Transdisciplinary science and the future of energy By Meres J. Weche Scientific inquiry is best served when research is focused on addressing the welfare of society and tackling issues of importance to its development and survival. The establishment of the four research pillars at KAUST—energy, food, water and the environment—represents such a commitment to addressing global challenges. Hydrocarbon fuels make up a massively important part of the energy equation. The maintenance of economic prosperity is tightly interwoven with the consumption of petroleum and natural gas, resources that are finite in nature. “As gasoline, diesel and kerosene become more expensive, the demand for transportation fuels will be satisfied by biofuels, fuel cells, batteries or other new resources,” as was highlighted in a Physics Today paper this past summer co-authored by the KAUST Upstream Petroleum Engineering Research Center Director Professor Tadeusz Patzek; The University of Texas (UT) at Austin Professor of Physics Michael Marder; and UT Austin Director of the Bureau of Economic Geology Professor Scott W. Tinker. The paper, "Physics, fracking, fuel, and the future," poses the question: “How long and in what ways can humans sustain the energy-intensive way of life we take for granted?” Informed by his interest in the ecology of human survival and energy supply schemes for humanity, Patzek emphasizes in the paper the need to find sustainable bridges until alternative energy sources become viable.
The optimist and the pessimist At opposite extremes of the future of energy debate are the optimists and the pessimists. The optimists believe that technological and economic developments will continue to adapt to the availability of resources in the future. The pessimists take the view that the world economy could crumble at any time due to our unsustainable energy consumption habits. An example used in the paper as an analogy for the sustainability of today’s petroleum and natural gas future outlook is the whale oil industry back in the 1800s. During that time, whale oil was used for lighting lamps. As the supply of whales decreased, the price for their oil quadrupled. In 1859, natural petroleum was discovered and kerosene, a distillate of petroleum, became a substitute for whale oil. An arguably similar scenario is now being explored with the increasing research focus on renewable technologies such as biofuels and photovoltaics. The optimists are essentially aware that securing a stable energy future goes hand-in-hand with a commitment by scientists and policymakers to find sustainable ways to produce and consume energy. To avoid the pessimist scenario of a global energy crisis, both developing and developed countries need to reduce their per-capita consumption of power on a day-to-day basis.
Fracking and the growth of shale gas As the demand for petroleum and natural gas has increased, efforts have continued to both assess current identified reserves and discover new sources. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a technique used to increase oil and gas production and is often cited as a key technology in producing some of these new resources. Fracking involves pumping large quantities of fluids at high pressure (water, sand and chemicals) into a well with the aim of producing fractures in the rock formation. This often creates better pathways for hydrocarbons trapped within shale formations to flow from the reservoir. As recently as 2000, shale gas made up only 1 percent of natural gas production in the United States. By 2010, it was already at over 20 percent. It is predicted that by 2035, 46 percent of the U.S. natural gas supply will come from shale gas. Many other countries are also actively pursuing shale deposits.
The role of physicists An interesting characteristic of the Physics Today paper is the cross-disciplinary makeup of its authors. Although they are all knowledgeable in each other’s fields, Patzek possesses a strong background as a petroleum engineer, Tinker brings the perspective of a geologist and Marder delves into the theoretical aspects of physics. The paper points out that over the past two centuries, applications from many disciplines have their origins in the field of physics. Interestingly, once the theory has been applied to industry, physicists themselves are no longer the most specialized. For instance, although physicists discovered electrons and holes, they don’t design circuits as reliably as electrical engineers. “The practical applications of physics to oil detection, transport, and recovery come from geoscientists and petroleum engineers,” the authors added. Despite the challenges and often divergent interests, collaborations between pure research and applied approaches must be maintained and promoted to secure the world’s future energy supply. “The physics community must participate in shaping how energy issues play out over the coming decades. The development of fusion reactors, photovoltaic cells and other potential energy sources clearly requires contributions from physicists,” the researchers noted.
Faculty, students and staff stand out
By Nicholas Demille
A KAUST team of staff, faculty and students recently traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah, for the International Conference for HighPerformance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC16). The conference kicked off on November 13, and the exhibition began on November 14 at the Salt Palace Convention Center. The University joined corporate exhibitors such as the Intel Corporation, NVIDIA, IBM, Cray and Microsoft; university exhibitors such as Indiana University, the University of Maryland, Purdue and Stanford; and U.S. governmental organizations such as the Department of Energy (DoE), the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), NASA and others. The KAUST booth in the main hall featured a team of experts from the University who discussed KAUST research, career opportunities, student internships and more with visitors.
Presenting KAUST research A number of KAUST faculty, research scientists and students engaged in panel discussions or took to the lectern to talk about their work. On November 15, KAUST Computational Scientist Bilel Hadri from the Universityâ€™s Supercomputing Core Lab joined fellow panelists Deborah Bard, David Paul and Wahid Bhimji from the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory and Robert Ross from the Argonne National Laboratory for a session on burst buffer technology. "We have a few applications at KAUST that spend a big portion of their computational power writing data, and that takes a long time. Essentially, the rate of reading and writing involving the disk or memory is much slower than the rate of computing, and this is with all supercomputers," said Hadri. "My research into the use of burst buffer technology allows us to overlap the writing with the computing, which speeds us to the final research outcome."
THE BEACON | JANUARY 2017
Also on November 15, the Director of the KAUST Extreme Computing Research Center David Keyes was joined by Ph.D. candidate Amani Al-Onazi to present their latest findings with KAUST Computational Scientist George Markomanolis as part of a poster session in the main Exhibit Hall. "I had the opportunity to talk with leaders in my field who gave me encouraging comments and useful suggestions," said Al-Onazi. "Presenting at the SC16 poster session increased my confidence and proficiency in explaining my research in front of highly distinguished scientists."
At the core of KAUST research One of the biggest selling points at KAUST is the tremendous support in both facilities and technical expertise that the University's Core Labs provide. Two of the 10 labs, the Visualization Core Lab and the KAUST Supercomputing Core Lab, are directly related to supercomputing research. "The Core Labs as a research support entity provides services to researchers, faculty and industrial partners," said Daniel Acevedo-Feliz, director of the Visualization Core Lab. "We need to be at the cutting edge of all of the technologies that we provide, and attendance at SC16 helps us do just that."
Staying at the top On November 16, the Top 500 organization again ranked the KAUST supercomputer Shaheen the no. 1 supercomputer in the Middle East. The Cray XC40 is now the 15th fastest computer in the world, according to Top 500. "Shaheen puts KAUST in an inner circle of Cray customers that includes Los Alamos, Lawrence Berkeley, and Oak Ridge National Laboratories in the U.S., as well as the leading German, Swiss and British supercomputer centers," said
Keyes. "Since these centers run many of the same packages in climate modeling, chemistry and materials science, KAUST investigators participate directly in discussions at the computational frontier of these and other domains of discovery." "The global rank of Shaheen is impressive, but the main impact of Shaheen for KAUST is that it conveys our computational DNA, as no other university yet owns and operates for its own use a computer of such capability," Keyes continued. "Shaheen is also the dominant contributor to the international computational ranking of Saudi Arabia, making it one of the top 10 countries in the world for aggregate simulation capability."
Visiting KAUST A number of high-profile visitors stopped by the KAUST booth, including Omar Ghattas of UT Austin, Deborah Bard from the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory and Jack Dongarra from the Knoxville, Tennessee-based Innovative Computing Laboratory. Thomas Schulthess of ETH Zurich also stopped by the booth. Schulthess will be one of the keynote speakers at the High-Performance Computing Saudi Arabia (HPC Saudi) event in March 2017. Poster submission and tutorial proposal deadlines are January 7, 2017. Early registration for KAUST accommodation is January 31. Visit http://www.hpcsaudi.org for complete information.
2. Daniel Acevedo-Feliz, director of the Visualization Core Lab, speaks to visitors at the University's SC16 booth.
Scan here to see more photos from SC16:
3. Jack Dongarra (center) of the
1.Thomas Schulthess of ETH Zurich
at the KAUST SC16 booth with KAUST Professor David Keyes.
Knoxville, Tennessee-based Innovative Computing Laboratory stands at the KAUST SC16 booth with Bilel Hadri (left) and Hatem Ltaief (right). Photos by Nicholas Demille.
Decoding biology’s future
By David Murphy
The KAUST Computational Bioscience Research Center (CBRC) hosted the Computational Systems Biology in Biomedicine conference from December 5 to 7 on the University’s campus, providing the opportunity for some of the leading researchers in the field of systems biology to discuss and analyze the latest applications, developments and trends in biomedicine. The conference, which was co-chaired by Vladimir Bajic, CBRC director, and Takashi Gojobori, CBRC associate director, welcomed an international group of invited speakers to KAUST from China, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S. The researchers supplemented an already strong in-Kingdom presence at the event. Mootaz Elnozahy, dean of the University’s Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science and Engineering division, noted, "The CBRC has been remarkable in the amount of change it has achieved in such a short time. Through these conferences, we want to stay connected the wider global scientific community."
Computational systems biology A considerable portion of work undertaken at the CBRC relates to computational systems biology (CBS), and throughout the collegial and thought-provoking event, attendees expanded on the conference’s main theme, discussing and debating CBS’s wider role. They also highlighted how biomedical research and applications can benefit a larger global community, not just the scientific community.
World-changing research The role played of analysis by pattern or word counts has become increasingly important in biomedicine over the past few years. This subject was covered by Michael Waterman, one of the most prominent speakers at the event and professor of biological sciences, computer science and mathematics at the University of Southern California, whose research and findings in the field haven given him the title of “the father of computational biology.” In a opening keynote lecture entitled “Statistical Issues of Sequence Comparison: Analysis by Position and Analysis by Pattern,” he highlighted how his work has contributed to some of the most widely used tools in the field, briefly covering statistical issues for global and local alignment, the SmithWaterman algorithm (which he co-developed) and the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST).
THE BEACON | JANUARY 2017
Wei Wang, director of the Scalable Analytics Institute, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), emphasized the need for clear-cut results and rapid results in her field of research during her presentation at the event. "In our line of work, we want to avoid ambiguous results. My team's philosophy is not to wait. We want to find a way to speed things up,” she said. Imene Boudellioua, a Ph.D. student from the CBRC whose research is focused the application of machine learning and data mining algorithms for functional annotation of various biological entities, also discussed how data mining and algorithms can help unlock the secret of degenerative diseases.
The CBRC has been remarkable in the amount of change it has achieved in such a short time. Through conferences, we want to stay connected the wider global scientific community." - Mootaz Elnozahy, dean of the Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science and Engineering division "This is now truly the age of personalised medicine,” she said. “An individual will have 100 to 300 unique genome variations, and we must try and predict the deleterious effects of these variants. We want to extend our research to complex diseases.”
Physiology and biology—the foundations of medicine In his keynote address at the event, Peter Hunter, director of the Auckland Bioengineering Institute at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, discussed multiscale systems biology and the physiome project.
2 "Through our research, we can try and understand why causes organ failure. We have all the information at a molecular level, but we need to scale it up to a organ level and then on to a whole body level,” he said. "Physiology and biology are the foundations of medicine. In the end, biology has to be described with mathematics. If you are importing a model, you have to know its relation in regards to other models. We achieve this through semantic indentations,” Hunter added.
Jysoo Lee, director of the KAUST Supercomputing Core Lab, highlighted that without the dedicated, resourceful and highly talented members of the University’s Supercomputing Core Lab, the type of research the symposium centered on would be increasingly difficult. “I am proud of the expertise we have and the dedicated people in the Supercomputing Core Lab,” Lee said.
Charlotte Hauser, KAUST professor of bioscience, spoke about amyloidosis and the factors driving self-assembly during her lecture on the second day of the conference. She noted self-assembly is necessary for developing small molecule therapeutic drugs that prevent amyloidosis.
In his closing remarks, Bajic said, “Our research aligns with the research thrusts at KAUST, and our pride here at KAUST is that our academic standard is high."
“DNA is the code of life—it encodes information that makes proteins,” Hauser said. “Protein folding defines all life. We humans are the best example of self-assembly in nature,” she said.
"Overseas guests, we really appreciate your attendance and your input over the past few days,” he said. “To all of you who made this symposium possible, we thank you, and we hope to have continued collaboration with you to continue to raise the profile of KAUST.”
Martin Noble, professor of structural biology and anticancer drug discovery at Newcastle University, spoke of the “data storm” facing structural biologists in drug discovery and electron microscopy.
He also thanked those who attended the conference, and especially those who travelled from abroad.
The Computational Systems Biology in Biomedicine conference was organized by the CBRC with financial support from the KAUST Office of Sponsored Research..
“The need for new drugs is growing, but the rate of producing them is not growing. Computational bioscience and structural biology play a big role in drug discovery, and these can also anticipate other issues you face later down the drug development pipeline. They can help in finding small molecules that give you a toehold in drug discovery,” he said. “Fragment-based drug discovery is a way forward, but is a data challenge, as it generates a lot of data. We need to pull together all the data from structural biology and other data to arrive at specific inhibitors that are useful as drugs,” he concluded.
Blueprint of life Stefan Knapp, professor of pharmaceutical chemistry, Goethe University Frankfurt and the University of Oxford, discussed the rational design of selective inhibitors during the conference.
1. Participants at the recent Computational Systems Biology in Biomedicine conference to listen to a research presentation. 2. Conference participants prepare to listen to a presentation from speaker Peter Hunter, director of the Auckland Bioengineering Institute at the University of Auckland. Photos courtesy of CBRC.
“Our genome gives us the blueprint of our life, and influence from the environment gives us an imprint on our genome. About 300 human proteins take part in the reading and expression of these epigenetic codes,” he said.
KAUST and Aramco break ground Saudi Aramco and KAUST broke ground on the construction of a new state-of-the-art research center on December 16, with an expected completion date of mid-2019. The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by H.E. Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi minister of energy, industry and mineral resources and vice-chairman of the KAUST board of trustees; Amin H. Nasser, Saudi Aramco president and CEO; Jean-Lou Chameau, KAUST president; Nadhmi Al-Nasr, KAUST executive vice president for administration and finance; members of the KAUST board of trustees; and a delegation of government, academic and business dignitaries. “Saudi Aramco and KAUST are leaders in technology development domestically and internationally," Al-Falih said. "Their unique roles in developing innovative and original research is essential to the future success of the energy industry in Saudi Arabia.” “The research path of Saudi Aramco is dependent on the highly strategic partnership established between ourselves and KAUST,” said Nasser. “We were here at the beginning when the KAUST vision was created, and even back then it was clear to all that these two great organizations were linked with the utmost intent in creating the Kingdom’s emerging knowledge-based economy.” The facility will allow Saudi Aramco to leverage its unique position within the R&D ecosystem at KAUST to accelerate the implementation of the company’s technology strategy. The facility will include laboratories and offices to support research in the areas of chemicals, intelligent systems, solar energy, reservoir engineering, computational modeling and environmental protection. “At KAUST, we are committed to advancing science, innovation and technology through distinctive and collaborative research that relies upon the nurturing of ideas and talent,” said Chameau. “Partnering with Saudi Aramco on this new center is the latest in a series of shared successes to foster the transition to an innovation-driven economy sustained by intellectual capital and scientific discovery.” The new center will be an 11,300 square meter research facility housing 132 scientists and researchers, and will be aimed at supporting Saudi Aramco’s upstream and downstream research domains as well as the company's environmental protection research efforts.
THE BEACON | JANUARY 2017
1 “This new building is about expanding our research needs as a business. As part of our new technology strategy we are looking to enable our research domains through capitalizing on the world-renowned scientists, exceptional facilities and international network of academic institutions at KAUST,” said Saudi Aramco CTO Ahmad Khowaiter.
Saudi Aramco and KAUST are leaders in technology development domestically and internationally. Their unique roles in developing innovative and original research is essential to the future success of the energy industry in Saudi Arabia.” - H.E. Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi minister of energy, industry and mineral resources The facility is intended to integrate with the University community and foster strong networks with other leading research and development organizations focused on solar energy, chemicals, fuel technology, robotics, hydrocarbon recovery, computational modeling and the marine environment. “To achieve our aspiration of global leadership in energy-related technology development and deployment, Saudi Aramco has adopted a strategy to expand its global R&D footprint with further collaborations in academia and industry,” Nasser stated. “These partnerships will be crucial to the company and the national agenda for the next 15 years, and they are seen as much-needed enablers to accelerate the successful delivery of technologies across the entire value chain of the energy industry.”
Supporting local students In August and September of 2016, different KAUST departments and community members took part in the fifth annual back to school campaign, which was formerly known as the School Kit Program. The Saudi Initiativesled back to school campaign aims to improve the learning environments and educational goals of children and teens in the Thuwal and Qadimah region.
Starting school with success The 2016 campaign helped support 607 students from grades one, seven and 10, and saw a 120-strong KAUST volunteer team get involved in the many activities that helped to make the program a success. The diverse group of volunteers, which included many students from The KAUST School (TKS), generously dedicated their free time to help promote the campaign by delivering school bags directly to their peers in Thuwal and Qadimah. The school bags filled with essential school supplies were provided to help local students start their school year with success.
A 'heartwarming' event “The back to school campaign experience was great, and meeting new people who were also interested in the campaign was a lot of fun,” said TKS student Nadya Ibrahim. “It was really heartwarming watching the kids' faces light up when they received the school supplies. It's important for the KAUST community to volunteer in social responsibility, as small differences do make a difference. We should continue to help our neighbors in Thuwal to build a stronger relationship and community with them.” “Our small deeds and actions have a greater effect than what we think on those around us,” added volunteer Modar Alfadly, a KAUST Ph.D. student. “Being part of the reason a kid loved going to school and started dreaming for a better future is simply priceless.”
2 Bringing the world together TKS student Lukas Ekers added, “The back to school campaign was a new experience for me, and it changed my perception of education in Thuwal and Qadimah. It is important to support neighboring communities because there are many keen young minds who have the potential to make the world a better place. By having the KAUST community volunteer in an event like this one, people learn to support each other, which brings the world together.” Through its Social Responsibility department, Saudi Initiatives is dedicated to advancing the University’s mission to be a good neighbor and responsible citizen, ensuring that the University’s intellectual and social capital is used to sustainably improve the quality of life for individuals and communities in the University’s neighboring villages. All of those who participated in the back to school campaign project helped to show support for both the students and teachers in Thuwal and Qadimah. If you would like to volunteer for the back to school campaign or programs like it, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Saudi Aramco and KAUST broke ground on the construction of a new state-of-theart research center on December 16. The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by a number of dignitaries from KAUST, Saudi Aramco, the KAUST board of trustees, the government, academia and business. 2. Thuwal and Qadimah students were
delighted with their new school supplies provided by the KAUST Saudi Initiatives-led back to school campaign volunteering activity in August and September 2016. Photo by Muhannad Abughdeeb.
My University Matthijs van Waveren Matthijs van Waveren, a research applications specialist in IT Research Computing, was born near Paris, France, before his family relocated to New York before eventually settling in Amsterdam. He has dual Dutch and French citizenship, and he noted, "I lived half of my life in the Netherlands, so I tend to feel more Dutch than French, even though I have both nationalities.” Before coming to KAUST, his career as a computer scientist led him to live and work in France, the Netherlands and the U.K. Van Waveren's work centers around the field of high-performance computing (HPC). "When I started out in computing, displays did not yet exist and the input to computers was in the form of punch cards," he said. "My first supercomputer was a CDC Cyber 205 with about the same computing power as a current Apple iPhone.” He feels KAUST offers him "a position where I can develop myself and give back my knowledge and experience to students. I also really enjoy the international character of KAUST, as it's a place where you meet people of all cultures and nationalities," he said. In his spare time, van Waveren enjoys playing Brazilian jazz music in a band he started at KAUST; playing classic music and the flute; cycling; and photography. He has showcased his musical talents by performing in Brazil, Europe, Japan and the U.S. “My passion is playing Brazilian choro and bossa nova music," he noted. "This is a cross of European classical music brought by the Portuguese to Brazil and African lundu music from Angola." Van Waveren also currently serves as the president of the KAUST Music self-directed group (SDG).
Where do you read The Beacon? This month’s submission comes from Ibrahim Dursun, a Ph.D. student in the University's Material Science and Engineering program. While on vacation in South Africa in 2016, Dursun stopped to read The Beacon at at the African continent's most southwesterly point, the Cape of Good Hope.
Art for everyone at the new Art and Photography Studios The University officially opened the new Art and Photography self-directed group (SDG) studios at the Island Recreation Club on October 4, 2016, in a ceremony hosted by Tony Valenzuela, vice president of Facilities and Community. Craig Kershaw, president of the Photography SDG, and Chris Newns, president of the Art SDG, also welcomed guests to the event and thanked those involved in the establishment and support of the SDGs and in the setup of the studios. "I hope anyone who is an expert in any art medium will volunteer to teach in our new facilities—the Art SDG relies on people with a passion for art to share this with the community,” Newns said. Visitors at the opening event got first dibs on trying out the new facilities, producing artwork in different media in the new studios. “It is so good to see the studios come alive with the hum and activity of so many kids and adults being creative," Kershaw added. The opening night also included an art and photography exhibition featuring work from some of the Art and Photography groups' members. “Now that we have beautiful studios to work in, a bright future beckons for anyone who is a beginner to an experienced artist in the KAUST community. Thank you to KAUST for making our dream come true," Newns said.
Located just outside the city of Cape Town, the Cape of Good Hope is an iconic and rocky promontory at the southern end of Cape Peninsula in the country’s Western Cape Province.
The cape was first discovered by the Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias in 1488 when Dias was on a return voyage to his homeland of Portugal after a trip to determine the southern limits of the African continent and to investigate the possibility of new sea trading routes. It is believed that the cape was named the Cape of Good Hope because its discovery was a good omen that India could be reached by sea from Europe. Today, most of the Cape Peninsula, including the Cape of Good Hope, is is one of eight protected areas in the region and has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for the richness of its plants and wildlife. Dursun described the area as “a beautiful place with an amazing ocean view. I was happy that KAUST was represented at one of the southernmost parts of the African continent.”
THE BEACON | JANUARY 2017
3 1, 2, 3. The KAUST community enjoyed visiting the Art and Photography self-directed group studios as part of the opening of the facilities on October 4, 2016. Photos by Linda Polik.