The Little Train that Could... Teach

November 23, 2009

Source: Israel 21c


A new Hebrew University project called "Scientists on the Trains," promotes education on the rails as the institution sends out its professors to teach the Israeli public in transit.


The idea kicked off this month, with the university's ultimate teacher, past President Emeritus Hanoch Gutfreund, who rode the morning train from Modi'in to Tel Aviv lecturing the public about the love letters written by Einstein and his wives.


In cooperation with Israel Railways, Hebrew University is planning on running a series of seminars on the train in the coming year, as commuters head from the satellite town of Modi'in to Tel Aviv in the morning and then back again in the evening. The professor will be in a designated car and will lecture to about 60 people on each trip.


The schedule and content for this pilot project is still flexible, but future lecturers will most likely explore topics such as global warming, the creation of Earth and how the brain works. About 15 professors have signed on to the project, which has implications beyond education. It could be used as a model to encourage sustainable transportation, encouraging more people all over the world to use public transport and leave the polluting car at home.


Since the first lecture was advertised, the university has seen over-whelming interest in the idea from the local media.

Updated: Dec. 01, 2009