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Speaker Details


Dr. Farouk El-Baz has recently retired as Research Professor and Director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University. He participated in NASA’s Apollo program (1967–72) as Secretary of Lunar Landing Site Selection, and Chairman of Astronaut Training in Visual Observations and Photography. During 1973-82, he established and directed the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. In 1982, he became Vice-President for Science and Technology at Itek Optical Systems before joining Boston University in 1986. He pioneered the applications of space photography to the study of arid lands, particularly to groundwater exploration in deserts of Egypt, Oman, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates. He received numerous honors, including NASA’s Apollo Achievement Award, the Nevada Medal, and the Egyptian Order of Merit - First Class. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, London, and of the Geological Society of America. The latter has established “The Farouk El-Baz Desert Research Award” in his honor, and its International Section awarded him the Distinguished Career Award. He served as Chairman of the U.S. National Committee for Geological Sciences of the National Academies and is a member of the U.S. National Academy; of Engineering. He served as Science Advisor to late President Anwar Sadat, and currently serves on the Advisory Council of Scientists and Technologists to President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi of Egypt.
Development Corridor
In January 2011, the youth of Egypt revolted against a corrupt government, which lacked vision and imagination. They had lost hope in a bright future for Egypt – a vast country whose population remained confined along the Nile River and Delta. Its cities and villages are severely overcrowded, and its education and health systems cannot cope with the dense population. In addition, over the past 20 years, fertile land has been lost to urban growth at the rate of 30,000 feddans per year. At that rate all of Egypt’s fertile land of 5.5 million feddans would disappear in 183 years. Thus, there is a dire need for major changes, including the opening of new land for living, not only for the present 80 million people, but also for the expected addition of 60 million by the year 2050. This proposal of a Development Corridor is designed to solve the looming crises. It includes a north-south axis starting at a new port near El-Alemein along the Mediterranean coastline. This axis would run parallel to the Nile Delta until the latitude of Cairo then southward parallel to the Nile Valley to the border of Sudan, a total of 12,000 kilometers. It would include an eight-lane highway, a railroad track, a water pipeline (about one meter in diameter) from Lake Nasser for human consumption and services, and an electricity line to be connected to the main grid for future production of solar energy. The living area east of the north-south axis would be served by at least 12 east-west branches to connect the main axis to densely populated cities along its path. The new strip of land that would be open for development in the plain between the north-south axis and the inhabited land is 10.5 million acres. This is nearly double the presently used land area. This expanse of land would be utilized in new urban communities, education cities, hospitals, agriculture, agro-industries, factories, sports arenas, tourist sites, etc. Such a major project would require a decade to complete; perhaps the first five years would be devoted to the east-west branches to immediately ease population pressures. Another five would be devoted to establishing the main north-south transportation and energy axis. However, form the start, young people would either secure jobs in the building phase, or plan for economic development activities along the east-west branches, with hope for a better future