According to the motto “Geospatial Innovation for Society”, around 1100 participants from 40 countries attended GI_Forum and AGIT 2014 to exchange information on the latest trends in technological, analytical, societal and educational domains, from 1-4 July at the University of Salzburg. The GI_Forum is jointly organized by the University of Salzburg Interfaculty Department for Geoinformatics – Z_GIS, the Commission for GIScience at the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW-GIScience), and the Department of Sustainable Tourism and Regional Development at GUtech.
This year 81 contributions were selected by the Programme Committee to be presented in oral and poster sessions. The Programme Committee chairs, Adrijana Car and Thomas Jekel, are very pleased with their quality: “The quality of papers presented this year was excellent. The reaction from the delegates and keynote speakers showed that GI_Forum has become an annual event that bridges the gap between technical development and academic research and their application for society. This clearly indicates a slight shift towards technologies, but with the end-user in mind.”
The GI_Forum contributions are available online at http://epub.oeaw.ac.at/gi_forum. Like in 2013, our traditional publisher Wichmann/VDE VERLAG shared publishing duties with the Austrian Academy of Sciences Press. This co-edition allows us to provide a hard-copy volume – which our readers are used to – as well as a professionally edited and fully indexed online edition of the GI_Forum contributions. The earlier “proceedings” now have evolved into an online journal, and measures have been taken for its indexing in relevant channels.
The AGIT EXPO offered a platform to 60 exhibiting companies to demonstrate the latest development trends in GI technologies and services. The stalls and events at and around the EXPO were intensively visited by the conference participants. The four excellent keynote speakers - Andre Skupin, Christoph Schlieder, Michael Gould and Diana Sinton - linked in the overall conference topic and showed how GI research and development may support society, linking academic endeavour and societal needs. This year (a) the Comenius project SPACIT, (b) participants of a workshop on linked open data as well as (c) initiatives for use of GIS in health and education shared their insights at the GI_Forum. In the Young Researchers’ Corner young scientists met the keynote speakers in an informal atmosphere, discussed their research and received impulses for their further academic careers.
The interdisciplinary GI_Forum has become an annual event for a vibrant GI community representing academia, industry, government, and education to advance the dialogue on progress in GIScience and to explore new research directions. The symposium is co-located with the highly regarded annual German language AGIT conference (www.agit.at).
The 13th International Conference on Semi-Solid Processing of Alloys and Composites (S2P) will be held in Muscat at GUtech between 15 – 17 September. The International Conference will be sponsored by The Research Council (TRC).
“We are proud to host this prestigious international engineering conference at our university,” said Prof. Dr. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech, who is also head of the organizing committee of the S2P conference. The conference focuses on the processing of semi-solid alloys and composites which has been invented 30 years ago at the Harvard University. Nowadays industrially light metals like aluminium or magnesiumar used to produce parts for example in the automotive or aerospace industry. “There are two conventional ways to produce a metallic parts, forging of solid material with cold or casting of liquid metals with heat. As for semi-solid processing the metal is used in a semi solid state, which then has the texture of toothpaste, which is neither a liquid nor a solid,” said Professor Modigell. This gives certain technological advantages. The conference will address recent developments and applications of semi-solid processing.
The S2P International Conference has a 30 years old tradition. “Two years back, the conference was in South Africa, before in China, Belgium, Germany and in Japan,” said Professor Modigell. International S2P conferences are a forum for scientists and engineers of different disciplines to learn, share and disseminate knowledge and to develop a mutual perspective about topical fundamental issues. During the S2P conferences specialists from all over the world - from Denmark to Venezuela, meet every two years. Results of engineering research and experience as well as scientific issues are relevant for the conference.
Online registration: https://www.s2p2014.gutech.edu.om/Registration.aspx
Online registration: https://www.s2p2014.gutech.edu.om/Registration.aspx
SALZBURG/AUSTRIA GUtech is holding the 8th Annual Conference Geoinformatics Forum Salzburg (GI_Forum), from 1-4 July in Austria. Together with its counterpart the German-speaking conference Applied Geoinformatics (AGIT) and EXPO, GI_Forum shares the innovative AGIT Expo exhibit and offers stimulating social events. For the second time GUtech is one of the strategic sponsors of the GI_Forum, which is worldwide one of the leading conferences in Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIS). More than 1000 participants from over 40 countries are attending both conferences .
“The main goal of this annual GI_Forum is to exchange information on the latest trends in technological, analytical, societal and educational fields, according to the theme of the conference Geospatial Innovation for Society ,“ said Prof. Dr. Adrijana Car, Associate Professor at the Department of Sustainable Tourism and Regional Development of GUtech and Chair of the GI_Forum Programme Committee. Prof. Adrijana will give a special workshop on GIS management in vulnerable environments, based her research done on Galapagos Islands beginning of this year. GUtech is represented through oral and poster presentations conducted by Prof. Adrijana and her students. “This year, those submissions that successfully passed double blind review process, are published in the electronic journal accessible at http://epub.oeaw.ac.at/gi_forum ”, said Prof. Adrijana .
GIS is applied in many different fields such as the protection of natural resources, health and environment, risk management, and sustainable management of energy and infrastructure, where geographical data needs to be stored, managed and analysed .
The conference will include a number of keynote sessions, paper and poster presentations, workshops, software demos and exhibition. One of the keynote speakers is Prof. Dr . Anthony Robinson of Pennsylvania State University who will give a talk on “Expanding the Reach of Geospatial Education ”.
To encourage young researchers in their scientific research careers, several events will be held on the sidelines of the GI_Forum .
For further details please contact Adrijana.email@example.com
A group of students from the University of Applied Sciences in Munich, Department of Tourism Management, visited the Department of Sustainable Tourism and Regional Development (STRD) of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) recently.
"Our STRD programme encourages and facilitates a multi-cultural exchange of ideas and experiences. Since 2012, our university has a well-established partnership with the University of Applied Sciences in Munich," said Prof Heba Aziz, head of the STRD Department.
To familiarise themselves with tourism, local culture and the people in Oman, the 15 students and two professors from Germany interacted with the Omani and international students of the STRD Department, who gave different presentations about the country and their studies at the GUtech. During the visit to the GUtech, the German students also had an opportunity to tour the Halban campus.
They also attended a joint workshop to discuss the profile and different experiences of German tourists visiting Oman and Arab tourists in Germany and about how tourist sites could be designed to accommodate the requirements of the tourists. GUtech and the University of Applied Sciences in Munich have been working on a joint research project to study the profile of German tourists visiting Oman, compared to Omani tourists visiting Germany.
Last year, the STRD students visited the University of Applied Sciences in Munich. "I am looking forward to welcoming a new batch of students in 2015. Tourism is now a main pillar of Oman`s strategic vision, and I believe that our programme is unique in the region," said Heba Aziz.
Healthy lifestyle is not a choice, but a necessity. And it can be highly customized to suit personal choices. This was the message that was conveyed to the students of GUtech by Dr Hakim Hassan, a Senior Consultant Osteopath at Finland Osteopathy Clinic in Muscat, during two presentations at GUtech. Dr. Hakim noted that individual body types count in the selection of right sports, and even the right shoes. “The right sports can help us expand our body usage capacity from the usual 10% to higher percentages. Since body-mind can be considered a single unit, the more we can use our body capacity, the more can we utilize our mental abilities as well,” he said.
Dr Hakim, with more than 20 years of experience, had the students completely glued to his highly motivational speech that highlighted the significance of embracing sports activities as an integral part of life at a young age itself. “Start exercising or indulge in sports now, and avoid infirmities, and exhaustion catching up with you at 50,” he exhorted the students. “The fact is when you are pushed to the corner, that very state of hopelessness leads you to think of better options and effective alternatives…and sport is a way of pushing yourself to test the limits. Striving hard is the key to success in any field.”
The two separate motivational-and-informative lectures on the importance of being fit to achieve success in all areas of life were organized by the Sports Department of GUtech. “We arranged two lectures on “healthy lifestyle” by Dr Hakim Hassan as part of the ‘Listening and Note Taking’ module of GUtech course curriculum. Students are required to listen attentively, and answer questions raised at the end of the session,” said Gunhild Pfaff, Sports Officer at GUtech.
His presentation covered a host of topics related to fitness and agility including understanding pain, dehydration, headaches, sleeplessness and stress, right diet and nutrients, sports for different body types, how to choose the right shoes, among others.
The modern life being so hectic, and a vast majority finding it nearly impossible to attend regular fitness training or take up regular sport activities, he suggests using Terra Bands and Resistance Bands as a convenient workout tool. “You can use more than 40 types of body exercises using a simple Resistance Band,” he said, demonstrating a few simple workouts.
Talking on food, he informed the students about the negative qualities of aspartame, an artificial sweetener used as a sugar substitute in some foods and carbonated beverages. Aspartame-based drinks and foods trick tick us into overeating by making the brain unable to control energy intake, he said.
GUtech and the Geological Society of Oman (GSO) jointly organized a seminar and exhibition on ‘Crystals, Forbidden Symmetries and Quasi-Crystals’ at the Oil and Gas Exhibition Center, in Muscat recently. The event coincided with the 100th anniversary of the conferment of Nobel Prize in Physics on Max von Laue in 1914 for his path-breaking work on crystals, and also marked UNESCO’s observance of year 2014 as the International Year of Crystallography.
Lauding the whole effort at promoting a spirit of research among young students, GSO President Dr. Mohammed Al Kindy commented: “The event was a manifestation of the high level of practical training and theoretical learning provided to the students of GUtech. Though in their first year, the students’ in-depth knowledge and confidence were amply visible during their presentations on a highly sophisticated and complex topic like crystallography. For the Geological Society of Oman (GSO), the event marks an important step forward in its mission of supporting and developing students in Geosciences-related subjects.” The crystal samples provided by GUtech received great attention from the audience. The samples are were displayed at the Oil and Gas and Planetarium Centre near PDO and are now on display at GUtech, Halban Campus, Faculty of Science Applied Geosciences, 4th floor.
The lectures and exhibition were conceived and coordinated by Prof. Dr. Michaela Bernecker (Department of Applied Geoscience, GUtech) and Prof. Dr. Florian Rupp (Department of Mathematics and Science, GUtech) with support from GSO. The session began with an introductory talk by Prof. Florian, followed by talks from Applied Geosciences (AGEO) students of GUtech. In his speech Prof. Florian illustrated the scientific milestones in crystallography studies that significantly contributed to today’s understanding of crystalline structures.
Elaborating how crystallography is connected to oil and gas, Prof. Michaela said: “The crystals of the mineral Dolomite form a sedimentary rock, and this can be a reservoir rock for oil and gas, provided the required porosity and permeability between the crystals are present,” she added: “The minerals found in nature are crystalline. In Oman you can find Quartz (as sand in the desert) or Calcite in limestone (used as building stones) and ore minerals like Pyrite and Chromite (used as industrial minerals) in the mountains of Oman.”
The talks highlighted the trailblazing discoveries till date including Steno’s Law, Planar and Spatial Packing classifications, and X-ray diffraction, among others. A discussion on the role of symmetries and detailed analyses of allowed and forbidden rotations in crystals made the talks quite informative: A 5-fold rotation symmetry was considered to be strictly forbidden, but the discovery of the same in an alloy crystal in the 1980s proved to be a game-changer in the world of crystallography. The very special spatial packings that make this forbidden rotation symmetry possible were surveyed and connected to the possible forbidden symmetries that occur in crystalline structures known as quasi-crystals.
GUtech Applied Geosciences students presented special talks on Mineral Symmetries, Symmetries of Quasi Crystals, Optical Properties of Crystals, and Crystals under the Microscope. The exhibition also showcased various crystals and quasi-crystals, a collection of illustrations and important achievements in the area of crystallography. The display of the many fascinating forms of pyrite, a commonly found mineral in a variety of geological formations, was the center-piece of the exhibition.
The Applied Geosciences Department is working with GSO to build a network of geoscientists that will enable a wider understanding of the fascinating geology of Oman and also contribute to its protection, apart from educating the young generation.
For further details please contact Prof. Michaela: firstname.lastname@example.org
BARKA A group of MSc students of the Department of Petroleum Geosciences at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) went on their third geological excursion to the Ardennes in Belgium in May. The geological field-trip was part of a series of excursions conducted during the MSc studies - two in Oman, one in Dorset (UK), and one in Belgium.
In Belgium students had to study field outcrops and translate this into the Oil/Gas Field Development Strategies, also called Integrated Field Development Exercise. “Studying outcrops of geological phenomena at surface, helps petroleum geologists to better predict the characteristics of petroleum reservoirs in the subsurface. Such understanding improves the effectiveness of the oil and gas production,” said Professor Dr. Wiekert Visser, Head of the MSc Petroleum Geosciences at GUtech, who worked as a geoscientist for Shell International for many years. Oil and gas fields occur “underground” or usually termed “in the subsurface”. "Because everything is subsurface, we cannot really see the details of the reservoir rocks which hold oil and gas," said Prof. Wiekert.
The three days field work in Belgium was followed by one day in the Netherlands, where students conducted a full-day exercise on a set of (rock) cores from wells drilled in an oil-field. This formed a very nice transition from studying outcrops to the oil field reality.
“Oman has excellent possibilities for geological field trips and geologists from all over the world do come here to study the outcrops. The two first geological field excursions of the MSc programme in Oman exploited these high quality outcrops by studying the main reservoir sequences of Oman, and the important aspects of fracturing and faulting,” said Prof. Dr. Wiekert. In the UK students went through an extensive integrated oil and gas exploration exercise using field data. The South of the UK, Dorset, is world famous for the potential to conduct such an exercise, and this is why GUtech MSc students went to that particular area last year.
The MSc in Petroleum Geosciences is a part-time programme, conducted for two years, including several excursions. For further details please contact Prof. Wiekert: Wiekert.email@example.com
Ninety-three students of GUtech who excelled in academics, campus involvement, community service, sports and academic competitions were honored at a ceremony held at the GUtech campus on 3 June. Ali Al Habsi, National Football Team goalkeeper was the guest of honor and distributed the awards to the students.
“The GUtech Sports Award recognizes voluntarily engagement as instructor/trainer/coordinator or guide outstanding achievements of GUtech teams participating in competitions outside the university and for the first time, students with an extreme high attendance in the GUtech fitness programme. I am sure that we will be able to extend those categories in the coming semester,” said Gunhild Pfaff, Sports Officer at GUtech.
Prof Modigell, Rector of GUtech, congratulated the winners and exhorted the student community to meaningfully involve themselves with various student activities and programmes held at the university and to contribute to the welfare of the community, while aiming for academic excellence. During a very motivational speech, Ali Habsi called upon the students to get actively involved in various volunteering programmes to bring about a positive change in their communities. He also stressed the importance of participating in sports and games as a means of staying fit and refreshing the mind, which together will lead students toward achieving academic excellence.
Healthy lifestyle is not a choice, but a necessity. And it can be highly customized to suit personal choices. This was the message that was conveyed to GUtech students by Dr Hakim Hassan, Senior Consultant Osteopath at Finland Osteopathy Clinic, during a talk held at GUtech recently.
Dr. Hakim noted that individual body types count in the selection of right sports, and even the right shoes. “The right sports can help us expand our body usage capacity from the usual 10% to higher percentages. Since body-mind can be considered a single unit, the more we can use our body capacity, the more can we utilize our mental abilities as well,” he said.
Dr Hakim, having 20 years of professional experience, had the students completely glued to his motivational speech that highlighted the significance of embracing sports activities as an integral part of life at a young age. “Start exercising or indulge in sports now, and avoid infirmities, and exhaustion catching up with you at 50,” he exhorted the students. “The fact is when you are pushed to the corner, that very state of hopelessness leads you to think of better options and effective alternatives. Sports is a way of pushing yourself to test the limits. Striving hard is the key to success in any field.”
The two separate motivational-and-informative lectures on the importance of being fit to achieve success in all areas of life were organized by the GUtech Sports Office. “We have arranged two lectures on “healthy lifestyle” by Dr Hakim Hassan as part of the ‘Listening and Note Taking’ module of GUtech course curriculum. Students are required to listen attentively, and answer questions raised at the end of the session,” said Gunhild Pfaff, Sports Officer.
Dr. Hakim`s presentation covered a host of topics related to fitness and agility including understanding pain, dehydration, headaches, sleeplessness and stress, right diet and nutrients, sports for different body types, how to choose the right shoes, among others.
The modern life being so hectic, and a vast majority finding it nearly impossible to attend regular fitness training or to take up regular sports activities, he suggested using Terra Bands and Resistance Bands as a convenient workout tool. “You can use more than 40 types of body exercises using a simple resistance band,” he said, demonstrating a few simple workouts.
GUtech has been partnering with Dr Hakim for a while on various health and fitness programs for students.
To improve e-learning teaching techniques of academic staff, GUtech has recently held a workshop on Blended Learning, also called “Computer Aided Distance Learning”. „Our goal is to apply blended learning in all our study-programmes and to improve and accelerate the learning process of our students,” said Prof. Dr. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech.
The workshop was conducted by Prof. Dr. Heribert Nacken, expert for Blended Learning and Exploratory Teaching Space at RWTH Aachen University (Germany), and UNESCO Chair for Hydrological Change and Water Management. “The future of e-learning will be blended learning – a mix of traditional instructor led courses plus self-directed e-learning courses,” said Prof. Heribert. During the tree day workshop GUtech staff was introduced into the basics of blended learning.
The aim of blended learning is to improve the learning process through adequate mixed teaching techniques (see figure attached). “There are three different categories of learners: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learners. The human knowledge processing distinguishes oral and visual inputs. But the processing capacity of those input channels is limited,” said Prof. Heribert. The best is to structure the topics in a linear way and to use a combination of text, diagrams and illustrations. “Explanations and descriptions referring to the illustrations and diagrams are better understood in a spoken form. When contents are presented in a written and spoken way, the knowledge process is influenced in a negative way,” said Prof. Heribert.
The blended learning workshop at GUtech was conducted according to the concept „train-the-trainer“. “Those who are introduced into blended learning techniques should be able to share their knowledge with the other academic staff in their departments,” said Prof. Heribert. A second follow-up workshop will be held end of this year at GUtech.
GUtech will introduce a new Bachelor of Science programme in Logistics, in cooperation with the German partner-university RWTH Aachen University in the next semester, winter 2014/2015.
Like all study-programmes at GUtech, the Bachelor of Science in Logistics will be tailored to the requirements of the Sultanate and the region, yet drawing on state-of-art expertise accumulated at RWTH Aachen University. A strong emphasis will be placed on the employability of GUtech graduates. “The Bachelor of Science in Logistics aims at providing students with a solid and in-depth knowledge of logistics, supply chain management, and transportation management. The programme combines a comprehensive education in engineering subjects of logistics and in business subjects of logistics and supply chain management. Graduates of the programme will be able to take over responsible administrative or management positions in logistics in the Sultanate of Oman and the region or to enrol in further postgraduate programmes in Oman or abroad,” said Dr. Juergen Werner, Deputy-Rector for Academic Affairs at GUtech. Many elements of the BSc in Logistics will be accomplished in cooperation with local and international industry partners. Also, generic skills such as critical thinking, creative thinking, life-long learning, intercultural communication, and teamwork are seen as essential and are integrated throughout our curriculum.
In addition to critical thinking, communication skills, life-long-learning, will develop Knowledge about business methods and theories. “Graduates will have gained a sound knowledge of the most important business and management theories. They will be able to understand and evaluate central functions of a business and also be able to relate individual business questions to a wider economic and social context.This well-rounded education will allow the graduates to work as logistics engineer, planner and manager or as a supply chain manager in a multitude of areas in industry or government in Oman or abroad,” said Dr. Juergen Werner.
The Bachelor of Science in Logistics is taught as a full-time programme. The duration of the BSc in Logistics is eight semesters. It encompasses a work-load equivalent to 240 credit points in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) or 600 credit points in the Oman Qualification Framework (OQF), distributed over eight semesters. Students graduating with a cumulative GPA between 2.5 and 3.4 will be awarded a degree with Honours (Second Class). The degree programme will be taught in English, including written and oral tests, seminar papers and the BSc thesis. German is taught as a foreign language. Students will also be expected to develop communication skills in German, as the programme requires travelling to Germany to complete coursework at RWTH Aachen University.
RWTH Aachen University was established in
1870, the first chair in Economics and Commerce was introduced at the
university already back in 1870. Since its establishment, the School of
Economics and Commerce continued to grow and is currently teaching more
than 1.300 students at the undergraduate, graduate and executive level.
Furthermore, the School cooperates with the Engineering faculties of
RWTH Aachen University to offer Business and Engineering programmes with
different fields of specialization. The School of Business currently
employs about 30 professors and 100 research staff. Students at RWTH
Aachen University and at GUtech benefit from an applied scientific
education, close linkages to the industry, and an early integration of
education and research.
A pass in a relevant stream of GUtech’s Foundation Programme or equivalent academic results entitles students to enrol into the Bachelor’s degree programme in Logistics. As English is the tuition language at GUtech, students must demonstrate adequate competency, equivalent to at least IELTS 6.0.
Introducing parents to the multi-dimensional aspects of the institution including academics, facilities and regulations; and making them partners in enabling academic excellence of students, GUtech has organized a Parents Orientation Day at its Halban campus recently. The parents day began with an introduction to the GUtech campus and the complete range of facilities offered to students. The parents were taken on a tour of the various facilities at GUtech.
They were then briefed about the rules and regulations that covered grades, attendance and disciplinary actions. They got to know about the state-of-the-art sports facilities, the Students Council, various clubs and on- and off-campus activities organized regularly. This was followed by briefings on fee structure, payment modules and transportation and accommodation options.
A highlight of the event was the session on German language and the cultural trips, presented by Andrea Cornelissen, German lecturer, and DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) representative. Elaborating on the cultural trips, she said: “It’s not just dry academics at GUtech. Our students get the opportunity to travel to Germany or another European country as part of their course. They are taught German at our parent university RWTH Aachen’s Language Centre. Further, they are provided ample scope to get to know German culture firsthand through a host of cultural activities that include excursions to neighboring countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium, and sightseeing trips through magnificent and historic German cities.”
The subsequent presentation was on the various foundation programs including the Core Foundation programme, Academic Foundation programme, IELTS and IC3.
Finally, members of various departments including Urban Planning and Architectural Design, Sustainable Tourism and Regional Development, Applied Geosciences, Engineering and Computer Science explained the key aspects of respective department’s programmes.
Nawal al Lawati, student affairs manager at GUtech commented that “A parent orientation is very important as GUtech is an international university, and it’s essential that parents have a solid understanding of the dynamic GUtech culture, the various academic and recreational facilities, and also the high standards of academics and student discipline. The participation from parents was quite wonderful.”
recently signed a contribution agreement with the German University of
Technology in Oman (GUtech) that will help the university in its efforts
to compete in Shell’s upcoming Eco-Marathon challenge, scheduled to
take place in Manila, the Philippines, in early 2015. Chris
Breeze, Shell’s Country Chairman in Oman, signed the agreement with
Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUTech, at an event earlier
this week. The event took place at GUtech’s campus in
Halban, Muscat and included a presentation from the university’s
Eco-Marathon team and tour of GUTech’s Eco-Marathon workshop. The group
of 12 GUtech students is looking forward to realize their ideas of a
fuel–efficient car. “We have determined
the material to be used for this project- the compression will be made
of aluminium and we will use a diesel engine. The frame of the car will
be designed at GUtech and the shell will be built at the GUtech
Engineering workshop,” said Mohammed Omar, team leader and GUtech
student of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at GUtech. The
students will design and built the car in their free time. The team
found it challenging to get all suitable car parts.
Shell will provide GUtech with seed funding to help the university build an ultra fuel efficient vehicle for next year’s race. Vehicles
in Shell’s Eco-marathon programme can use any conventionally available
source of energy including diesel, gasoline and Gas-to-Liquids (GTL), as
well as alternative fuels such as hydrogen, ethanol, solar and battery
In his opening remarks at the event, Chris Breeze gave some insight into why Shell conducts the Eco-Marathon programme. He stated “The
purpose of Shell’s Eco-Marathon competition is to bring together
today’s leaders and future innovators, along with people who are
passionate about energy issues. Shell is committed to
helping the world meet its growing energy needs in a responsible way
and, by participating in Shell’s Eco-Marathon, GUtech is helping us do
exactly that.” Mr. Breeze continued by offering his advice to GUtech’s team. He stated “Your journey in the lead up to the event, and your journey on the track itself, will not be easy. A project like this requires teamwork, resilience, and compromise. I urge you to stick together, to listen to each other, and to pull your own weight.”
attend the EcoMarathon is a big challenge for our students and the aims
of the competition fit perfectly to the philosophy of GUtech’s
educational principles: The students shall learn as early as possible to
apply their knowledge for practical purposes to realize new and better
solutions. Beside the technical issues the students have, for example,
to deal with project-management and to learn about team-work" stated
Professor Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell.
is now set to join over 500 universities and schools in over 40
countries worldwide, including universities in Saudi Arabia, Egypt,
Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Iraq. "I
am very happy and proud of the achievements of our students, realized
within solely two months. Their proposal just tells us that “they want
to win the first place!” They have managed to build a team and to
distribute the tasks among themselves in very professional way. The
strong theoretical knowledge they have got at GUtech will enable them to
accomplish their project," said Prof. Dr. Najah Al Mhanna, Head of the
Engineering Department at GUtech.
aim of the Shell Eco-Marathon programme is to encourage students to
develop innovative vehicles that exemplify fuel-efficiency and the
future of transportation. Currently, the world’s leading teams complete the 15km competition distance on a teaspoon of fuel. The current record for a gasoline prototype vehicle, the same model that GUtech’s team hopes to build, stands at 3,771km/l. This is approximately from Muscat to Athens, Greece on a single liter of fuel.
competition dates back to 1939. Since its inception, competitions have
been held across Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific. Shell recently
launched the initiative in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
“Building team spirit, relieving stress, and fostering positive competition among youngsters” –
“Futsal is relatively a new entrant in the sports scene of Oman. But as an indoor sport, it commands great significance for the student community. It helps build team spirit, goes a long way in relieving stress, and fosters positive competition among youngsters. Competitions like these are real fun and encourage students who aren’t familiar with the game to get a feel of it real time,” Gunhild commented. In all, 85 players, representing 12 teams, played 16 matches at the fully equipped Sports Hall of GUtech.
GUtech has one of the best futsal teams in the Sultanate, and the team members are all well trained and experienced. The GUtech team took part in the Inter-university futsal competition held in Belgium last year, and put on an impressive performance there.
“Each team had two players from our university futsal team. This was done to ensure that all players get to learn from them. Also presence of trained futsal players greatly enhances the overall sports spirit,” Gunhild remarked. According to Mahmood al Ruqaishi, coach of the GUtech futsal team, who was part of the Belgium team, “Futsal is a great indoor game. By organizing matches like these, other students come to appreciate the game and also GUtech’s indoor facilities. Students, who feel they are up to it, can go for further training here.” Futsal is played on a hard court between two teams of five players each, one of whom being the goalkeeper. A smaller ball with less bounce than a regular football is used.
BARKA It was an evening of festival, but with a noble cause. The Charity Food Festival held at GUtech on Saturday, 5 April with the theme “Eat, Drink, Help Those In Need”. The event proved to be a great occasion to indulge the taste buds and raise funds for the benefit of the Omani Association for the Disabled. The Food Festival was organized by the Department of Students Affairs and the Students Council of GUtech.
“There were a large number of families from the community that came out to support a worthy cause which made the Charity Food Festival a successful event. The aim of this event is to get the people from the community to support a worthy cause,” said Ayisha Al-Bright of the Department of Student Affairs. The event included 12 vendors giving out food samples, and cultural performances with the ABA choir, a talk on Healthy Eating, a Black Box Cooking competition which made the event entertaining and unique. A special area was set up for kids’ cookery classes, where little boys and girls brimming with joy and anticipation were guided through the fascinating world of cuisine.
“This is our first ever charity food festival here. Buoyed by its huge success, we are planning to conduct this festival every year with a better mix of events and activities,” one of the organizers commented. Renowned chef Issa Al Lamki from Mandoos Restaurant evaluated the students’ recipes and culinary masterpieces and declared the winners, who were awarded medals and prizes. There was also a raffle draw.
Major sponsors of the event included Al Bustan Palace Hotel; Lulu Hypermarkets; Dahabi; Dana; Lake Land; Activity Time; Activity Fitness; Sodexo; D’Arey’s Kitchen; and A’Rayaf; Ahmed bin Majid Private School.
The Vice-President of the German Bundestag (parliament), H.E. Claudia Roth, visited the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) on Sunday 23 March. The vice-resident was received by H.E. Abdullah Al Sarmi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Higher Education and the members of the Rectorate of GUtech as well as academic and administrative staff and a group of GUtech students of the Student Council. The Vice-President visited the GUtech EcoHaus, that is currently constructed beside the GUtech main building. Furthermore, the Vice-president visited the exhibition of the International Conference on Challenges of Urbanization in Arab Gulf Countries, held at GUtech.
After a short introduction, held by the Rector Prof. Dr. Michael Modigell, H.E. Claudia Roth spoke to eight members of the GUtech Student Council. “I feel at home in this building,” said H.E. Claudia Roth about the , a green GUtech campus building. Claudia Roth was heading the Green party in Germany in 2001/2002 and between 2004 and 2013. In 1985 she started her political career as a spokeswoman of the green party in Germany and was elected as the leader of the Green Party in the European Parliament in 1994. “I am happy to hear that our green ideas are considered and applied here in Oman. In Germany many jobs have been created in renewable energies to fight against climate change,” she said to the GUtech students. “When we design houses or urban areas, we always think about green aspects. We try to integrate green designs and alternative traffic systems, for example car free areas or cycling paths and public transportation,” said a student of the Department of Urban Planning.
During the discussion with the students, the Vice-President also stressed that there are different housing projects in Germany: “We have so-called housing projects for four generations which are getting more and more popular in Germany,” The students mentioned that according to the Arab traditions and values in Oman several generations of one family are living under one roof. “Cultures are different but there are common values,” said H.E. Claudia Roth. She encouraged the female and male students to realize their goals. “Every human being has unique capacities,” she said while especially encouraging the female students to persue their dreams and to balance work and family life.
A group of 3rd year students of the Department of Engineering visited the Sohar Aluminium plant in March. The group was accompanied by the Rector of GUtech, Prof. Dr. Michael Modigell, and Prof. Dr. Annalisa Pola of the University of Brescia, Italy, who is a fly-in-professor for the lecture “Material Science” at the GUtech. The University of Brescia is leading in the field of metallurgy in Italy and cooperation partner of the GUtech. “The aim of our visit was to apply the theory and to allow our future engineers to observe each step of the aluminium production. Thanks to the kindness and availability of each person who guided our group, the visit was an educational experience at a very interesting and particular industry in Oman,” said Prof. Modigell.
At the beginning of their visit, the group was introduced to the safety rules. Equipped with uniforms, the students were then allowed to enter the production plant, starting from the anodes construction department, where they could see how carbon anodes were built up. “We could see the different processes that are involved in the aluminium production, starting with the mixing of coke, pitch and anodic residues followed by the pressing, heating, up to the rodding phase, during which molten cast iron is poured into the anodes to fix the rods,” said Prof. Pola.
The GUtech group then visited the potline, where they learnt in detail how the cells work following which they visited the Casthouse where the molten aluminium is cast into finished products. The group also visited the Oman Aluminium Rolling Company, where they could witness each phase of the horizontal strip casting process and formation of aluminium coils. The pure liquid aluminium, coming from Sohar Aluminium plant is sent for being rolled in sheets and coils of different thicknesses and used for several applications. The excellent coordination between Sohar Aluminium and Oman Aluminium Rolling Company sets a great example of two companies cooperating successfully.
BARKA The International Student Group of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has organized the first International Night entitled “Unity in Diversity” at the university’s premises in Halban yesterday. Throughout the evening, GUtech students presented poems in German and Arabic, a fashion show of Bangladeshi dresses was showcased and traditional Sri Lankan dances were shown. “The event shows the commitment and the vision of our university being an international university. We appreciate the work of the International Student Group to unite all nationalities,” said Dr. Juergen Werner, Deputy-Rector for Academic Affairs in his speech.
International students and staff attended the event in their traditional attires, making the whole ambience vibrant with rich colours and beautiful dresses. Various food stalls, boutiques, and quiz programs also kept up the multi-cultural spirit of the evening.
“During my initial days at GUtech I was surprised on observing the cultural, linguistic and ideological diversity and richness of students and staff. Cultural events of this kind help create a general feeling of tolerance and appreciation for the unique aspects of various cultures and traditions. Also when various cultures meet, we learn that there are more similarities and fewer differences,” said Shaharin Hassain, president of the International Student Group.
All through the event food stalls offered authentic dishes from Oman, Germany, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Philippines, Italy, Africa and Iraq and a stand by the US Embassy. There were raffle draws and awards for best dress, best performer and best stall, as well as quiz programs and prizes. “The event has been organized as a means to showcase the rich cultural diversity of GUtech and also to generate among the students a feeling of appreciation for other cultures, views and lifestyles,” said Ayisha Albright, student affairs executive. “Considering conflicts and a sense of distrust and intolerance increasingly becoming the norm, no effort should be spared to bring together various cultures and viewpoints to facilitate meaningful dialogue and mutual understanding and respect,” she said.
Especially a children’s fashion show by Annanya group from Bangladesh, and the traditional Kandyan dance of Sri Lanka as well as Indian and Bangladeshi dance performances received thunderous applause from the cheering crowd. The Arabic Rap also proved to be a hit.
Khafif was the Gold sponsors of the event with Salman Stores, Nissan, Oman Air, Pizza Inn, Caribou Coffee, Annanya Bangladeshi group, City watches, Yusi’sweet and Khansaab Clothing. GUtech is planning to host the international nights as a regular event again in the next academic year.
Six students and their professor of GUtech were awarded with scholarships from the University of Erlangen and participated in the International Carbonate Course offered by the University in February. “This course strongly supports our GUtech students who are interested in working on projects in the field of Carbonate Petroleum Reservoir Geology and in the limestone Industry in the future.” said Prof. Dr. Michaela Bernecker of the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech.
The so-called famous Flügel-course contains all classic and modern aspects of carbonate sedimentology and the course content was trained by practical microscopy exercises using the worldwide largest carbonate thin- section and sediment sample collection of the GeoCenter. “The uniqueness of this course is in the application of the theoretical part by practicing on the thin-sections made from different rock samples, which were brought from various places from around the world. Furthermore, the lectures were given by very well experienced professors who enriched the course by their massive knowledge from their studies and field trips to deliver it to us through their presentations,’’ said Ahmed Al-Taan, BSc Applied Geosciences student. The students also enjoyed the exchange of thoughts with other students and professors. “It is a good platform for open discussions. Being able to observe, analyse and interpret a very large collection of thin-sections has broadened my knowledge and developed critical thinking. Additionally, it was a great chance to interact with international students," said Bushra Al-Quraishi, GUtech BSc Applied Geosciences student. During the five days workshop geosciences professors and professionals in the field of carbonate petroleum gave lectures on different topics of carbonate microfacies.
According to the organizers, a total of 37 students and researchers from 14 different nations participated. “We really appreciate that Professor Michaela Bernecker from GUtech continuously takes part in the course and brings her best students along. The Flügel-course team was impressed by the student’s enthusiasm and eagerness and their well-founded comments. We are looking forward to welcoming more bright students from GUtech,” said Dr. Barbara Seuss from the University of Erlangen. GUtech students and professor participated for the fourth time in this special course.
The Rector and the Department of Applied Geosciences of GUtech have welcomed Professor Dr. Sierd Cloetingh, Royal Netherlands Academy Professor of Earth Sciences at the Utrecht University (Netherlands) last week. Professor Cloetingh gave a presentation entitled: “Integrated Solid Earth Sciences – challenges and perspectives“ to AGEO students and GUtech staff. Professor Cloetingh is a well-known geoscientist who has published more than 300 scientific papers in international peer-reviewed geosciences journals. He is also editor in chief of Global and Planetary Change and member of the editorial board of Tectonophysics. Professor Cloetingh has also been promotor of more than 65 PhD students of 18 different nationalities. He has received honorary doctorates from five European universities and numerous honours and rewards such as the Holmes Medal, the honorary membership of the European Geosciences Union, Fellow and Honorary Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. Prof. Cloetingh is also President of the International Lithosphere Programme (ILP), Vice-President of the European Academy of Sciences and member of the European Research Council (ERC).
To discuss future scientific cooperation, Professor Cloetingh has been invited by the AGEO department and the Department of Geosciences of RWTH Aachen University, who have also organized a one week field trip around the North of Oman including a large number of sites of geological interest, such as the exposed crust/mantle transition and the ophiolites in Wadi Al Abbyad, carbonate sequences and source rocks and the uplifted coastal terraces along the Omani coastline, an area that is currently part of a tsunami research project conducted by Prof. Dr. Goesta Hoffmann. Prof. Goesta and Prof. Wiekert Visser of the AGEO Department have conducted the field-excursion along with Prof. Dr. Peter Kukla, Energy & Mineral Resources Group and Director of the Geological Institute at RWTH Aachen University. “We have developed plans for a long-term strategic cooperation embedded in the international lithosphere programme. Specifically the setup of a thematic research programme “TOPO-OMAN”, affiliated to the successful TOPO-EUROPE programme on coupled deep Earth and surface processes with implications for georessources and natural hazards has been discussed. Additionally research training programmes, including workshops and short courses as well as the exchange of staff form an integral part of this collaborative effort.” said Prof. Peter Kukla.
To promote scientific cooperation in the field of Engineering a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between GUtech and the University of Brescia (Italy) was signed at GUtech recently. The Rector of GUtech, Prof. Dr. Michael Modigell, signed the agreement along with Prof. Dr. Maurizio Memo, Deputy Chancellor for Research, Internationalization and Higher Education of the University of Brescia.
GUtech is looking forward to expanding its scientific cooperation in the field of Engineering with the Italian university. ``I have been cooperating with the university of Brescia since 2007. Throughout the past years we have published a number of scientific research papers in the field of semi-solid alloys and we are planning a number of joint projects in the next years, such as BEng and MSc thesis,” said Prof. Modigell, who has been a regular guest-speaker at the University of Brescia, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.
GUtech`s German parent-university, RWTH-Aachen University, signed a MoU with the University of Brescia regarding the exchange of students, researchers and professors in 2011. ``In 2012 we started a joint PhD research entitled `Basic investigation on the application of ultrasounds in semi-solid processing`,`` said Prof. Dr. Annalisa Pola of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Brescia.
Currently three professors of that Department are teaching courses in Material Science at the Engineering Department of GUtech. GUtech has signed a number of MoU agreements on scientific cooperation in different fields with universities in Europe in the past years.
BARKA The Department of Sustainable Tourism and Regional Development (STRD) of GUtech has announced today morning the upcoming Oman Tourism Forum (OTF), to be held on Wednesday 26 February from 9am-4pm at GUtech in Halban.
OTF will be held for the first time and inaugurated under the auspices of H.E. the Undersecretary of the Ministry Tourism. The one-day Oman Tourism Forum will invite stakeholders from the private and public sector. “Oman Tourism Forum is a very special event for our university. Our STRD students had the idea to realize this Forum,” said Dr. Juergen Werner, Deputy-Rector for Academic Affairs at GUtech.
The forum is also held to mark the celebrations of the Arab Tourism Day on the 25 February – commemorating the birth date of the Arab Traveler Ibn Battuta and aiming to create more awareness about the rich Arab history in travel and hospitality. The Arab Tourism Day was launched last year in initiative of the Arab Tourism Organization.
Prof. Dr. Heba Aziz, Head of the STRD Department at GUtech and President of OTF introduced the Forum to the media: “Our aim is to establish a platform for a fruitful discussion amongst all stakeholders on the role this strategic sector for socio-economic development of Oman. The tourism industry benefits the entire economy and different sectors such as the food industry, transportation and others,” she said while adding: “The students were very convincing in attracting important stakeholders to support their initiative. They also designed the logo of the Forum and came up with the different themes, and identified measures in which their event could benefit the local community,” said Prof. Heba.
OTF has been organized by eight 4th year STRD students as part of their event management course. “We contacted the public and private sector and fundraized for the Forum. During our studies we have a number of different subjects including event management course, which is part of our 4th year study-programme,” said Ala Al Habsi, GUtech STRD student. For her and her study-colleagues creating awareness is the main goal. “We wish to create more awareness about tourism studies and the tourism industry in Oman. Here at GUtech a few students are currently studying tourism. Tourism needs all different stakeholders, not only the Ministry of Tourism,” said Ala. The students came-up with the idea to design special conference bags working with a small women group in Sifah. The bags are made of traditional Omani textiles and will be distributed on the day of the conference.
The Oman Tourism Forum (OTF) is open to all interested individuals and organisations and revolves around three main themes: visions and strategies, tourism operations, projects and enterprises and research and innovations. Papers presented will cover the Oman tourism strategy by the ministry of tourism; the main tourism indicators presented by the National Center for Statistics and Information, the reality of tourism employment by the ministry of manpower.
In addition the forum will also include a session on the most recent tourism research conducted in Oman: A study on “The experiences and expectations of Omani tourism students” will be presented as well research on “Tourism careers: perception and expectations of Omani tourism students” and the Oman Tourist Atlas will be presented. In the opening session Nabil Al Busaidy, adventurer and traveller, who was the first Arab and Omani to climb Mount Everest and to row the Atlantic, will give a motivational speech entitled “Discover the journey”.
The STRD Department is grateful for the generous support of The Research Council (TRC), Ithraa (previously, the Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development), Omran, the National Ferry Company, Naseej Oman and Al Roya publishing. This diverse range of sponsors is only reflective of all the sectors that the tourism industry can impact.
Registration is free of charge, for further details please visit the website www.gutech.edu.om or please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
To enhance geometrical thinking, students of GUtech have built a large paper tetrahedron (pyramid shape) in the amphitheater of the university within the past weeks. Around 60 students of the Foundation Year and the Bachelor of Science programs as well as staff members participated in this special mathematical activity that may best be illustrated by one composed of many, in Latin “e pluribus unum”.
“With this special class we would like to introduce a new way of geometrical thinking. It is new to most students and has not been taught earlier at high school,” said Professor Dr. Florian Rupp of the Department of Mathematics and Science at GUtech who initiated the activity. The about two meter high tetrahedron sponge, called fractal, was constructed of 1012 small tetrahedrons. “These fractals are similar to what we see in our everyday lives, for example in rivers, mountains, cauliflowers but as well in rocks,” said Professor Florian. A fractal is a geometric object which is constructed from a “simple” initial shape and arranged to form self-similar patterns across different scales and with fractal dimensions. To most of the students this task was new. “We are studying in the Foundation Year, Applied Geosciences. I think these fractals are similar to the fractals we see in rocks and minerals,” said Fatma Al Farsi, GUtech student.
Many students think that geometry can only be taught in class and on the white board, which becomes very boring after some time. “We would like to enhance their spatial thinking and encourage them to think in a playful and easy way, so that they also forget that they are doing geometry,” said Prof. Florian Rupp who recently joined the Department of Mathematics and Science. He previously worked at the renowned Technical University of Munich (Germany). The head of the Department of Mathematics and Science strongly supported this new and very smart way of teaching: “It brings the most effective recent discoveries of teaching to Oman,” said Prof. Dr. Bernhard Heim, Dean of Science. The GUtech students were surprised that high advanced mathematics can be so exciting and applied, they are looking forward to more mathematics classes.
GUtech held the Second Graduation Ceremony at its campus in Halban on Sunday 29 December evening.
H.E. Maitha Al Mahrooqiyah, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Tourism, H.E. Abdullah Salim Al Salmi, member of the board of Governors at GUtech, H.E. Mr. Abdulla Nasser Al Rahbi, Ambassador at the Permanent Mission of the Sultanate of Oman to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva, H.E. Hans-Christian Freiherr von Reibnitz, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Sultanate, Mr Ahmed Saleh Al Marhoon, Director General of the Muscat Securities Market, members of the Majlis Al Shura and other dignitaries attended the ceremony in the open-air amphitheater of the GUtech campus.
A total of 46 Bachelor of Science students graduated in Urban Planning and Architectural Design, Applied Geosciences and Computer Sciences this summer. The large majority has already found positions in the private and public sector in Oman and some of them are pursuing their master’s degree abroad, e.g. in Germany or in the UK. “Studying at GUtech is not an easy task, but one that is ultimately worth the time, hard work and effort you have put into your studies. We are immensely proud of your achievements, and wish you the success you deserve,” said Professor Dr. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech. The Rector further stressed: “You are prepared to find positions where you are able to enjoy your work and where can contribute to the welfare of the Omani society.”
Dr. Hussain Al Salmi, Vice-Rector for Administration and Finance, mentioned in his speech that most of the graduates have witnessed the early days of GUtech - the GUtech beach campus in Al Athaiba, the relocation to the airport campus and now the final campus in Halban. Although the Halban Campus has received several architectural awards recently he stressed, that the building is not as important as the students and their knowledge acquired. “Education is the passport to the future, and not to the good life only but to change the world to be better,” said Dr. Hussain Al Salmi.
MUSCAT A team of GUtech students, graduates and professors of the Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design, have designed and planned a pioneering energy-efficient prototype for a residential Ecohouse villa. The start of the construction of the GUtech EcoHaus has been celebrated at the GUtech campus in Halban on Wednesday, 9 October, under the auspices of H.E. Sheikh Abdullah Salim Al Salmi, member of the Board of Governors and the Board of Directors of GUtech and H.E. Hans-Christian Freiherr von Reibnitz, German Ambassador to the Sultanate. About one hundred guests, GUtech students, staff, representatives of companies that donate materials and services as well as members of the construction sector community attended the celebration.
"Saving energy is an issue all around the world. Eco houses have become a standard in Germany now. And today we can witness the construction of the first of its kind being built in Oman. The project links German expertise and Omani building traditions, it brings local products to the forefront as well as German and European companies showing their innovations." said H.E. Freiherr von Reibnitz, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Sultanate of Oman.
The design is based on a student project, and was carried out to professional level with the help of professors, graduates, consultants, and companies. "The EcoHaus project shows GUtech`s idea of a university. We always want to find links between teaching, research, and making, and here is an excellent example for such a project." said Prof. Modigell, Rector of GUtech.
The EcoHouse uses different strategies to reduce the demand for energy, to generate its own electricity supply, and to further reduce the embedded energy in materials, water, and planting. This set of strategies, which can be transferred to any other project in Oman, consists of: compact volume, optimal orientation, natural ventilation, protective envelope, thermal zoning, radiant cooling, recovered energy, efficient appliances, solar power, recyclable materials, natural water treatment, and native plants.
"After a year of planning, it is great to now see the building growing day by day. This progress of the site is a common achievement by everyone involved: consultants, companies, contractor, craftsmen, The Research Council, GUtech, and of course our students. Only through having all these parties on board we can make the project work." said Assoc. Prof. Nikolaus Knebel, team leader of the EcoHaus project at GUtech. "The project is on schedule, and even though the project involves trying out new ways of building, we are optimistic to finish the building in time, because we have established a good working relation between the contractor, Rownak al A`asma, GUtech staff and students, and companies which are donating material for the project," said Daniel Jung of New Innovative Technologies and construction manager for the EcoHaus.
"We were part of the student group that did the initial design for the EcoHaus in the class of Assoc. Prof. Martin Werminghausen. Since then we could experience at first-hand the planning and construction progress. Throughout the last semester break we did an internship with the team, and also have regular site visits to learn from the project happening on our campus." says Amna al Shaji, BSc-Student in Urban Planning and Architectural Design . "Since last year the two of us are working full-time on the EcoHaus. We develop the design further, plan details, manage budgets, organize materials, and present the project at many occasions around Oman. It is a great opportunity and we are given a lot of responsibility. Working on the EcoHaus project is a great start into our professional careers." said Rumana al Othmani and Rowa el Zain, graduates from GUtech`s Urban Planning and Architectural Design programme.
The project leading to this result has received Project Grant Funding from the Research Council of the Sultanate of Oman. It further has received generous support from companies giving material donations, and their services: Saif Engineering Consultancy, Bauer Nimr, Rehau, Mywindows, Caparol. Hoehler & Partner, National Company for Natural Decore Stone LLC, Amiantit, Oman Concrete Products LLC, ReadyMixMuscat, BASF, DOKA, GulfPerlite, Conlux, ADGS, Oman Cables, New Innovative Technologies, Rownak al A`asma. "Only with companies developing and offering new products, and presenting them to the market, there will be progress in the building culture, and quality of architecture. We are grateful to the companies that sponsor us and the EcoHaus is a good platform to present innovative products to the construction sector. This is dearly needed," said Assoc. Prof. Nikolaus Knebel.
During the two earthquakes that occurred recently in the region of Balochistan in Pakistan, a rather unusual phenomenon occurred - an island was created. “This is not unusual and happened in the past as well,“ said Professor Dr. Goesta Hoffmann of the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech, who is currently conducting scientific research on the coastal evolution in Oman and has published his findings in several scientific papers in various journals. Prof. Goesta further explained: “There is scientific evidence, that as a consequence of an earthquake in India and Pakistan in December 1945, three islands off the coast of Pakistan, in Gwadar, appeared. However, that time the island disappeared soon after they were created. It only took a couple of weeks for the waves to wash away the fine-grained material. Similar to last week’s earthquakes, in 1945 gas eruptions close to the islands were noticed. Two more islands appeared in the Ormara west bay. The islands were up to 30 m high and 2.5 km long,” said Prof. Goesta.
According to Prof. Dr. Wiekert Visser, Head of Petroleum Geosciences at GUtech, the creation of the new island off the Baluchistan coast signifies a fault movement in the sea, which has already happened many times in the past million years. “The new island in front of the Balushi coast turns-out to be a mud volcano emanating methane. This explains the large uplift and the slow movement. However, to further comment on that movement, we need further scientific data,” he said.
The earthquakes can be explained by the movement of the continents. Earthquakes may occur in the region surrounding the Arabian Peninsula since the plate is moving relatively to Africa and Asia. “The Arabian Plate is surrounded by spreading and subduction zones, in the Red Sea and along the Zagros mountains respectively. Earthquakes always begin at a place within Earth where rocks move against other rocks along a fault. The place with the largest movement along the fault is called the epicenter,” said Prof. Wiekert. A fault is a surface along which rocks have broken and then moved further on. There they produce seismic waves. The earthquake epicenter is usually within the Earth’s mantle and crust.
Plates carry continental and/or oceanic crust with them. The movement of these plates is known as plate tectonics. The earth has 15 different plates, and the Arabian plate is one of them. Continents have been on the move all the time. “When continents move, they cause all kind of stresses,” said Prof. Wiekert. “An average plate moves around 5 centimeters per year. The earth consisted of one super continent only 250 million years ago. This “Pangea” continent fell apart into the plates carrying our current multitude of continents. Projections are that we will have one single continent again after another 200 million years,” said Prof. Wiekert. Within the past 60 million years India together with Pakistan and Bangladesh has been moving about 5000 km northward, towards Asia, creating the Himalayan mountains. “Mountains are made when continents collide,” said Prof. Wiekert.
In the 1960s geologists created the scientific concept of plate movements. Preceding this German meteorologist Alfred Wegener already proposed continental drift, but his ideas were not accepted at that time.
If you have further questions, please contact Prof. Wiekert Visser: email@example.com or Prof. Goesta Hoffmann: firstname.lastname@example.org
© GUtech/Manuela Gutberlet
MUSCAT The city of Shanghai has honoured Professor Dr. Rudolf Fleischer with a Magnolia Silver Award for his contributions to the city’s development and exchange with foreign countries in September.
Prof. Fleischer is Head of the Department of Computer Science and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) and is still affiliated with Fudan University in Shanghai where he had worked for seven years prior to joining GUtech in 2011. Prof. Fleischer is an expert in Algorithms. “I am honoured to receive this prestigious award. Shanghai is a very dynamic and innovative city with many excellent universities, Fudan University is ranked no. 3 in China,” said Prof. Fleischer.
“Shanghai has become one of the places in the country with the highest number of foreign nationals and the most active international exchange,” said Li Mingjun, Secretary-General of the Shanghai Municipal Foreign Affairs Office, in his introduction.
A total of 53 foreigners of 17 different countries working in science and technology, education, economy, trade and finance received a 2013 Shanghai Magnolia Silver Award, among them top-managers of German international companies such as Thyssen Krupp, Siemens, Bayer and Boehringer Ingelheim. Silver award winners are eligible to receive a Magnolia Gold Award in the future. “The wisdom and hard work of our international friends have contributed to the sustained growth, and their contribution and friendship shall always be remembered by the people of Shanghai,” said Li Mingjun.
© GUtech/Manuela Gutberlet
Caption: Prof. Dr. Rudolf Fleischer received the Magnolia Silver Award of the city of Shanghai last Tuesday
GUtech has started its academic year with an Orientation Day in English for students new to GUtech, entering the Academic Foundation Programme or the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Engineering programmes end of September. The Deputy-Rector for Academic Affairs, Dr. Juergen Werner welcomed the seventh batch of GUtech students in English, Arabic and German. “I have the pleasure to welcome you at our university and to our GUtech family. Studying at our university, you made a good choice for quality higher education. GUtech is affiliated with one of the leading universities in Europe, RWTH Aachen University, an affiliation which guarantees high standard university education. In the coming years GUtech will be a part of your life and very challenging for you. We expect you to work hard and study well for a bright future of yourselves and your country,” said Dr. Juergen.
The induction day is an introduction to the new study environment. Ghaida Al Qatan and Salama Al Salumi are new students at GUtech, they both received a scholarship from Salalah Methanol to study BEng in Environmental Engineering. “I like Mathematics and am concerned about the environment,” said Ghaida, who is convinced that she will learn a lot at GUtech. “GUtech is one of the best universities in Oman,” she said.
The full-day GUtech orientation day continued with presentations of senior students about academic life and student life at GUtech. Senior Computer Science student Taha Al Qasmi spoke about the importance of team work: “We should support each other during our studies. Together we achieve more,” he said. The introduction to Academic Life was followed by a guided tour around the university campus. Senior GUtech students showed the new students the IT laboratories, the design studios, the sports hall, the canteen, the accomodation and the GUtech library in the upper floor. In the afternoon the students received more information on the Student Council, student activities such as trips, charity events etc. as well as further information on studying the German language and trips to Germany.
GUtech has an active student body with many activities such as a chess club, participation in the cancer walkathon, the National Day Celebrations and the Muscat Youth Summit. Furthermore, a GUtech Student Council is elected every year which includes student representatives of each study-programme.
GUtech is affiliated with RWTH Aachen University, one of the leading Universities of Technology in Europe. For many years employers in Germany have been ranking RWTH Aachen University as the best university in Germany. GUtech offers an Intensive English Programme, a Foundation Programme and Bachelor of Science programmes in Applied Geosciences, Applied IT, Urban Planning and Architectural Design as well as Bachelor of Engineering programmes in Mechanical Engineering, Process Engineering and Environmental Engineering as well as a MSc programme in Petroleum Geoscience. All Bachelor of Science programmes are internationally accredited. The language of tuition at GUtech is English.
© GUtech/Manuela Gutberlet
The Deputy-Rector for Academic Affairs, Dr. Juergen Werner welcomed the seventh batch of GUtech students in English, Arabic and German.
GUtech senior students introduced the new students to the university
GUtech has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with 57 universities around the world to create the World Forum of Universities of Resources on Sustainability (WFURS). In the Sultanate and around the world the growing population, globalization and industrialization along with a steady improvement of the living standards have dramatically increased the demand in natural resources. “All member universities consider it necessary that knowledge about sustainable mining should be propagated, provided on a global scale, harmonized and networked. Through the MoU GUtech and all other universities will be part of a permanent international platform in mining sciences and work together for a sustainable future in the mining sector,“ said Professor Dr. Burkhard Rauhut, Rector of GUtech.
The Sultanate of Oman is rich in raw materials. “Copper, chromite, manganese, gypsum, limestone for cement and ornamental stones, like marble are amongst the most important raw materials in Oman. They are extracted all over Oman,” said Professor Dr. Bas den Brok, Head of the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech. "The Bachelor students in Applied Geosciences learn about mineral exploration, about how to find new mineral resources, but also about environmental issues and environmental damages caused by mining. The mineral and mining sector in Oman has a great future. Underground mining will become increasingly important. For sustainable, environmental-friendly mining highly qualified mining engineers will be needed in the near future”, said Professor Bas.
Nowadays the mining industry faces many challenges, not only in securing additional raw material supplies to satisfy the growing demand, but also to ensure that this is done in an economically priced, environmentally friendly and safe manner. “Environmental sustainability in mining also means that the local people living around the mines should profit from the mining activity next door, for example by the creation of new jobs and new industries working with the raw materials, like making gypsum plates and bricks next to the gypsum mines,” said Professor Bas.
The Department of Applied Geosciences is currently carrying out a research study on chromite mining in Oman. “The question of sustainability is best pursued through a comprehensive and multifaceted approach. The economic integrity of a mining development is best ensured through the full utilisation of the product value chain. Primary and secondary exploits that are processed obtain higher prices on the market and can also generate new niche industries,” said Mishal Al Riyami, Mining Engineer and Scientific Researcher at GUtech. “In our current research we propose excavation strategies as well as build geo-terrestrial models. We combine them with best practices to insure greatest cost-effectiveness whilst minimising the environmental impact,” said Mishal Al Riyami.
According to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Oman around 34 companies were engaged in the exploration and development of Oman`s natural mineral resources in 2011. The number includes several companies that operate quarries and crushers catering primarily to the construction industry.
At GUtech the students are educated according to international standards of sustainability. “It is important that our students learn sustainable practices as some of our graduates will work in the mining sector,” said Professor said Professor Dr. Goesta Hoffmann, Associate Professor of the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech. As a result of the MoU the signing universities of the WFURS will form working groups and promote cooperation between the universities and thus further develop the sustainability concept in cooperation with the private and government sector. Ends
© GUtech/Manuela Gutberlet
Gabbro quarry near Sohar – © GUtech –Dep. Of Applied Geosciences
Marble Quarry in Northern Oman –© GUtech – Dep. Of Applied Geosciences
Four students of the Department of Applied Geosciences of GUtech recently conducted internships at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Leipzig and at the University of Erlangen. The internships - for two months - were arranged by GUtech in cooperation with the two Research Institutions. “Both institutions are excellent research institutes. We are very happy that four of our BSc students got the opportunities to do internships there to gain valuable experiences for their future,” said Prof. Dr. Michaela Bernecker, Associate Professor at the Department of Applied Geosciences of GUtech.
The Carbonate Laboratory of the University of Erlangen is one of the internship locations. The research laboratory is internationally renown for its large so-called thin-section collection. “After a short introduction, we prepared over 30 thin-sections,” said Yasmeen Al-Shaqsi, 6th semester Applied Geosciences (AGEO) who conducted the internship along with her study-colleague Maha Al-Rawahi, AGEO 8th semester.
During their two months stay at the University of Erlangen they worked with different nationalities and on different sedimentological projects. “We worked on small projects that were related to different geological ages: the Holocene, Middle Devonian and Silurian. In the mornings we usually went to the laboratory where we were given our tasks for the day, then we worked on the task and tried to finish them by the end of the day,” said Yasmeen. “I was working in an enjoyable environment. There were three PhD students from Germany, Poland and Czech Republic. My job was to prepare for them thin sections or to pick some fossils under the microscope,” said Maha. Beside their work at the research laboratory they also had the opportunity to discover other places. “After seven weeks of internship went on a four-days field trip to the Czech Republic, around the capital Prague. There we visited geological outcrops that were in a way related to some of the work we did on the small projects and we got to visit Prague city and learn about some of its history,” said Yasmeen.
Zeena Al-Namaani and Areej Al-Ghaithy, both 6th semester AGEO students conducted their internships at the German Research Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig.
“Our internship was about infiltration in wadi channels. I was working on the initial condition of the water table and the soil moisture in so-called homogeneous and heterogeneous materials. At the beginning I started my internship with reading a lot of research papers about infiltration, groundwater recharge and effects of wadi floods. Then I worked on models using (Hydrus 1D) software,” said Zeena Al-Namaani.
Zeena’s study-colleague Areej Al-Ghaithi said: “I have also tried my own research related to the setting of the wadis in Oman (specifically Wadi Al Khoudh in Muscat). I also went on a field-trip to place some tracers into a river which I found quite fascinating. This internship was a preparation for what is to come next in my bachelor thesis as this is the field I plan to write my bachelor thesis,” said Areej, who would like to come back to Germany and persue her Master’s there. “I must say it is quite flexible and really good. During my internship I was able to interact with different professors and students. It was multicultural,” said Areej who enjoyed the overall responsibilities given to her. “The environment gave me a sense of independence and responsibility. Everybody was responsible to the tasks they were given, but we could help each other,” she said.
All four GUtech students enjoyed their research stay in Germany. “I love the life in Germany. I would never choose another place to continue my master studies and my PhD - inshallah. Germany is a very nice country. I do miss home but regardless, every time I come here I like it even more,” said Areej while remembering that it was difficult for her to understand why she had to study German in the beginning of her studies: “I used to complain to why we would have to learn German but now I understand. I am actually practicing my German with friends that I have made here. I am also able to communicate when I want something in a store, a supermarket or in a restaurant. My German has improved and I am able to practice my language skills every time I visit Germany,” she said.
The Geosciences students admit that the opportunity of conducting an internship abroad and at a renown research institute has shaped their personalities. “I believe this internship has helped me grow as an individual. It helped me become more responsible and independent. I have also learnt how I have to behave during the work-field and how different it is from when you are studying at university or at school. I also think that whoever has a chance to do their internships abroad should be encouraged to do it, because I find it quite different to when you are in Oman and staying in your "comfort zone", concluded Areej.
Areej in the office of the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Leipzig, she is measuring on the computer the depth of the soil layer from the top of the ground surface
Zeena Al Namaani in the office of the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Leipzig, reading research papers
Maha and Yasmeen during their work in the carbonate laboratory of the university of Erlangen
Yasmeen during her work at the carbonate laboratory of the University of Erlangen
With increased internet usage, cyber security is becoming more important for everyone, since many people are not aware of it. “There are three types of malware: viruses, worms and Trojan horses. But internet security is not only about protecting your machine from malware, hackers can also sniff your data, which means that the hackers can listen to your communication with another machine. Other attacks include spoofing, mapping, and hijacking,” said Dr. Nabil Sahli, Associate Professor at the Department of Applied Information Technology at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), where he is currently teaching a course on Secure Distributed Systems and other subjects.
A survey by the Ponemon Institute conducted last year among companies in the US suggests that more than half of the respondents (59 percent) had two or more security breaches in the past twelve months, and ten percent did not know. Ninety percent of the organizations in the study had at least one attack. The study was conducted to determine what IT and IT security practitioners in the US think about how well their organizations are responding to threats against network security. A total of 583 IT and IT security practitioners in the US participated, more than half (51 percent) were employed by organizations with more than 5,000 employees. The results of the survey suggest that most organizations experience regular hacking attacks. The financial consequences can be severe. When asked to consider the costs of the security breaches, 41 percent of respondents estimated them at $500,000 or more.
Some cyber attacks are detrimental to the computer services and entire businesses. "Some hackers may take control of your and many other machines to conduct a Denial of Service attack –which makes the target computers unavailable for normal business- against high-profile web servers such as banks and credit card gateways,” said Dr. Nabil. A virus mainly attacks the software of a single computer. “You may activate a virus when you open an email with a suspicious attached file. A virus may also attack your hardware, but these attacks are rare. A worm is like a virus but more devastating as it is self-activating and self-duplicating,” said Dr. Nabil. Another kind of attack is a so-called spyware attack. “Some web companies are sending programs to spy on their users. A spyware will collect data about you but will not harm you,” said Dr. Nabil.
“Up-to-date anti-virus software and anti-spy software can prevent most cyber attacks. Firewalls, which can be software or hardware based, are used to secure but also to control internet access. Firewalls may be used by parents and companies to prevent their kids or employees from accessing certain websites, for example,” said Dr. Nabil. According to a recently published survey, malware is more and more spreading through social networks such as facebook and twitter.
To increase overall IT security, internet behavior is important. “You need to regularly install and update the latest anti-virus programs and you should also choose a “strong” password and not use short or easy ones such as your wife’s name.” The expert advises: “As we are all inter-connected, you have to be careful to prevent any cyber attacks, but it also depends on the behavior of the community you are linked to. Your friends may unknowingly spread a virus, worm or spyware to your computer or mobile phone,” said Dr. Nabil.
© GUtech/Manuela Gutberlet
Caption: Dr. Nabil Sahli, Associate Professor at the Department of Applied IT