1. Tell us something about yourself and your studies?
My name is Hashem AL-ghaili, born in Yemen in 1990. I graduated from high school in Yemen in 2007 and later on I received my Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology from the University of Peshawar in Pakistan in 2012. I am currently a science communicator on social media, I communicate science to the general public in an easy and understandable way.
2. What does “science- nature” on your Facebook profile imply?
Science-nature is the alternative name that I use on Facebook so that people who search for keywords such as science or nature can find me and follow my posts. This alternative name makes it a lot easier for other people who love science and nature to find me mainly those who haven’t visited my Facebook profile before.
3. When have you created the idea of making a page (https://www.facebook.com/scienceandtechnologypage) on Facebook and why ?
Not until recently, a friend suggested me to create a page because Facebook profiles are not as popular as Facebook pages. I followed his advice and named my page “Sci-Tech” and created a logo for it to distinguish it from other science pages on Facebook. Two weeks after I created the page, the number of fans crossed 10,000 and the total reach was 800,000+ Facebook users which were totally unexpected to me! This made me happy, so I decide to continue with the page. Nevertheless, I still post on my profile occasionally.
4. How Social media helped you and is helping you in your studies ?
In fact, it doesn’t help very much. When you spend more time tracking exciting science news and interesting scientific facts with cool images to share them with the public, you can’t compensate for that time for your studies. It’s either to choose between doing science or sharing it to the world, which is not bad to me because you will always need science communicators to make people aware of what scientists are doing in their labs and how can that be good to improve our lives. However, social media helped me broaden my scientific knowledge beyond my field which is biology. I learned more about astronomy, physics, chemistry and other exciting fields through what I shared with people on social media.
5. You have lots of followers, how many people know you personally?
Technically, I call them friends and not followers. I have 29,500 friends and that number includes the people who are in my friends’ lists. In fact, only 2% of them know me personally and have met them in person, the rest I only know them through social media. I sure do learn a lot from them because the list includes real scientists and experts in their fields who share their constructive comments on what I post on Facebook.
6. You have mostly followers from your University or they are from Yamen too?
The list of people who follow my posts includes many Facebook users from over 100 countries worldwide. Since everything on my Facebook page and profile is shared in the English language, I don’t have many friends from Yemen as they prefer posts that come in the Arabic language. Yes, I knew a lot of people in my university life but only a few of them are added to me.
7. In many Arab countries like Egypt and Tunisia and UAE and Sudia Arabia Social media is becoming a very powerful medium, what is about Yemen, are there too people giving any importance to Social media?
Social media has received a lot of attention from Yemeni people lately. It became a powerful tool to express their opinions on the country’s social, political and economic issues with full freedom especially after the Yemeni revolution in 2011. Many Yemeni people are now joining social media to get reconnected with their old friends and exchange greetings and conversations with them on regular basis. I am very happy that social media has also unveiled many talented Yemeni people who couldn’t make it in traditional media such as TV and radio to share their gifts with other people freely and continuously. And as the internet becomes cheaper and faster, more people in Yemen will join Facebook and become part of this global community.
8. This is a common saying, that mostly Arabian youth are not interested in studies or are not taking any interest in a science subject, is it true?
This might be true but it does not apply to all Arabian youth. There is less interest in science in the Middle East because our youth look for easy ways to come to a point where they can make a living independently. And the easiest way to do that is not to choose science as a career because science can be tedious and could take a longer time. So, they select other fields such business management, economics, law, political sciences and so on. Unfortunately, we also have more engineers than scientists. Good news is, educators in the Middle East are now trying to attract more Arabian youth to science and their efforts seem to be paying off. Over the past 10 years, thousands of Arabian youth made it to the world’s top universities and made remarkable progress in science. Many of them are now research group leaders in some of the World’s most prestigious universities and this restores our faith in the Arabian youth.
9. What are the reasons that most Arab countries when it comes to education and especially scientific education come so low in ranking, what are the reasons although they have great natural resources? Financially they are strong then what stops them to invest in education and especially scientific education?
The problem with the Arabian countries is that wealthy nations choose to purchase ready-made technology instead of creating it. Technology is the product of science, if you can’t create it, it means you are not interested in science. And if you are not interested in science, you can’t expect to get a high ranking in science education among the world’s top universities. Too bad our natural resources are not renewal, our oil will come to a point where we will rethink our past and regret that we didn’t plan for the future. Serious plans should be made to make sure that these resources are well invested in educating our nations before we deplete them completely.
10. What are your hobbies in your free time?
In my free, I try to read E-books, watch science documentaries, read science news and share them on social media. I also love designing graphics in my free time. I create science graphics that simplify complicated concepts and present them in attractive ways. These graphics go viral on the web and get a lot of shares by many people across the internet.
11. What do you want to be in future ?
I have two choices here. It’s either to become a scientist or a science communicator. Of course, both are important to the society. I would sure love to be an expert in the field of astrobiology, but then I might have to leave being a science communicator because working on science requires full time and extensive studies and research. However, being a science communicator would give me a chance to do some other stuff like free writing and expanding other peoples’ knowledge. I think the world needs more science communicators, so I choose to be one of them.
12. Where do you want to see your Sci-Tech page (https://www.facebook.com/scienceandtechnologypage) in future ?
The page is growing very rapidly and at an unexpected rate, in a few months from now the page will have a great number of fans and it will become an influential science page on social media. Thanks to many other science pages on Facebook, this page will continue to deliver the message of science to as many people as possible and for as long as possible. It may take time but Sci-Tech will someday become the front page of Facebook.
13. How Does Science Affect Society?
Science is what keeps societies in shape, without it societies won’t flourish. It quenches our thirst for knowledge, it facilitates creating new technologies to makes our lives easier, it influences our cultures, it distinguishes us from other species and it plays an important role in saving our societies from extinction. The more we learn about ourselves and our surrounding environment through science, the greater are our chances of survival in a world full of apocalyptic events. Just think of the visible difference between the societies that make science their first priority and the societies that ignore science.
14. Can science provide a solution to all problems of humankind, even the moral ones?
Science can provide solutions to almost all our problems, only if we understood these problems very well. However, we cannot include the moral ones here because morals are understood differently in different parts of the world. Societies make their own moral values and they are the ones that decide whether a particular scientific method or procedure is appropriate, ethical or not. Science could also create new problems if we don’t deal with it very carefully.
15. Are science and atheism correlated?
The way I see it, science and atheism are interconnected. To believe in all science, you must first give up any concept that contradicts with science. You can’t just choose to believe in some science and ignore some parts of it because the same scientific method is always followed in generating this whole body of scientific knowledge. It’s either to accept in the whole package or to reject it once and for all. What makes religions weak is that the beliefs they promote are well preserved, unchangeable over centuries and not allowed to be questioned by their followers. However, you don’t have to be an atheist to become a scientist, you can still believe in religion and in science at the same time but then your rational scientific mind won’t be able to accommodate both.
16. Is it true that science can only tell us how things function but not why?
Science involves a series of fundamental questions that can begin with anything, whether “Why?”, “How?” or “What?” and so on. Science never misses anything, it tries to cover all the details about each subject matter. It tells us how things function, why do they function like that and what are the possible outcomes to put them into positive use for mankind.
17. Your message for all readers?
Make good use of science in your lives. Embrace it, share it with others around you, expand its body of knowledge with your thoughts and opinions. Your path to finding the truth, any truth, can only be explained by logic and reason, so think rationally and question everything.
Flickr Page : http://www.flickr.com/photos/47808265@N08/
Science graphics created by Hashem AL-ghaili and updated on weekly basis
Hashem’s Profile : https://www.facebook.com/ScienceNaturePage