This report concerns the visit from Sunday 23 October 2022 till Sunday 30 October 2022 to Sohag University in Sohag, Egypt.
During the visit I gave two different lectures in three sessions.
How to Write a Scientific Paper
This first lecture was given twice. The audience consisted of about 25 students from the Literature department. I prepared the lecture for technically oriented students, so not all parts of the lecture landed well. My impression was that most students grabbed the content well. One junior staff member that was present remarked that the way these students write their reports differs significantly from what I presented. I think this is probably due to the format required by the University. However, in order to reach a larger community the described presentation method prevails.
The second audience consisted of 20 junior staff members from the Literature and other departments. Since here I was better prepared for the audience, afterwards there could be a lively discussion on the contents of the method and touching subjects such as “How to find a proper research project”. My impression was that the audience really enjoyed the lecture.
5 Laws of Interfacial Engineering: Fun Topics from Capillarity
This lecture was given to Physics and Chemistry students. From the reactions of the students during and after the lecture, I gathered that many but not all student grabbed the content of the lecture. The lecture was followed by three simple numerical exercises and three – according to me – interesting problems. Most students got stuck in the numerical exercises so hardly anyone tried the problems. I briefly explained how to think of the three problems afterwards.
My observation was that all students have a good level of understanding written and spoken English. Conversation is not easy for them, there is no experience with people from abroad. Some students remarked that it would be better if some more of their lectures would be given by experts from abroad. This would stimulate them being involved in conversation in English.
An exchange of staff members with universities abroad would help here. It occurred to me that some senior staff members had that opportunity but presently that seems not to be done. When asked for, the junior staff members told me that there were not really financial barriers and also visa would not pose a problem. Many mentioned family ties as the cause for them staying home.
My advice to the University Board therefore is to require staff members to participate in scientific exchange as part of their job. By doing so, the University not only better serves the needs of the students but also increases its merits on the international scale.
I thank Sohag University for being able to meet its staff members and students and to introduce them into the topics that have interested me for a long time.
For note of record: I am a retired staff member of Delft University of Technology and Leiden University. This report is however written on my own accord and should not be construed as the opinion of either university.