Sunday, October 17, 2010

Blogging from Turkey: At Bogazici University

It has stopped raining in Istanbul! Finally.

On Friday I had the opportunity give a seminar talk at the Department of Education at Boğaziçi University (Bosphorus University). First I must say that the university has absolutely stunning views of the Bosphorus! It was raining while I was there, but it was still hard to dampen the spectacular views from the campus (the picture above was not taken by me, but it should give you an idea of what you see from the university). The main campus itself is also very beautiful, and is designed like a traditional US east-coast campuses. This is not surprising as the university was called Robert College and was built with the help of an American philanthropist, Christopher Robert,  in 1860s (its name changed in 1971 to Bogazici University).

I also had a great time both during and after the talk (thanks so much to Devrim Guven for organizing it). I addressed some of the work we have been doing in understanding the reception of biological evolution in the Muslim world, as well as thinking about ways to handle various concerns that students bring to science/biology classrooms. There was some very good discussion about the place of religion in science classes as well as cultural and social factors that may affect studies like ours. The Q&A went on for 45 minutes after an hour-long talk - so as you can imagine, it was very useful and constructive, as well as some genuine disagreements about different approaches. Oh - and this was followed by a nice and relaxing lunch at the beautiful Kennedy Lodge, where some of these discussions continued. An absolutely wonderful experience.

I think the only misadventure there was with the taxi I took from the hotel. I was warned to be careful and get the taxi that goes by the meter. I even had the idea of roughly how will it cost to get there - about 20 TL. I got the cab and the driver promised me to go by the meter - and yet he got me there 40TL. But it didn't take us twice as long to get there. So perhaps we went through an inverse Wormhole - where it took us slightly longer to get there for twice the money. So I was ready to file it under unexplained problems, such as dark energy and dark matter, when I found out that it is possible that he was using the night-time meter (with higher rates) at 9:30am! Hmm...another mystery bites the dust - oh but I did end up being a sucker. Oh well. By the way, the taxi back cost me 15 TL. Ah...the way back is always shorter (and cheaper)... :)

More from Istanbul coming up...


Rainer said...

Just for the record of visitors to Istanbul, night-time taxi meters have long been abolished...

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