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Israel Opens First Section of Negev Research Institute at Beersheba

The first completed section of the Negev Research Institute at Beersheba was officially opened this week-end. Among those present were representatives of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) which has incorporated the institute in its worldwide network of research in the arid zone.

The completed section includes several administrative and service buildings and one laboratory building housing the institute’s meteorological unit, an experimental plant to harness solar energy for the de-salting of brackish ground waters. Construction is to begin soon on a second laboratory building for research with minerals found in Israel and their industrial exploitation.

The Beersheba institute is to become the country’s center for arid zone research which has been carried out hitherto at the Hebrew University and the Israel Institute of Technology at Haifa. It will make a study of environmental physiology and the adjustment of man and beast to the arid conditions prevailing in the Negev. The institute will also house the Dead Sea works laboratories.

Prior to the opening ceremonies, the assembled scientists held a conference at the Hias House in Beersheba and discussed the vegetation and water supply of the Negev, the problem of living conditions in the desert, the use of solar energy for industry in the Negev and desalination of water by electrodialysis. The lectures were given by staff members of the Hebrew University and Technion.

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