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Eden with oil wells

Naturevolume 257pages7880 (1975) | Download Citation


The stereotyped image of the oil-rich countries of the Arab Peninsula is that of an artificial, fragile, air-conditioned Eden made possible by the purchase of Western comforts, technology and scientific background. The picture holds an implied threat of collapse by the time oil reserves become depleted which, by most reckonings, should happen sometime during the next century, perhaps in the first half of it. That image is, however, only partly true. Large investments are being made in an attempt to achieve what should amount to a leap from the Middle Ages to the atomic era. On the Arab Peninsula, schools have blossomed and primary education has, in most cases, become compulsory. Technical training facilities have been established, medical schools are about to produce their first graduates and, in Saudi Arabia, one of the world's most modern specialist hospitals has opened its doors. Alexander Dorozynski reports on science and technology on the Arab Peninsula, where the avowed aim is to achieve scientific and technical self-reliance as rapidly as possible, and which, if the present effort is maintained, may well become the site of a unique achievement.


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