Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Sede-Boker Campus 84990, ISRAEL
Work is either fun or drudgery. It depends on your attitude. I like fun.
Colleen C. Barrett
After my return from the PhD studies at University of Arizona, USA, in 1988, I established the Remote Sensing Laboratory. Due to the unique location of the laboratory in the desert fringe, it has been recognized by the US space agency (NASA) and other institutes around the world as a super-site for calibration/validation of satellite data. Direct-broadcasting MODIS receiving station has been purchased for this application along with other optical instruments that continuously monitor the earth surface and the atmosphere.
My main research interest is studying remote sensing applications of desertification and climate change processing. The specific subject that can be pointed as my main contribution to the scientific community deals with the effect of biogenic soil crusts on remote sensing measurements. In framework of this subject I gave a remote sensing perspective to the unique phenomenon of the visible contrast across the Israel-Egypt political border and also developed the Crust Index in order to distinguish between crusty and non-crusty ecosystems.
In addition, along the years I was involved in several activities related to the following topics:
Information extraction and automatic detection
Geology applications using radar imagery
Geographic information system and geostatistics
Marine applications of remote sensing
Spectral characteristics of lichens affected by air pollution
Interaction between the solar radiation and the ground
Precision agriculture and soil science
A description and list of publications of these activities is detailed in the web-site of my Laboratory.
A different experience I have gained as being the chief scientist of the Israel-German future remote sensing satellite carrying a unique multispectral scanner (MSRS). My main role in this research was to determine the location and width of the 12 spectral bands as well as to develop specific applications for the data (such as precision farming, water quality of inland and coastal water bodies, urban ecology, mining etc.). Following this activity I was nominated by the Director of the Israel Space Agency (ISA) as the Principle Investigator of the Vegetation and Environment New Micro Spacecraft (Venms) that is a joint Israeli-French initiative for building and launching a new satellite for a combined scientific and technological mission.
One of the main events in my career was the organization of the international workshop on: Land cover/Land use Change and Water Management in Arid Regions: Remote Sensing Applications in the Middle East. The workshop took place in Sede Boker Campus (October 23-27, 2000). As an output of this workshop I edited a special issue of International Journal of Remote Sensing (Vol. 23, No. 19, 2002) that contains a selection of papers dealing with remote sensing applications of the Middle East drylands.
What I learned
An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.
B.A. 1979 Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. Geography Department.
M.Sc. 1983 The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Physical Geography Section of the Earth Science Institute.
Advisors: Prof. Aaron Yair and Prof. Arie Issar
Thesis title: Spatial variability of soil moisture regime over arid hillslopes.
Ph.D. 1988 University of Arizona, U.S.A. The School of Renewable Resources.
Major: Watershed management; Minor: Remote sensing.
Advisors: Prof. Martin Fogel and Dr. Leonard Lane
Thesis title: Storm runoff forecasting model incorporating spatial data.
What I teach
To teach is to learn twice.
In the Albert Katz International School for Desert Studies (English)
Physics of the Environmental (Jointly taught)
In the Department for Geography and Environmental Development (Hebrew)
Introduction to Remote Sensing
Remote Sensing of Environmental Aspects
In the Electro-Optics Unit (Hebrew)
Introduction to Remote Sensing (for Electrical Engineers)
What I published
The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them.
Sir William Bragg
A full list of my publications can be found in the web-site of my Laboratory.