Lecture: When the 'Water Prince' Brought an Iceberg to Iowa
|Date/Time:||Wednesday, 15 Nov 2017 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm|
|Location:||2019 Morrill Hall|
Earlier this year, an Abu Dhabi-based green technology firm announced plans to harvest water from Antarctic icebergs for the United Arab Emirates. Strangely enough, this was not the first time that such a proposal had made international headlines. Forty years ago, in October 1977, Iowa State University hosted an international conference on iceberg utilization. The conference was the brainchild of Muhammad bin Faisal, a Saudi prince, who dreamed of towing Antarctic icebergs to provide freshwater for his parched kingdom. In addition to bringing together nearly 200 researchers from around the world, a giant chunk of Alaskan glacier was flown into Ames for the event. The spectacle of a Saudi prince and an iceberg visiting Ames, Iowa played out before bemused locals and a flurry of national and international media attention. Though the prince is often remembered for this zany scheme, his most important legacy was his visionary founding of Saudi Arabia's desalination sector. Fueled and financed by its massive oil reserves, Saudi Arabia is now the world's largest producer of potable water converted from seawater.