Browsing 'Texas A&M University at Qatar' News

Chantelle D'mello / Doha News

The scene at TAMUQ the day of the May 2014 explosion.

Note: This article has been corrected to reflect that the engineer works for the supplier, not Texas A&M.

A Qatar court has found a local supplier and one of its engineers responsible following the 2014 death of a lab technician at Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) in 2014.

Hassan Kamal Hussein was killed in an accidental lab explosion on campus two years ago.

According to prior court testimony, he had been alone in a third-floor petroleum engineering lab at TAMUQ when the explosion happened on May 28.

Chantelle D'mello / Doha News

The scene at TAMUQ the day of the May 2014 explosion.

Hussein had been working with a piece of equipment that modeled the production of petrol from natural gas.

According to the prosecutor, this equipment had a mechanical fault that caused it to leak natural gas.

Verdict

The court agreed with this, and late last month fined Interventions, an Industrial Area-based company, QR20,000 for the liability.

It also ordered an Interventions engineer to pay QR10,000 for improperly attempting to fix the leak the day before the explosion.

Finally, both guilty parties were ordered to pay QR200,000 to Hussein’s family members in blood money.

At the time of his death, the Egyptian expat left behind a wife and four children, who were between six and 12 years old.

A few weeks after the incident, a campus fundraising campaign raised more than QR70,000 for the family.

Thoughts?

Texas A&M at Qatar

Alexander Cheek/Flickr

Texas A&M at Qatar

An investigation into last year’s deadly explosion inside a Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) laboratory has spurred authorities to file criminal charges against an engineer, as well as the company that supplied the equipment believed to have caused the blast.

The blast caused the death of Egyptian expat Hassan Kamal Hussein, who was working alone in a third-floor petroleum engineering lab at TAMUQ around midday on May 28, 2014.

An autopsy determined that the laboratory coordinator suffered fatal head and neck wounds in the explosion, according to a report in Al Sharq.

The scene at TAMUQ the day of the May 2014 explosion.

Chantelle D'mello / Doha News

The scene at TAMUQ the day of the May 2014 explosion.

The piece of equipment that Hussein was working on at the time of the blast was a model that produced petrol from natural gas.

It is now at the center of a criminal trial that heard from its first witnesses earlier this week, according to a source who attended the court session.

According to the prosecutor, this equipment – which was supplied by Intervision, the Industrial Area-based company that is currently on trial – had a mechanical fault that caused it to leak natural gas.

The other defendant, an engineer, is accused of improperly attempting to fix the leak the day before the explosion. He’s also alleged to have overtightened several fasteners when re-assembling the machine.

“The wrongdoing of (this) defendant is what led to the explosion,” the prosecutor charged. “There was a direct relationship between him and the accident.”

It was not clear from this week’s court session who the engineer was working for at the time of the blast.

Both defendants are charged with involuntary manslaughter and have pled not guilty.

Email warning

During Sunday’s hearing, a defense attorney focused on an email sent by the faculty’s chairman two days before the explosion, which advised staff not to conduct any experiments using the machinery in question.

The scene at TAMUQ the day of the May 2014 explosion.

Chantelle D'mello / Doha News

The scene at TAMUQ the day of the May 2014 explosion.

The chairman, who was called as a witness, told the court that the equipment was still being installed.

Citing another witness who aided in the investigation, the prosecutor said that one day before the explosion, the defendant entered the lab without the knowledge of the school’s administration to perform his allegedly ill-fated repairs on the equipment.

Also during Sunday’s session, witnessed discussed Hussein’s responsibilities and duties in the lab where the explosion occurred.

In court, one of his colleagues testified that the deceased’s responsibilities included supervising the device’s installation.

The witness, a petrochemical engineer, added that Hussein was not authorized to conduct any experiments with the equipment.

Nevertheless, using the machinery before it was completely connected to the lab apparatus should not have led to an explosion, the witness said.

The next hearing is scheduled for May 24.

Thoughts?

Texas A&M at Qatar

Alexander Cheek/Flickr

Texas A&M at Qatar

Two Qatar-based universities are among the top five higher education institutions in the Middle East and North Africa based on the quality of their research, according a new index that includes branch campuses for the first time.

Texas A&M University at Qatar, which specializes in engineering programs, took the top spot in a snapshot of the Times Higher Education (THE) ranking, while Qatar University (QU) comes in fourth place out of nearly 100 universities in the region that were examined.

THE has so far only released the top five institutions, and is expected to reveal the full ranking of 30 universities at its MENA Universities Summit it will host at QU on Feb. 23-24.

Lebanon also did well, with two of its universities making the cut in the “sneak peek” list. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz University came in third place.

  1. Texas A&M at Qatar
  2. Lebanese American University
  3. King Abdulaziz University (Saudi Arabia)
  4.  Qatar University
  5. American University of Beirut

Scoring system

This latest table judged the universities on one aspect – the excellence of their research, based on Elsevier’s Scopus database – and used a metric the rankings organization has called “field weighted citation impact.” This measures the ratio of citations received for each institution against the number which it would be expected to get based on the average of the subject field.

Articles, reviews and conference papers published between 2009 and 2013 across all subject disciplines were examined, although universities had to publish a minimum of 50 papers a year to qualify.

It did not consider the overall volume of research published – a factor that is part of an ongoing debate among academic experts over how universities should be rated.

THE has said that the purpose of its upcoming summit is for academic experts to discuss the factors that should be included in an index of universities in the region, and a full ranking is expected to be released next year.

For example, most Western rankings do not consider that some research in the region may only be published in Arabic and thus not garner the same number of citations outside of the region as an English paper.

Other rankings

The early results from THE’s table of top performers in the region is at odds with other recently-published rankings, which did not include branch campuses, but placed QU further down their tables.QU official pic

For example, in the region’s first-ever higher education ranking by Washington-based  US News & World Report, QU came in 29th place out of a total of 91 MENA schools.

In this index, quality and quantity of research was considered and the company looked at schools that had published 400 or more papers between 2009 and 2013.

Universities were then ranked according to nine weighted indicators, including the number of published papers and how frequently its research is cited in other articles.

Meanwhile, QS Intelligence Unit’s MENA rankings which were also released at the end of that year, put QU overall in 16th position for the region.

This measured a number of different factors, including academic reputation and employer reputation in addition to institutions’ research impact by looking at paper per faculty and citations per paper.

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