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Hayat Sendi …. The story of a Saudi Female scholar

By : Marwa Mahmoud

In her childhood, she was collecting clothes and trying to coordinate her to look like the scientists of past centuries, wearing a turban that resembled Ibn Al-Haytham and Al-Razi, wishing to be like them, and possessing the knowledge that could make humanity live a better life.

“I dreamed of being like them to  make a difference in the world.” With insistence, Hayat Al Sanady believed in her dream, and achieved it, as she became one of the 15 best scientists in the world.

Biography of Hayat El Sanady

Hayat Suleiman El Sanady was born in Mecca on November 6, 1967; she grew up as a child among seven brothers in a conservative and traditional Saudi family. One day her father noticed her passion for reading, knowledge and a love of exploration, so she enjoyed learning about the history of Arab and foreign scholars in various fields, as she read about Al-Khwarizmi, Jabir bin Hayyan, Einstein and Marie Curie.

She was really fascinated by the scientists and their achievements, she felt they weren’t human like us, so one day she asked her father about them, and how it was to be like them, the father rooted faith and confidence in her talent, and told her, “with science and study, you can do whatever you want, and you will be one of these scientists.” Hayat worked hard and passed the high school stage with distinction to join the College of Medicine.

due to her knowledge and interest in science and medicine, Hayat learned about pharmaceutical science, which is not available for study in Saudi universities, so she suggested to her parents at the time that she study in the United Kingdom.

Because of social norms, Hayat did not get their approval, but she did not despair of repeating the attempt over two year’s .During her studies at the College of Medicine at a Saudi university, she convinced her parents that her passion for science must be fulfilled.

Hayat El Sanady’s Difficulties that faced

Hayat considered success as a challenge, and she decided to show everyone their miscalculation. During the study, Hayat worked on teaching the Arabic language to bank employees, as a way to obtain an income in addition to studying.

 She was working on knowledge and achievement for long hours that may reach 20 hours per day, and at the end she graduated from the university with distinction, after she was able to discover a mechanism To treat asthma.

She was able to be the first Arab woman to obtain a PhD from the University of Cambridge in biotechnology, titled by “Advanced Studies in Electromagnetic and Acoustic Measurement Instruments”, which was described by the supervising doctor as five doctoral dissertations in one.

She devised the concept of “diagnosis for all” and developed it with her work teams, which is a device of paper whose size does not exceed the handprint.

As a result of Diagnosis for everyone ” success in enabling everyone to diagnose himself and conduct a home analysis without the need for a specialist, Hayat won the first place prize in the Action Plans for Social Projects Competition, and she also won an award from the MIT Initiatives Competition.

 Hayat invented ta multi-use sound and magnetic sensor called “Magnetic Acoustic Resonator sensor”, which works to help measure the level of sugar in the blood, and can determine the drug that the human body needs.that’s a good way to help astronauts on their trips, It was approved officially by NASA agency, and it also has various applications in the pharmaceutical industry, genetic testing and genetic diseases.

Her goal of science was not to achieve a personal and sufficient achievement, but she wanted to avail people by her science, so she worked on establishing the – i2 Institute for Imagination and Ingenuity – in 2011, and it aims to empower young people by providing them with the capabilities and tools that help them in applying Their thoughts, Hayat hopes to contribute in raising awareness of Arab girls about the importance of science.

Hayat El Sanady works as a visiting researcher at Harvard University, and she also holds the position of Senior Adviser to Islamic Development Bank President in Science and Technology.

Hayat is the first Arab woman to obtain a PhD in Biotechnology from Cambridge University, and was included by the BBC in her list of the 100 most powerful women in 2018, the British Royal University granted her honorary membership in recognition of her scientific contributions.

She received a prize for scientific and technical excellence, as she was appointed as a Good will Ambassador for UNESCO in 2012, and considered the first Saudi woman to hold this position. In 2012, Newsweek magazine ranked her among the list of the 150 most influential women in the world, as it came in the 19th place, among the most influential Arab personalities in the Arab world, according to Arabian Business Magazine.

In January 2013, Hayat El Sanady was among the first women’s group she works in the Shura Council in Saudi Arabia. In appreciation of what she presented, students at Hail University, Saudi Arabia, demanded that her name be given to a street on the university campus.