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Professor researches her father’s history

After the death of her father, Sharona Muir, associate professor and director of the University’s Creative Writing Department, learned that he had served in Hemmed, Israel’s Science Corps.

He and other scientists developed weapons and other technologies, some that saved lives and some that destroyed them.

“It’s an untold piece of Israel’s history,” Muir said. “It’s a story that hasn’t been told until now.”

Muir took the initiative and decided to investigate, which resulted in a book about her father’s mysterious life.

From the beginning of the research to publication, “The Book of Telling: Tracing the Secrets of my Father’s Lives,” took almost 10 years to be complete.

The initial research began in 1995 and 1996 after Muir received a grant from the University and the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society, which allowed her to travel to Israel to find other scientists who had been involved.

“I am deeply grateful to BGSU for giving me the money to go to Israel,” Muir said, “I couldn’t have done it without BGSU.”

During her research, she discovered just what kind of conditions these scientists were creating things in.

“They had to create weaponry with no resources and no experience,” Muir said.

As the scientists invented new weapons, the prototypes would sometimes be taken by the army before they had been tested, Muir said. The scientists were able to have constant feedback and could input new information as a result.

There were no rules for them to follow.

For Lorraine Haricombe, dean of University Libraries, the book was “a peek into the minds of the people,” not just the scientists featured in the book, but also Israelis in general.

Their willingness to take risks and be creative in order to survive was admirable she said.

Though many of the documents surrounding Hemmed are classified, Muir didn’t need them because the weapons described may not be currently in use.

Even though she was unable to relate to the specific story told, Haricombe said she was able to find parts that she could apply to friendships and other relationships in her life.

“I wanted to know my father,” Muir said.

Her parents divorced when she was a child and she spent only one day a week with her father.

“They were some of the most magical times,” Muir said. “I adored him.”

But even though she adored her father, Muir felt he was a mystery to her.

She said she came to understand her father by meeting people who knew him and worked with him.

“I had to write to find out where I came from and who I am,” added Muir.

There will be a reception today at 3 p.m. on the main floor of Jerome Library.

A book reading and signing will follow.

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