Author with Kurt Pitzer of The Bomb in My Garden (Wiley, 2004)
Mahdi Obeidi – Written with journalist Kurt Pitzer, whom Obeidi knew in Baghdad, the book avoids the undocumented, self-serving claims made by Hamza and is much less political than Khadduri’s. Obeidi’s account concentrates, first, on his role prior to 1991 in acquiring the means to produce the highly enriched uranium necessary to build an atomic bomb and, second, on whether Iraq had a nuclear capability after 9/11. In the telling, he gives a detailed, balanced view of events.
Being the only Iraqi scientist that was brought by the United States soon after the 2003 war, Dr.Obeidi has been actively involved in establishing a professional persona, with particular emphasis on research, analysis, lectures on his experience in Iraq, lectures on limiting the proliferation of nuclear technology, the development and launch of a book outlining his experiences, and finally, a good deal of research and conferences on nano-technology and its applications. An overview of the recent activities includes:
- Retained by United States Civilian Research and Development (CRDF) to consult on science and technology on Middle East and North Africa, with particular emphasis on Iraq.
- Retained by Abraxas to work on security matters for the Department of Homeland Security.
- Retained by Sandia National Laboratory to consult on the rebuilding of Iraq with emphasis on energy, petrochemical and water engineering issues.
- Lectured at the following DOE labs: ONL, INL, ANL, SRNL, SNL, and Hanford.
- Retained by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) on nonproliferation issues.
- Lectured at the Kennedy school, Harvard, the Colorado School of Mines, University of Miami, Kansas State University, and a host of other institutions.
- Authored the highly successful book The Bomb in my Garden, published by John Wiley in 2004, and released in paperback July 2005. Film rights were negotiated and optioned.
After graduating from the Colorado School of Mines in Chemical and Petroleum Refining Engineering (CPRE), he joined the Iraqi Ministry of Oil, where he worked in existing refineries. Later on he realized refineries and petrochemical plants from scratch.
After completing his PhD in material science and engineering at the University of Swansea in the United Kingdom, he joined the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission, where he covered the nuclear fuel cycle. He led the activities for the French built research reactor and conducted a two-year training program for Iraqi scientists and engineers on experiments he designed and loaded in the French Osiris reactor.
Dr. Obeidi led one of the most efficient Uranium centrifuge enrichment programs in history to an industrial level that had nearly became a nuclear threat and witnessed the demolition of the program, which gave him the insights to cope with a nuclear crisis and fight nuclear terrorism.
His experience in water is versatile. It covers drinking, sanitary, and industrial water. He oversaw the activities of Iraqi water for several Iraqi ministries, which gave him insights into this important human resource and its effects on the health and livelihood of people. He witnessed firsthand how a bad sanitary system can mix with drinking water leading to cancer, or how a sanitary system can fail to cope with water from a storm leading to human toll.
Dr. Mahdi Obeidi was also able to devote efforts to supervise many Ph.D and MS thesis in different disciplines, among them was some noted works in nano-technology. At the time the Americans entered Baghdad, he headed over 300 projects leading them from conception to completion and authored a book on project management Reference Document on Projects, 2003. He was awarded the honorary title of being the first scientist of Iraq.