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    January 15, 2010 -- The Science Museum today announced that it will host a new exhibition, 1001 Inventions: Discover the Muslim Heritage in Our World, which traces the forgotten story of a thousand years of science from the Muslim world, from the 7th century onwards. The free exhibition, which runs from the 21 January to 25 April 2010, will look at the social, scientific and technical achievements that are credited to the Muslim world, whilst celebrating the shared scientific heritage of other cultures. The exhibition is a British based project, produced in association with the Jameel Foundation.

    Featuring a diverse range of exhibits, interactive displays and dramatisation, the exhibition shows how many modern inventions, spanning fields such as engineering, medicine and design, can trace their roots back to Muslim civilisation. Professor Chris Rapley, Director of the Science Museum, commented: “The thousand year period from the 7th century onwards was a time of exceptional scientific and technological advancement in China, India, Persia, Africa and the Arab world. This is the period in history that gave us huge advances in engineering, the development of robotics and the foundations of modern mathematics, chemistry and physics. With over 15,000 objects in our collection spanning many different cultures, the Science Museum provides the perfect context for this exhibition, as a place which encourages innovation and learning amongst visitors of all ages.”


    One of the focal points of the exhibition is a six-metre high replica of the ‘Elephant Clock’- a visually striking early 13th century clock whose design fuses together elements from many cultures and is featured alongside a short feature film starring Oscar-winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley as Al-Jazari, inventor of the fabled clock. Professor Salim T S Al-Hassani, Chairman of 1001 Inventions, explained: “The Elephant Clock is an early 13th century machine which gives physical form to the concept of multi-culturalism. This engineering marvel
    featured an Indian Elephant, Chinese Dragons, a Greek water mechanism, an Egyptian Phoenix, and wooden robots in traditional Arabian attire. It embodies cultural and scientific convergence of civilisations and is an appropriate centre-piece for an exhibition about the roots of science and technology.”

    Other exhibits featured in this interactive exhibition include:

    Model of an energy efficient and environmentally-friendly Baghdad house.

    A large 3 metre reproduction Al-Idrisi’s 12th-century world map.

    Model of Zheng He’s Chinese junk ship – originally a 15th century wooden super structure over 100 metres long.

    Medical instruments from a thousand year ago, many of which are still used today.

    Model of a 9th-century dark room, later called Camera Obscura, which Ibn al-Haytham used to revolutionise our understanding of optics.


    Visitors can also learn about parallel stories of invention from other cultures and civilisations, illustrated through a display of rare and beautiful objects from the Science Museum’s collections, many of which have never been on public display before. These include devices used for weighing and measuring, surgical instruments, astronomical devices, intricately crafted ceramic pots and textiles. 1001 Inventions was created by the Manchester-based Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC). The exhibition will run from 21st January until 25th April 2010 (with a short closure between 25th February and 12th March 2010 inclusive).


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    January 22, 2010 -- The debt owed by European scholars to their Muslim counterparts on everything from water pumps and blood circulation to engineering and map-making was unveiled in a London exhibition on Thursday. The organisers of “1001 Inventions: Discover the Muslim Heritage in Our World” hope to illuminate 1,000 years of neglected science from north Africa to China that provided a bridge between ancient and Renaissance scholarship. In doing so, they expressed hope it would help improve understanding between the Muslim world and the West.

    “If you neglect the contributions of other cultures then it gives you a sense of having cultural superiority, which is dangerous,” said Professor Salim TS Al-Hassani, who masterminded the exhibition at London’s Science Museum. He told AFP: “As we move into a new global world, we need to respect and recognise the contributions of all other races and cultures into what we have today. This exhibition demonstrates that.” The exhibits span from about 700 to 1700 AD, which Science Museum director Professor Chris Rapley described as a time of “exceptional scientific and technological advancement in China, India, Persia, Africa and the Arab world”. It aims to highlight the Muslim scholars who built on existing knowledge to develop new ideas about astronomy and math, architecture, medicine and engineering — but who have been largely ignored in European history.

    At the 13th-century observatory in Maragha in Iran, the exhibition notes, astrologists developed new models for understanding the universe which helped pave the way for Copernicus’ ideas of a sun-centred solar system in 1543. Abbas ibn Firnas, a ninth-century scholar, also performed one of the first recorded human flights when he leapt from the minaret of the Grand Mosque in Cordoba using a glider stiffened with wooden struts. Cairo medic Ibn al-Nafis is also said to be the first to have accurately described the part of the cardiovascular system involving the heart and lungs, paving the way for William Harvey’s full description of circulation in 1628. The exhibit also examines 12th century engineer Al-Jazari, who invented the double-action suction pump, and his contemporary Al-Idrisi, who drew up a world map centuries before Columbus and Marco Polo set off exploring.

    “The Muslim world was carrying the torch of human knowledge and understanding while the West went through its dark ages,” Rapley told AFP. It was not just Muslim scholars’ work, however — they worked with Jewish and Christian scientists and built on ideas from the Chinese, the ancient Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks and Persians and the Indians. This multicultural message is highlighted in Al-Jazari’s “Elephant Clock”, which featured an Indian elephant, Chinese dragons, a Greek water mechanism, an Egyptian phoenix and wooden robots wearing traditional Arabian attire. “Science throughout its history has claimed a hugely important role in diffusing through or simply sidestepping cultural or political barriers... and through that sparking innovation, new ideas and advance,” Rapley said. The exhibition is based on hundreds of manuscripts from the period, and the claims of discoveries have been verified by experts at the Science Museum. “1001 Inventions” is open until April 25.

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    LONDRES, Mardi 26 Janvier 2010 -- Le musée des Sciences londonien rend hommage jusqu'au 25 avril 2010 aux scientifiques musulmans pour leurs contributions aux connaissances scientifiques de l'Humanité, souvent passées inaperçues à leur époque ou oubliées au fil des siècles. L'exposition interactive "1001 inventions: la découverte de l'héritage musulman dans notre monde" donne un coup de projecteur sur un millénaire d'avancées et de découvertes scientifiques. "Si on néglige les contributions des autres cultures, alors cela donne une impression de supériorité culturelle dangereuse", a déclaré le professeur Salim TS Al-Hassani lors de la présentation de l'exposition à la presse. "Alors que l'on entre dans une nouvelle mondialisation, nous devons respecter et reconnaître les contributions des autres races et des autres cultures", a-t-il ajouté.

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    Jim Al-Khalili:


    February 1, 2010 -- There is no such thing as Islamic science – for science is the most universal of human activities. But the means to facilitating scientific advances have always been dictated by culture, political will and economic wealth. What is only now becoming clear (to many in the west) is that during the dark ages of medieval Europe, incredible scientific advances were made in the Muslim world. Geniuses in Baghdad, Cairo, Damascus and Cordoba took on the scholarly works of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, Greece, India and China, developing what we would call "modern" science. New disciplines emerged – algebra, trigonometry and chemistry as well as major advances in medicine, astronomy, engineering and agriculture. Arabic texts replaced Greek as the fonts of wisdom, helping to shape the scientific revolution of the Renaissance. What the medieval scientists of the Muslim world articulated so brilliantly is that science is universal, the common language of the human race. The 1001 Inventions exhibition at London's Science Museum tells some of the stories of this forgotten age. Here are my top six exhibits . . .

    1 The elephant clock

    This centrepiece of the exhibition is a three-metre high replica of an early 13th-century water clock and one of the engineering marvels of the medieval world. It was built by al-Jazari, and gives physical form to the concept of multiculturalism. It features an Indian elephant, Chinese dragons, a Greek water mechanism, an Egyptian phoenix, and wooden robots in traditional Arabian attire. The timing mechanism is based on a water-filled bucket hidden inside the elephant.

    2 The camera obscura

    The greatest scientist of the medieval world was a 10th century Arab by the name of Ibn al-Haytham. Among his many contributions to optics was the first correct explanation of how vision works. He used the Chinese invention of the camera obscura (or pinhole camera) to show how light travels in straight lines from the object to form an inverted image on the retina.

    3 Al-Idrisi's world map

    This three-metre reproduction of the famous 12th-century map by the Andalusian cartographer, Al-Idrisi (1100-1166), was produced in Sicily and is regarded as the most elaborate and complete description of the world made in medieval times. It was used extensively by travellers for several centuries and contained detailed descriptions of the Christian north as well as the Islamic world, Africa and the Far East.

    4 The Banu Musa brothers' "ingenious devices"

    These three brothers were celebrated mathematicians and engineers in ninth-century Baghdad. Their Book of Ingenious Devices, published in 850, was a large illustrated work on mechanical devices that included automata, puzzles and magic tricks as well as what we would today refer to as "executive toys".

    5 Al-Zahrawi's surgical instruments

    This array of weird and wonderful devices shows the sort of instruments being used by the 10th-century surgeon al-Zahrawi, who practised in Cordoba. His work was hugely influential in Europe and many of his instruments are still in use today. Among his best-known inventions were the syringe, the forceps, the surgical hook and needle, the bone saw and the lithotomy scalpel.

    6 Ibn Firnas' flying contraption

    Abbas Ibn Firnas was a legendary ninth-century inventor and the Da Vinci of the Islamic world. He is honoured on Arabic postage stamps and has a crater on the moon named after him. He made his famous attempt at controlled flight when, aged 65, he built a rudimentary hang glider and launched himself from the side of a mountain. Some accounts claim he remained airborne for several minutes before landing badly and hurting his back.

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    أجمل ما صنع الغرب عن الإسلام..



    Oscar-winning actor and screen legend Sir Ben Kingsley has taken the starring role in a short feature film about the scientific heritage of Muslim civilisation. The mini-movie, entitled 1001 Inventions and the Library of Secrets, accompanies a global touring exhibition that this currently open to the public at the Science Museum in London

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