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1001 inventions!

Posted On » February 10 - 16, 2010 (Volume:9 / Issue 6)

The Science Museum in London has launched a landmark exhibition highlighting the scientific heritage the world has inherited from Muslim civilisation.

Titled 1001 Inventions: Discover the Muslim Heritage in Our World, it is sponsored by Abdul Latif Jameel Foundation and traces the forgotten story of a thousand years of science from the Muslim world from the 7th Century onwards.

The free exhibition, which runs until April 25, 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.

It features a diverse range of exhibits, interactive displays and dramatisation, all of which acknowledge the Muslim world's contribution to many modern inventions, spanning fields such as engineering, medicine and architecture, and can trace their roots back to Muslim civilisation.

The launch of the exhibition marks the beginning of a global tour that will visit the world's most respected museums and centres of learning over the next four years.

Fady Jameel, speaking on behalf of the Abdul Latif Jameel Foundation, said: "One of the most important aims of our foundation is to promote global education projects and this 1001 Inventions exhibition at one of Europe's most prestigious museums will help achieve just that through increasing understanding about a fascinating period of history and discovering how it impacts us in today's modern word.

"For example, 1001 Inventions includes exhibits that show that Muslim culture is responsible for giving the world its first hospital, the camera obscura and the astrolabic quadrant. For example Egypt gave us pioneering scientist Ibn Al Haytham, who introduced the experimental scientific method, and medical pioneers like Ibn Nafis, who was the first to correctly describe pulmonary blood circulation. This exhibition will bring these eye-opening facts to a wider audience."

Professor Chris Rapley, director of the Science Museum, added: "The 1,000- year period from the 7th century onwards was a time of exceptional scientific and technological advancement in the Islamic world, spanning China, India, Persia, Africa and Arabia. This is the period in history that gave us huge advances in engineering, mathematics, chemistry and physics.

With over 15,000 objects in our collection spanning many different cultures, the Science Museum provides the perfect platform for this exhibition, as a place which encourages innovation and learning amongst visitors of all ages."

One of the iconic focal features of this exhibition is a six-metre high replica of the 'Elephant Clock'- a visually striking early 13th century water clock, the body of which contains symbols referring different cultures and is featured alongside a short feature film starring Oscar-winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley, above, as Al Jazari, inventor of the fabled Scribe Clock, inset.

The exhibition will run until April 25 (with a short closure between February 25 and March 12 inclusive.

Further information about the exhibition is available at and


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