1001 Inventions

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1001 Inventions is an award-winning international educational organisation dedicated to the history of science and technology in Muslim civilization during the period known as the Golden Age. The organisation encompasses online[1] and traditional publishing,[2] films,[3] and both static and traveling exhibitions.[4][5][6][7] The 1001 Inventions organisation involves contributions from more than one hundred academics[8] and is led by its producer and director Ahmed Salim.[9][10] The organisation has a global fanbase of more than 70 million[11][12] and more than three million people have visited the 1001 Inventions exhibitions.[13]

History[edit]

1001 Inventions was launched in 2006 with a traveling exhibition at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry and an accompanying hardback book.[14][15] This first exhibition then went on to tour the United Kingdom,[16] visiting Birmingham Thinktank, Glasgow Science Centre,[17] National Museum Cardiff[18] and Museum of Croydon.[19][20]

The same traveling exhibition also displayed at the British Parliament in London,[21][22] the European Parliament in Brussels[23] and at the United Nations in New York.[24]

International tour[edit]

In January 2010, 1001 Inventions launched a new and much larger traveling exhibition at the Science Museum in London.[25][26] Prior to its public opening the entire content of the exhibition was reviewed by an independent panel of expert historians. More than 400,000 people attended the exhibition during its five-month run at the London Science Museum.[27]

Europe and North America[edit]

During its run in London, the exhibition was visited by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who requested the exhibition be displayed in Istanbul during the month of Ramadan later in the year.

In August 2010, 1001 Inventions opened in Istanbul's Sultanahmet Square.[28] The exhibition was open in Istanbul for a period of seven weeks and attracted more than 400,000 visitors during that time. The exhibition also received positive support at local and national levels from politicians[29] and the Turkish media[30]

In December 2010, the 1001 Inventions traveling exhibition opened at the New York Hall of Science in New York City for a five-month residency.[31][32][33] The exhibition ended its run in New York on April the 27th 2011, having received 250,000 visitors.[34]

1001 Inventions opened at the California Science Center in Los Angeles on 27 May 2011.[35] The exhibition's Californian residency was launched by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.[36][37][38] The exhibition closed on March the 11th 2012, having received more than 500,000 visitors.[39]

On 3 August 2012, 1001 Inventions opened at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, DC.[40] It closed exactly six months later on 3 February 2013,[41] having received more than 200,000 visitors.[42]

On 30 August 2013, a dual language Swedish-English version of the 1001 Inventions was officially opened by Sweden's Prince Carl Philip at the Värmland Museum in Karlstad, for its Scandinavian premiere.[43][44]

Middle East[edit]

On 19 November 2011, a dual language Arabic-English version of 1001 Inventions was officially opened by the national Minister of Higher Education, His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, for its Middle Eastern premiere in the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi.[45][46] The exhibition was open in Abu Dhabi for a period of five weeks.

On 21 June 2012, the Arabic-English version of the 1001 Inventions opened in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and closed on 30 August 2012.[47][48][49]

On 16 October 2012, the Arabic-English version of the 1001 Inventions was officially opened by Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani in Doha, Qatar, and remained open until 12 November 2012. On the same day, and in the same city, at the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, 1001 Inventions also launched an exhibition titled Arabick Roots.[50][51]

Asia-Pacific[edit]

In September 2013, a dual language Malaysian-English version of the exhibition was opened at Pusat Sains Negara in Kuala Lumpur by the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Muhyiddin bin Yassin, who also serves as official patron of the exhibition in his country. The launch marked the beginning a six-month residency at the inaugural venue, which will be followed by a three-year tour of the country.[52][53][54]

Publishing[edit]

In 2006, the first edition of the book 1001 Inventions: Muslim Heritage in Our World was published in the English language, with an updated second edition produced in March 2011.[55] A Turkish translation of the second edition was published in 2010, followed by an Arabic translation being launched in 2011.[56]

A third edition, in the English language, was published by National Geographic in February 2012 with the amended title 1001 Inventions: The Enduring Legacy of Muslim Civilization.[57]

On 10 January 2013, a publication for school children titled 1001 Inventions and Awesome Facts From Muslim Civilization was published by National Geographic.[58]

Awards[edit]

In May 2011, the 1001 Inventions exhibition was declared Best Temporary/Touring Exhibition 2011 at the annual Museums and Heritage Awards in London.[59]

1001 Inventions and The Library of Secrets[60] is an award-winning educational film starring Sir Ben Kingsley[61] that has received international recognition, including the following awards:

• Best Film (Arts and Humanities) – New York Festival, 2010[62] (The film also won eight additional awards at the 2010 New York Festival.)

• Best Film (Education) – Cannes Corporate Media and TV Festival 2010[63]

• Best Education Film – US International Film Festival, 2010 (Los Angeles)[64] (The film also won three additional awards at the 2010 US International Film Festival.)

• Best Film (Education) – IVCA Awards, 2010 (London)[65]

• Best Film (Education) – World Media Festival, 2010 (Hamburg)[66]

The film is an integral part of the 1001 Inventions traveling exhibition.

Support[edit]

The project has gathered considerable support and praise from politicians and leaders all over the world.

Charles, The Prince of Wales, has written the foreword for the latest edition of the 1001 Inventions book, published by National Geographic. In this foreword he said, "I am delighted to see the success of the initiative called 1001 Inventions, which presents and celebrates the many scientific, technological and humanitarian developments shared by the Islamic world and the West."[67]

Speaking at the opening of 1001 Inventions in Karlstad on 30 August 2013, Sweden's Prince Carl Philip said, "I hope as many people as possible will come to visit" the exhibition, which he described as "beautiful and instructive."[68]

Speaking at the opening of 1001 Inventions at the Science Museum in London in January 2010, the Chairman of the museum's board, Lord Waldegrave of North Hill called the exhibition "a wonderful teaching resource" and described it as "done with wonderful imagination and flair, as well as good scholarship."[69]

Exhibition reviews[edit]

The BBC's reviewer Nick Higham covered the exhibit in January 2010 and described the working Elephant Clock as "spectacular". The BBC used the terms "Muslim science" and "Islamic science" on their website when reporting about the exhibition. However, in an interview conducted by Higham, one of the academics behind the 1001 Inventions project objected to the reviewer's usage of the term "Islamic Science" because he believed "science has no religion and [belongs to] no particular culture".[70][71]

A 2010 review by the theoretical physicist and broadcaster Professor Jim Al-Khalili in The Guardian also noted the incorrect application of the term "Islamic Science" when referring to the exhibition, stating "There is no such thing as Islamic science – for science is the most universal of human activities."[72]

Similarly, Adam Deen, writing in 2013, praised the exhibition for "the multicultural make-up of 1001 Inventions, eloquently refuting the religiously homogenous and male-dominated stereotype of the Muslim world" through "the variety of peoples represented... includ[ing] many Arabs, as you'd expect, but you'll also find pioneering minds from Africa, India, Turkey, Europe, China and elsewhere – many of whom are Muslim, but many are obviously not, such as the Jewish physician and theologian Maimonides. And there's no shortage of female role models either, with celebrated women from the worlds of medicine, engineering, education and literature being given prominent placement."[73]

Writing in the Huffington Post in 2010, Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi also mentioned the prominence of female characters and noted that the exhibition "was created with children in mind" as "the interactive displays are large and colourful, with cartoon-like characters guiding visitors as they explore".[74]

Writing in The Guardian in 2010, Robin Mckie called 1001 Inventions "a quite wonderful little exhibition, filled with surprises... [that] is easy on the eye but is still dense with information" and also described it as "spectacular".[75]

Edward Rothstein's review of the 1001 Inventions exhibition at the New York Hall of Science in December 2010, in The New York Times, described the show as having "serious problems", noting that "the promotional goal is evident in every display." He wrote that "some assertions go well beyond the evidence… And some claims are simply incorrect.".[76] In response to Rothstein's having written that the exhibition was inaccurate in some respects, the "Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation'" published a rebuttal, with academic citations, which criticized the music and culture critic for "erroneously imagining himself an expert."[77]

Clyde Haberman, Rothstein's fellow journalist at The New York Times, also reviewed the exhibition, writing that "the exhibition is less overtly about politics than about science", noting the show's "electronic razzmatazz aimed at a young audience" and comparing the exhibition's introductory film to the Harry Potter movies.[78]

Academic overview[edit]

1001 Inventions is overseen by the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation, an international network of academics.[79] Prior to the launch of the 1001 Inventions exhibition at the Science Museum in London, the content of the exhibition was reviewed and approved by the host venue.[80][81] As per academic standards, 1001 Inventions has provided a full list of citations to all historical statements made within their books and exhibitions, with all academic references also made available online.[82]

In a 2012 article in the Skeptical Inquirer, Taner Edis and historian of Science Sonja Brentjes wrote that "[the exhibition] promotes serious misunderstandings of science and history."[83]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]