In the ninth century, the Abbasid caliph of Baghdad, al-Ma'mun, created one of the greatest centres of learning the world had ever seen, known as the House of Wisdom. This lecture tells the story of how the scientists and philosophers he brought together sparked a period of extraordinary discovery launching a golden age of Arabic science. The next few hundred years saw great advances in medicine, astronomy, philosophy, mathematics and many other disciplines. It saw the birth of whole new branches fields, such as algebra and trigonometry. This is the forgotten story of one of the most exciting periods in the history of science, full of wonderful characters and geniuses, such as al-Kindi, Ibn al-Haytham, Ibn Sina and al-Biruni – names that should be spoken alongside Newton, Galileo and Aristotle. I will argue in this talk that the world needs to look at the achievements of these scholars with fresh eyes, and the Arab and Islamic world needs to take greater pride in its rich scientific heritage, far removed from the dogmatic anti-scientific attitudes found so widely in the Islamic world today.
Jim Al-Khalili presents the 2013 Holyoake Lecture on The Forgotten Legacy of Arabic Science
Time: Doors open 6pm for 6.30pm start – 8:30pm
Date: 22 October
Venue: Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount St, Manchester M2 5NS
About Jim Al-Khalili, President of the BHA
‘We should make the most of our time on earth and not waste this brief opportunity to shine as brightly as the stars that created the atoms we are all made of. That, for me, is what defines Humanism.’
Jim Al-Khalili is an Iraqi born theoretical physicist, author and broadcaster. He is a professor at the University of Surrey where he teaches and carries out his research in quantum physics.
Jim currently presents The Life Scientific on Radio 4 on Tuesday mornings, where he interviews prominent scientists about their life and work. He has presented a number of science documentaries on television, particularly on BBC4 where he says he is happiest as he can really get his teeth into a subject.
His work includes Atom (2007), The Secret Life of Chaos (2009), Chemistry: A Volatile History (2010), which was nominated for a Bafta, Everything and Nothing (2011), Shock and Awe: The Story of Electricity (2011), Black Holes, Wormholes and Time Machines (Taylor&Francis), Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science (Penguin Press), and Paradox: The Nice Greatest Enigmas in Science (Bantam).
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