1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham
Who was Ibn Al-Haytham?
Al Hasan Ibn Al-Haytham was a 10th century polymath from Basra (in modern-day Iraq), who is often referred to as the ‘father of modern optics’. He spent much of his life in Egypt, including a decade under house arrest, which was where he wrote his most celebrated work, Kitab al-Manazir (The Book of Optics).
Different views about how the process of vision can be explained had been in circulation for centuries. Some said rays came out of our eyes, while others thought something entered the eyes to represent an object. Ibn Al-Haytham broke away from these ideas about vision to experimentally demonstrate that light was a crucial, and independent, part of the visual process.
He used what is now commonly referred to as a Camera Obscura to demonstrate and verify his ideas.
Ibn Al-Haytham made significant advancements in optics, mathematics and astronomy, and helped lay the foundations of the scientific experimental method. Ibn Al-Haytham wrote as many as about 96 books, although only 55 have survived. Translations of his work are known to have influenced many Renaissance thinkers, such as Roger Bacon, Christiaan Huygens, and René Descartes. He was known in the West as “Alhazen”, and the crater Alhazen on the Moon is named in his honour, as is the asteroid 59239 Alhazen.
UNESCO Announces 1001 Inventions Partnership
The International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL2015) is delighted to welcome as Founding Partner the award-winning educational organization 1001 Inventions. British-based 1001 Inventions has the specific mission to raise awareness of the contributions to science, technology and culture from the Golden Age of Muslim Civilization, and will play a key role during IYL2015 to promote and celebrate the 10th century pioneer Ibn Al-Haytham. Ibn Al-Haytham’s seminal work on optics Kitab al-Manazir (The Book of Optics) was written around 1015, and its 1000th anniversary is listed explicitly in the United Nations resolution on IYL2015 as a focal point of celebration.
1001 Inventions will be introducing Ibn Al-Haytham to the world in 2015 through a series of high-profile international events and educational initiatives including interactive exhibits, live shows, workshops, digital content, educational products and teaching resources as well as a short feature film. The global campaign will inter-link themes of science, arts, culture, education and technology using experiential learning to stimulate inquisitiveness and curiosity and to encourage young people around the world to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)
The “1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham” campaign will be launched through an interactive exhibit which will be a key part of the IYL2015 Opening Ceremony at UNESCO HQ over 19-20 January 2015. The campaign will then roll out in countries around the world through the partnership of science centres, science festivals, museums, and educational institutions, digital and social media platforms.
Speaking on behalf of UNESCO, Director-General Irina Bokova said “I am pleased to partner with the International Organisation 1001 Inventions to launch the World of Ibn Al Haytham Global Campaign, to promote light-science for the benefit of all.”
As IYL2015 Chairman John Dudley says “We are delighted to welcome 1001 Inventions with their experience of effective educational exhibits as an IYL Founding Partner. Ibn Al-Haytham was a remarkable pioneer known for his insistence on understanding our world through experimental verification, and it will be a pleasure to work throughout 2015 to make his story known worldwide.”
These comments are echoed by Ahmed Salim, Producer and Director of 1001 Inventions saying: “We’re very excited to be working with UNESCO and IYL Steering Committee to engage the public in exploring the importance of light and optical technologies through the inspirational discoveries of Ibn Al-Haytham. Ibn Al-Haytham’s achievements in optics, mathematics, astronomy, empiricism and the scientific method have had a lasting impact, yet underappreciated. His story is one that will motivate young people to pursue careers in science and strive towards building a brighter future."
Director-General Irina Bokova announces UNESCO's partnership with 1001 Inventions
to launch a global campaign to celebrate the 10th century scientist Ibn Al-Haytham
(image copyright 1001 Inventions Ltd, released under free licence)
About 1001 Inventions
1001 Inventions is an award-winning, British-based organisation that creates international educational campaigns and engaging transmedia productions aiming to raise awareness of the contributions to science, technology and culture from the Golden Age of Muslim Civilisation. Over the last decade, 1001 Inventions has engaged with over 100 million people across the globe, with educational campaigns in cities such as in London, Istanbul, New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Kuala Lumpur, Abu Dhabi and Jeddah. 1001 Inventions works with a network of international partners and leading academics, and through its academic partner FSTC (UK), to produce world-class experiences, interactive exhibits, feature films, live shows, books and classroom learning materials that are being used by hundreds of thousands of educators around the world.
About IYL 2015
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