1001 Inventions, The Golden Age of the Muslim Civilization

1001 Inventions, The Golden Age of the Muslim Civilization


 Wednesday, May 25th 2011 William T. Harris, launched the 1001 Inventions exhibition on the 3rd floor of the newly reinvented California Science Center. Surrounded by Arabian, Egyptian, Chinese and Persian impersonators

of the 1001 inventors of the Golden Age, it was the West coast premiere of this very sought after touring exhibit, honoring the remarkable accomplishments of the Muslim world.

When U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, appeared on screen with a video message followed by Academy award winning actor Ben Kingsley, taking on the role of one of the inventors of the Golden Age, it was clear that this exhibit was not only created to build a platform for teaching but also a plea to bring cultures from all over the world together to exchange ideas and interact in peace with each other.

 The exhibit chronicles the stories of these many remarkable inventions and the people who shared a particular vision that would change and influence the Western world forever.

 You can talk to some of the inventors like the beautiful Fatima al-Fihri who happens to be the founder of the first university in Morocco or Sinan, the famous Architect from 15th century turkey who is also known as the master of the East, building over 470 structures in his lifetime.


You can read up on how the number system and calligraphy developed

and may even find out that many English words are routed in Arabic, Hindi and Persian words.

You can study the stars and interact with many displays who will answer questions and show you how technologies and ideas are developed.

 Who knew that 1000 years ago Baghdad was the world’s biggest and richest city? It was home of the house of wisdom, an academy that attracted brains from near and far. It was the center of research for Mathematics, Astronomy, Alchemy, Chemistry, Zoology and Architecture.

11th century physicists changed the understanding of light and vision, mathematicians found solutions for Algebra and Geometry.   Also did you know that the inventors of the Muslim world founded the world’s oldest university, observatory and wrote the first medical book dating back to 1033.


Other things you can learn about at the exhibition:

1) The Elephant clock

2) The first Maps of the World

3) The ingenious Flying Machines

4) Perfume and Petroleum

5) Hospitals and Medical Treatment

6) Chinese Navy

7) Music

8) Personal Grooming

9) Coffee

10) The Library of Secrets


If that wasn’t enough information, you should go and see MacGIllivray Freeman’s extraordinary giant screen ARABIA 3D adventure in the IMAX Theater that is part of the Cal Science center.

The film, shot documentary style, sums up 2000 years of Saudi Arabian history.  It is the first major film production filmed entirely in Saudi Arabia through the course of 2 years. Combining contemporary scenes of everyday life and Hollywood-style recreations of the Arabian past with computer generated 3D special effects the film is a masterpiece. Following the colorful camel caravans, learning about the Nabataean past and seeing the spiritual heart of Arabia, Mecca, one almost flies magically on a carpet through Saudi Arabia.

Hearing the enthusiastic groining of the children, there was a sense of mutual respect and Harmony.

It was clear that the exhibit isn’t just a wonderful teaching source but also an inspiration for multicultural conversations.

As I exited the theater I was happy to have had this cultural experience and having had the opportunity to immerse myself into a totally different place and it’s rich history I felt as if I was returning from a vacation overseas. 


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