1001 Inventions: Discover the Golden Age of Muslim Civilization

Apr 25, 2011, 13:44 ET from California Science Center

Exhibition Opens May 27, 2011 at the California Science Center

LOS ANGELES, April 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 1001 Inventions: Discover the Golden Age of Muslim Civilization, an international traveling exhibition exploring the scientific contributions made by men and women during the Golden Age of Muslim Civilization, opens Friday, May 27, 2011 at the California Science Center. Through interactive displays, guests will explore basic science principles that are often taken for granted, in such fields as optics, time-keeping, hydraulics, navigation, architecture and mathematics.

The exhibition highlights the contributions of scholars from a diverse region stretching from Spain through China during the 7th to 17th centuries. Visitors will discover how scholars from this region, of various faiths and cultures, preserved, nurtured, and advanced the world's knowledge in science and technology. 1001 Inventions will be hosted at the Science Center until December 31, 2011. The exhibition is on a global tour and is sponsored by ALJ Community Initiatives.

"We are pleased to host 1001 Inventions in its West Coast premiere," said Jeffrey Rudolph, President and CEO of the California Science Center. "The exhibition brings to life timeless, historical innovations from the Muslim world - spanning the fields of engineering, medicine and design."

One of the focal points of the exhibition is a 20-foot high replica of the 'Elephant Clock'- a visually striking early 13th century clock whose design fuses together elements from many cultures and is accompanied by a short film starring Oscar-winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley as Al-Jazari, inventor of the fabled clock.

Professor Salim T S Al-Hassani, Chairman of 1001 Inventions, explained: "The Elephant Clock is an early 13th century machine which gives physical form to the concept of multi-culturalism. This engineering marvel features an Indian Elephant, Chinese Dragons, a Greek water mechanism, an Egyptian Phoenix, and wooden robots in traditional Arabian attire. It embodies cultural and scientific convergence of civilizations and is an appropriate centre-piece for an exhibition about the roots of science and technology."

Another exhibit highlight is a 9th-century dark room model, now known as the Camera Obscura, which Ibn al-Haytham used to revolutionize our understanding of optics. The year 2011 is the 1,000 year anniversary of this invention – a forerunner of the modern-day camera. Other exhibits featured in this interactive exhibition include:

  • A large 10-foot reproduction Al-Idrisi's 12th-century world map.
  • Model of Zheng He's Chinese junk ship – originally a 15th century wooden super structure over 325-feet long.
  • Medical instruments from a thousand years ago, many of which are still used today.

Guests can also learn about parallel stories of invention from other cultures and civilizations, illustrated through a display of unique objects. These include devices used for weighing and measuring, surgical instruments, astronomical devices, intricately crafted ceramic pots and textiles.

1001 Inventions was created by the British-based Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilization (FSTC). The 1001 Inventions exhibition has already attracted more than a million visitors during its residencies in London, Istanbul and at the New York Hall of Science.

About the California Science Center

The California Science Center is a dynamic destination where families, adults and children can explore the wonders of science through interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, innovative programs and awe-inspiring films. Its mission is as follows: "We aspire to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning in everyone by creating fun, memorable experiences, because we value science as an indispensable tool for understanding our world, accessibility and inclusiveness, and enriching people's lives."

General Info:  The California Science Center and IMAX Theater are located in historic Exposition Park just west of the Harbor (110) Freeway at 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. For recorded information, including IMAX show times, call 323.SCIENCE (323.724-3623). IMAX ticket prices range from $4.75 to $8.25. For advance ticket purchases, group rates, or to make reservations for any visiting group of 15 or more (required), call 213.744-2019. Parking is available in the guest lot at Figueroa and 39th / Exposition Park Drive at $8 per car, and $25 for commercial buses or oversize vehicles. Both the Science Center and IMAX Theater is wheelchair accessible. For further information, please visit our website at www.californiasciencecenter.org.

About 1001 Inventions

1001 Inventions is a global educational initiative that promotes awareness of scientific and cultural achievements from the 'Golden Age' of Muslim civilization and how those contributions helped build the foundations of our modern world. This period lasted approximately 1000 years from the 7th century onwards. The 1001 Inventions global touring exhibition and the educational products that accompany the exhibition all highlight the scientific and technological achievements made by men and women, of different faiths and cultures, who lived in or were connected with broader Muslim civilization.

Originally funded by the British government and launched in the United Kingdom in 2006, 1001 Inventions was created by the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC). FSTC is a British-based non-profit, international network of the world's leading academics with expertise in the history of science and technology. Both 1001 Inventions and FSTC are non-religious, apolitical organizations and have received support from various arms of the British government, the Wellcome Trust and the British Science Association. Prior to its launch in London in January 2010, the content of 1001 Inventions was rigorously reviewed by its inaugural host, the London Science Museum.

About ALJ Community Initiatives

Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI) is the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of the ALJ Group, which is a Toyota automobiles distributor in 13 different countries. ALJCI plans and operates numerous global programs, such as poverty-alleviation initiatives, artistic and educational projects and technology innovation grants, including a long history of scholarships for students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ALJCI is the global sponsor of the 1001 Inventions exhibition and its international tour.

Shell Amega
California Science Center Foundation

Junaid Bhatti
1001 Inventions
202-509-4124 (US) or +44 7980 586 243 (UK)

SOURCE California Science Center