FSTC Newsletter Issue 4

A Quarterly Publication issued by the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC), Manchester, UK

Issue 4 - Vol. 1 * Dhu 'l-Hijja 1429 / December 2008

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Discover the Scientific and Technological Muslim Heritage in Our World

A Quarterly Publication issued by the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC), Manchester, UK

Issue 4 - Vol. 1 * Dhu 'l-Hijja 1429 / December 2008

Read Previous Newsletters:

Issue 1: November 2007; Issue 2: March 2008 ; Issue 3: July 2008.

FSTC at the United Nations in New York: Contribution to the Intercultural Dialogue at the General Assembly of the UN
In 12-13 November 2008, the United Nations organised in New York a high-level meeting of the General Assembly to promote inter-faith dialogue. The meeting was marked by the active participation of the heads of state and senior officials of more than 75 Member States who came together to support mutual tolerance, respect and understanding. At the end of the high-level meeting, the General Assembly of the UN adopted a general declaration praising the values of tolerance and mutual respect between faiths and cultures. On the occasion of this high-level meeting in New York, The Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation organised at the UN in New York a display on "Multi-Faith Scientists in Islamic Civilisation" and a conference on the "Strategic importance of Muslim Heritage in our World and its impact on Diplomatic, Educational and Socio-economic Developments".

Click here to view the photos taken during the display and the conference. Read more…

FSTC Activities in UK Parliaments in London: 13-17 October 2008
Between 13 and 17 October 2008, the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC) organised two major events in London: a scaled down version of the "1001 Inventions Exhibition" at the Houses of Parliament (13-17 October) and a conference on "Muslim Heritage in our World: Social Cohesion" at Hoare Memorial Hall, Church House, Westminster (15 October 2008). The exhibition which is exclusively for Ministers and Members of Parliament and not open to the general public, was opened by Jim Knight MP, UK Minister for Schools and Learning on the 15th October.

Click the following links for further information and photos of both events:
Muslim Heritage in our World: Social Cohesion
1001 Inventions at UK Houses of Parliament
1001 Inventions' Houses of Parliament Experience.
Picture Galleries: Album 1Album 2.

New Publications on MuslimHeritage.com
Click here to view a New Series of Publications on www.MuslimHeritage.com, the academic website of FSTC which, the Number One Free Electronic Source of information on scientific, technological, historical and cultural aspects of Muslim Heritage. In this Fourth Issue of the Newsletter, a new series of articles and studies are featured. These publications cover numerous aspects of Muslim heritage in science, technology, history and culture, including valuable contributions by eminent scholars in the field and coverage of different topics. The articles are illustrated with video animations, multimedia materials and graphic illustrations often extracted directly from unpublished manuscripts.
Activities and Announcements
To stay informed about past and future activities of FSTC and its members and associates, as well as Muslim Heritage related events, click here.
Various Features, Topics and Services available on MuslimHeritage.com
Among various features and services we offer to our readers, there are: Discussion Forums, Events related to Muslim Heritage all over the world, Feedback where you can react, an interactive Timeline of Islamic civilisation, a Virtual Civilisation tool for navigation to view the Muslim world through different topics, Muslim Scholars, a huge list of analytic and historical biographies about famous Muslim Scholars of the past, Features displaying news on ongoing activities, Topics, a list of entries listing in a synthetic way the contents of the web portal, and least but not least, the new service, Muslim Heritage Videos, presenting a set of original videos. Read more…
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FSTC's Contribution to the Intercultural Dialogue at the General Assembly of the United Nations
In 12-13 November 2008, the United Nations organised in New York a high-level meeting of the General Assembly to promote inter-faith dialogue. The meeting was marked by the active participation of the heads of state and senior officials of more than 75 Member States who came together to support mutual tolerance, respect and understanding. At the end of the high-level meeting, the General Assembly of the UN adopted a general declaration praising the values of tolerance and mutual respect between faiths and cultures. On the occasion of this high-level meeting in New York, The Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation organised at the UN in New York a display on "Multi-Faith Scientists in Islamic Civilisation" and a conference on the "Strategic importance of Muslim Heritage in our World and its impact on Diplomatic, Educational and Socio-economic Developments".
Muslim Heritage in our World: Social Cohesion (1001 Inventions in UK Parliament)
Between 13 and 17 October 2008, the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC) organised two major events in London: a scaled down version of the "1001 Inventions Exhibition" at the Houses of Parliament (13-17 October) and a conference on "Muslim Heritage in our World: Social Cohesion" at Hoare Memorial Hall, Church House, Westminster (15 October 2008). Here follows a short report on the conference illustrated with photos from both events.
1001 Inventions at UK Houses of Parliament
1001 Inventions have been given the privilege of exhibiting at the Houses of Parliament, from 13th-17th October 2008. This taster exhibition showcased Al-Jazari's Elephant Clock and Scribe Clock as well as his famous water pump raising machine. The exhibition also covered pioneering projects of FSTC such as the Curriculum Enrichment Programme (CEP) and Cultural Understanding in Science Project (CUSP). The exhibition, which was exclusively for Ministers and Memebers of Parliament, was opened by Jim Knight MP, UK Minister for Schools and Learning on the 15th October.
Muslim Heritage and Education
This is the text of a presentation made to The Education and Culture Committee of the EU Parliament in Brussels on the 5th November 2008. The presentation is in two parts. The first is an introduction to the 1000 years of amnesia, the so called "Dark Ages", and its impact on education and culture. The second is a review of the progress made in the ground breaking education project, entitled Cultural Understanding in Science (CUSP) jointly carried by the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC), Qualification and Curriculum Agency (QCA) and the Association of Science Education (ASE). Finally a list of concluding remarks and strategic recommendations are given.
Representing Islam and Muslims in the Media: An Academic Debate
In 5-6 September 2008 the Universities of Manchester and Surrey organised in Manchester an international conference "Representing Islam: Comparative Perspectives". The meeting attracted over 100 eminent national and international speakers and a large audience. The conference was primarily concerned with the representations of Islam and Muslims in our modern world and the relationship of this representation/mis-representation with current social and political issues. The following article presents a short report about some of the most important debates discussed in the conference.
Capitalist Traditions in Early Arab-Islamic Civilization
In this article, Professor S. M. Ghazanfar, a specialist in the history of economic thought in the Islamic civilisation, explores the evidence concerning the roots of historical "capitalism" as it evolved in the early Islamic world. After delineating the geographical extent of capitalistic, commercial/business ventures in the early Islamic world, he discusses the major centres of Islamic commerce, then focuses on the nature and content of the economic activities undertaken by the early Muslim entrepreneurs, and describes the development of financial institutions. Finally, the article concludes with the argument that, notwithstanding the relatively recent origin of the nomenclature, the capitalistic system indeed was the prevailing mode of economic activities in the early Islamic civilization.
The Invention of Spectacles between the East and the West
The following article by the expert scholar Lutfallah Gari surveys the historical sources to uncover the ancient history of the invention of spectacles. To the question "where and when were they invented?", and after a close investigation in the some original sources and a survey of secondary literature, the author shows the evidence in favour of the determining role played by Arabs and Muslims in the early history of this tremendous tool.
Promoting Science-based Cultural Dialogue among Civilizations
Text of the Lecture of Professor Roshdi Rashed in the Conference Muslim Heritage in our World: Social Cohesion marking the 1001 Inventions Exhibition at the House of Parliament, 15th of October 2008, Church House, London, UK.
Science and Rationalism in 9th Century Baghdad
Text of the Lecture of Professor Jim Al-Khalili in the Conference Muslim Heritage in our World: Social Cohesion marking the 1001 Inventions Exhibition at the House of Parliament, 15th of October 2008, Church House, London, UK.
The Book of Curiosities or a Medieval Islamic View of the Cosmos
The Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford has purchased the medieval Arabic manuscript Kitab Gharaib al-funun wa-mulah al-?uyun known as the Book of Curiosities, an exceptionally rich text on cosmography. The treatise is one of the most important recent finds in the history of Islamic cartography in particular, and for the history of pre-modern cartography in general. The manuscript, a highly illustrated treatise on astronomy and geography compiled by an unknown author between 1020 and 1050, contains an important and hitherto unknown series of colourful maps, giving unique insight into Islamic concepts of the world. Portions of the text are preserved in later copies, but the copy owned by the Bodleian library is the only nearly complete coy and the one to have been extensively studied and released in an electronic edition which represents a model for online publishing of Arabic original manuscripts. This high-quality digital reproduction includes interactive displays, through mouse-over techniques, as well as access to a modern Arabic edition and an annotated English translation.
The Thistle and the Crescent by Bashir Maan: A Book Review
Information on the long and varied relationship between Islam and Scotland that began as early as the 7th century is non-existent. The Thistle and the Crescent by Bashir Maan has been written to fill this gap. Mrs Margaret Morris reviews this book which covers the history of the relationship between Scotland and Islam, as well as an account of the experiences of Muslims in contemporary Scotland and an account of the beliefs and practices of Islam which counteracts many misconceptions.
Muslim Heritage: A Scholarly Perspective
FSTC Research Associate Kaleem Hussain delivered a lecture on ‘Muslim Heritage: A Scholarly Perspective' on 17th April 2008 at the Markfield Institute of Higher Education in Leicester. Aiming to explore the education of children in that area, focusing particularly on Muslim children, the conference presented the projects of FSTC and some milestones in contemporary scholarship in Muslim Heritage. We reproduce in this article a brief summary of the themes touched on during the lecture.
In Memoriam of Aydin Sayili: Biography and Account of his Scientific Activity
The following article presents a thorough intellectual biography of the late Aydin Sayili, the well known historian of Islamic science. The second part of the article is a comprehensive list of his works. This bibliography shows the richness and variety of his contributions to the history of medieval Islamic sciences, with a special focus on astronomy, mathematics and physics, the sciences that established the subject of history of science as an independent discipline in 20th century scholarship.
The Fate of Manuscripts in Iraq and Elsewhere
In this well informed article, Dr Geoffrey Roper, an expert in the field, outlines an impressive portrait of the dangers and threats encountered by the national heritage of Iraq due to the recent dramatic events in this country. After an historical survey in which the 13th-century Mongol invasion is recorded, the article focuses on the vicissitudes that the tragic political and military situation in Iraq has inflicted on manuscripts, archives, rare books and libraries in different towns of Iraq, especially in Baghdad.
Aydin Sayili (1913-1993) At Work: His Scientific Biography
Aydin Sayili is one of the first eminent figures of the history of science in Islam to pursue an academic career in this discipline. He was fortunate to earn the first PhD from the history of science chair established by George Sarton at Harvard University. With this distinguished background, he made valuable contributions to this field throughout his life. In the following article, Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu draws a lively picture of the scientific biography of the late Aydin Sayili (1913-1993) and points out the hallmarks of his scholarly work.
Ottoman Contributions to Science and Technology: Examples from Geography and Astronomy
The Ottoman contribution to science and technology during their six hundred year rule is beyond measure. This article is a brief outline of just some of the Ottoman scientific activities and related institutions that brought about the revival of culture, science, and learning in civilization throughout the Islamic world and beyond. To demonstrate the Ottoman scientific contributions, the author focuses on two significant examples from astronomy and geography in the 16th century: the foundation of the Istanbul Observatory and Taqi Al-Din's achievements therein, and map making and mapmakers such as the famous sailors Piri Reis, Saydi Ali Reis and Macar Ali Reis./font>
The Islamic Heritage in China: A General Survey
In this article, Anthony Garnaut, an expert in Chinese Muslim culture, focuses on the Islamic heritage in China and its relevance to understanding both the evolution of Chinese history and culture, and to appreciating the complex, multi-ethnic influences on modern China. Beginning with the Mongol conquest of the greater part of Eurasia in the 13th century, that brought the extensive cultural traditions of China and Persia into a single empire, he describes the great impact the Chinese Muslim communities exerted on the Chinese civilisation in technology, sciences, philosophy and the arts.
A Bibliography of the Islamic and Chinese Scientific Relationships in Classical Times
In the following bibliography of the Islamic and Chinese scientific relationships in classical times, a list of the main recent works is produced. The researches cover various scientific domains, from mathematics and astronomy to technology, geography and travel accounts. They show the mutual influence between the world of Islam and the Chinese world.
Muslim Heritage in Mechanics and Technology: Outline of a Program for Future Research
The following text is the revised and expanded version of a lecture presented at The Royal Society in London (1st March 2007) during a meeting of the Muslim Heritage Awareness Group (MHAG) in which Mohammed Abattouy outlines a potential future research program in Muslim Heritage in the fields of mechanics, technology and engineering.
Vidinli Huseyin Tawfik: A Modern Turkish Specialist of Linear Algebra
This article is a biography essay on the life and works of Vidinli Tawfiq Pasha, a 19th-century Ottoman scholar, statesman and general of 19th-century Istanbul, and a noteworthy mathematician who published in 1882 an important book in Linear algebra, a new branch of mathematics at that time. After a short biographical sketch, we present a complete compilation of his writings in Linear Algebra and in other fields.
The Advent of Scientific Chemistry
Until recently, the mainstream history of scientific ideas has failed to acknowledge numerous Islamic scientists and their great efforts and achievements throughout the centuries. This short article seeks to contribute to redressing this injustice by highlighting Muslim contributions and attitudes towards the progress of chemistry.
Certain Aspects of Medical Instruction in Medieval Islam and its Influences on Europe
In this article, Professor Aydin Sayili analyses the medical teaching in the different phases of Islamic civilisation, especially in the madrasa system. The network of schools covered the Islamic world from the 11th century onwards, while the European university was developed over a century later and at a time when Latin translations of Arabic philosophical and scientific works were already available. Thus he established a parallel between the features of the madrasa and the university in pre-modern Europe and stresses how the medical authorities of Islam such as al-Râzî and Ibn Sînâ were accorded a place of honour in European medical schools.