Abstract - The Next Golden Age?
Dr. Natalie Day
The names of Nasir al-Din al-Tusi and Ibn al-Nafis may be less familiar to many people than those of Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein. But these, and other Islamic scholars of the 12th and 13th centuries, belong in the pantheon of thinkers whose work has shaped the direction of modern science.
The history of Islamic-world science and innovation is one of a period of great flourishing followed by a steep and protracted decline. Today, research and development spending across the 57 member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference averages just 0.38 per cent of gross domestic product. This is not simply a sign of relative poverty: oil-producing states such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are among the lowest investors in research as a percentage of GDP. In 2005, the 17 countries of the Arab world together produced 13,444 scientific publications, fewer than the 15,455 achieved by Harvard University alone. But now there are signs of renewed ambition and investment in education, science and innovation, with strong support from national governments, businesses, philanthropists and bodies like the OIC.
This presentation will reflect on the modern state of science in the Islamic-world and the potential of a new 'golden age' of Islamic world science. It will highlight a number of eye-catching developments and trends that reinforce the potential for a wider shift in the science and innovation capabilities of the Islamic world, whilst also considering some of the challenges and barriers to success. How might more effective inspiration be drawn from the rich history of scientific endeavour?
by: Dr. Natalie Day, Sat 19 June, 2010