x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Islamic science taken to world

The Islamic Science Rediscovered exhibit heads to the US, opening at the Tech Museum in San Francisco September 3.

ABU DHABI // A touring exhibition celebrating some of history's greatest yet perhaps overlooked scholars from the Arab world is returning to the US by demand.

Islamic Science Rediscovered, also referred to as the Sultans of Science exhibition, will open at San Francisco's Tech Museum on September 3 and close at the end of next February.

The partly interactive exhibition features works from the likes of the Muslim inventor Abbas ibn Firnas, who created a flying machine in the 9th century.

He is said to be the first person in the world to successfully fly, if only for a brief period. Ibn Firnas was in his 70s at the time.

His invention came hundreds of years before Leonardo da Vinci's sketches for flying machines.

The artefacts on display will be a shock for some visitors, said Mike Hackworth, the lead director at the Tech Museum.

"Many of our visitors will be surprised to learn that from these ancient desert cities came the theory of vision, techniques of quantitative chemistry and trigonometry, and the numeral systems that we use today," Mr Hackworth said. The original version of the exhibition made its world debut in 2006 at Dubai's Ibn Battuta Mall as 1,000 Years of Knowledge Rediscovered.

The exhibition is on permanent display at the mall and was created by the Dubai and Cape Town-based consultancy MTE Studios, which is also behind the touring version.

Other works to be displayed at the Tech Museum include the elephant clock, a 4-metre tall timepiece designed by the 14th-century Muslim engineer, Al Jazari.

It features an Indian elephant, an Egyptian phoenix, Chinese serpents and Persian carpets in its intricate design.

zalhassani@thenational.ae