March 17, 2006

Website of the Week: 1001 Islamic Inventions

The 1001 Inventions website is the face of a unique UK-based educational project that uses Muslim contributions to society as a way to highlight the rich heritage of Muslim communities in the UK and across Europe.
1001 Inventions is a non-religious and non-political project seeking to allow the positive aspects of progress in science and technology to act as a bridge in understanding the interdependence of communities throughout human history. 1001 Inventions consists of a UK-wide travelling exhibition, a colourful easy to read book, a dedicated website and a themed collection of educational posters complementing a secondary school teachers' pack.
The traveling exhibition is based in the UK (maybe it will cross the border to the rest of Europe and North America?), although individuals around the world can take advantage of other parts of this project:

--> The 1001 Inventions Book is available for order online and can be a great addition to any public or private library. "Over 350 pages of colour photographs and written in an accessible style for those with limited knowledge of either Islam or history."

--> Educators can also use the 1001 Inventions Teacher's Pack which includes "important teacher’s guides and experiments to do at school and is devised to support teachers and the classroom environment." The pack is available for download here FREE of charge.

--> Educators and individuals alike can take advantage of beautifully designed 1001 Investions Educational Posters that include timelines of inventions, profiles of Muslim inventors, a world map of inventions, and themed posters that focus on how these inventions are found in our homes, schools, hospitals, markets, towns, our world, and our universe. They can be ordered online here.

Take a quick look through the website and you will find more information on many of these inventions. The website has a plethora of information, commentary, and space for your comments; it's addictive! You can also have fun with some of the quizzes and games here.

Here are some of my favorite snippets...

-Did you know that cosmetics were introduced to the West by a Muslim doctor?

-If you've ever had an allergic reaction to something you may be interested to know that this problem was first studied by a Muslim scolar, Al-Razi, who also discovered asthma.

-Did you know that cheese was first made in the Middle East?

Did you know that the basic scale in music today comes from Arabic syllables do, re, mi, fa, sol, la and ti? The Arabic alphabet for these notes is Dal-Ra-Mim-Fa-Sad-Lam-Sin.

- Did you know that the popular Spanish music and dance of Flamenco comes from the phrase 'Fallah Mango', meaning the running farmers, a singing style developed by Moorish farmers facing the injustice of inquisition?

- Did you know that well before braille was invented that some 600 years before a Syrian Muslim had created his own system?

I could go on forever, but go see for yourself. Great isn't it? Kudos to all the individuals who worked on this project, the sponsors, and all of the supporters. Brilliant work!

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