1001 Inventions exhibition continues global tour

Who first discovered the nature of light? When was the oldest-surviving map showing America drawn? How did people a thousand years ago make breakthroughs in treating disease?

The colourful and interactive 1001 Inventions exhibition in Doha

The colourful and interactive 1001 Inventions exhibition in Doha

We tackle these questions and many others in the exhibition 1001 Inventions: discover the Golden Age of Muslim Civilisation which is now on a global tour and has just appeared at the Library of Alexandria in Egypt. The interactive show, for which I wrote the text in collaboration with the academics of the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation, began life at the Science Museum in London, and has now visited venues all over the world, accompanied by an award-winning film starring Ben Kingsley.

In each new venue I assist the team in localising the text and audio-visual scripts to reflect local discoveries – in the Middle East, the development of sailing features prominently, along with historical figure Ibn Majid who expertly navigated the waters of the Gulf in the 14th century.  The 1001 Inventions team do a fantastic job in creating the exhibition anew at each location, with the Doha show an extremely colourful and exciting spectacle.

For the International Year of Light 2015, I assisted with the story for a fabulous film, 1001 Inventions and the World of the Ibn al-Haytham, made by Ahmed Salim, about the 11th-century scholar Ibn al-Haytham, who challenged received wisdom about how we see.

In 2014 I worked with the 1001 team as they prepared a live show for schools in Brazil, supported by Qatar Museums, for the Qatar Brazil 2014 Year of Culture. The show and classroom materials traced the customs and ideas from Muslim civilisation that travelled to the New World with the Portuguese settlers.