Abu Dhabi: The Middle East has a proud tradition of invention and innovation which have significantly improved quality of life for humanity as a whole. Now, Professor Salim T.S. Al Hassani, chairman of the 1001 Inventions exhibition, is hoping that it will inspire future generations to build upon that legacy and become scientists and inventors of the future.
"There exists 1,000 years of historical amnesia, usually referred to as the Dark Ages … [and since then] there are numerous historic, political and sociological reasons why the scientific and cultural achievements from the Muslim civilisation have not been given the acknowledgment they deserve," Professor Al Hassani said.
"What's most important going forward is that we endeavour to reverse this educational anomaly and bring this exciting and important period of history to life by enriching the schools curricula so that future generations can take inspiration from the panoply of pioneers featured in the 1001 Inventions initiative."
And so far, that is exactly what has been achieved by the exhibition since its launch in 2006. Over two million people have visited the 1001 Inventions, including heads of state, ambassadors, government ministers and royalty from around the world.
"[During the past five years] we have received thousands of messages urging us to bring 1001 Inventions to the region, and for the past two years we've been planning to produce a show specifically for the Middle East [so] we are delighted to be a part of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Science Festival," Professor Al Hassani said.
"[In fact], the 1001 Inventions show we are launching in Abu Dhabi is more than just a translation of an existing show. It's our most technologically advanced production, featuring many new electronic games and hands-on exhibits, which utilise the latest advances in interactive entertainment," he added.
He said that the 1,000 square metre exhibition, which will run until Dec-ember 24, although being bilingual, was produced specifically for an Arabic-speaking audience.
"UAE visitors will be delighted to hear that one of the historic heroes featured within our new exhibition is the famous cartographer and navigator Ahmad Bin Majid [who was born at Julfar in northern Ras Al Khaimah around 1432-1437]," Al Hassani observed.
According to Al Hassani, the exhibition is split into different zones, each representing a particular area of scientific enquiry.
Next it will go to Washington DC for a period of six months.
1001 Inventions opened yesterday as part of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Science Festival, which began on Friday. The festival is taking place both in the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) and the Corniche.