The Royal Society of London launched a new exhibition yesterday exploring the historical relationship between British and Arab scientists. Arabick Roots explores the cultural and scientific ties between seventeenth century thinkers in the Muslim world and British scholars and scientists.
The curator of the exhibition, Dr. Rim Turkmani said: "This exhibition uncovers the never-before told story of the connections between the early Royal Society and contemporary and classical Arabic learning, and how they were used to solve some of the most pressing problems of the day.”
Rare books, correspondence and scientific instruments paint a picture of the often-surprising exchanges taking place between scientists at this time. According to never before seen letters on display, the practice of inoculation against small pox was practiced in North Africa and the Middle East hundreds of years before it made its way to Europe.
Her Highness Sheikha Mozah of Qatar was a guest of honor at the event. She highlighted the importance of revitalizing a cultural relationship between the East and West. “Today we open an exhibition about science in the Islamic world from centuries ago. However, we have a desperate need to repeat history. Only through beautiful minds, like the ones that we can see on display here today, can we achieve that. Collaboration between East and West is the key to repeating that history.”
Arabick Roots will be open 9am - 5pm in the week of the Royal Society's Summer Science Exhibition (5 - 10 July, 2011); at all other times guided tours are by appointment (call +44 20 7451 2597). Entrance is free. The exhibition runs until November 2011, after which it will transfer to Doha.