The International Year of Light Sheds Light on the Dark Ages

The UNESCO International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies is a multi-faceted celebration of light in its scientific, technological and cultural context. Central to this has been the recognition of Ibn al-Haytham as the founder of the science of optics. Dr Anne-Maria Brennan who represents the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC) on the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee explains why this announcement is not only timely but also sends out an important message to policy makers and scientific advisors everywhere.

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Note of the Editor; This article has been taken from Science in Parliament (SiP) “The Journal of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee” Issue May/June 2015 (Page 44-45): www.scienceinparliament.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/SiP-May-June-2015-full-issue.pdf

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Dr Anne-Maria Brennan is Principal Lecturer in Bioscience and Forensic Biology at London South Bank University, represents the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC) on the Committee and also Chairs the educational charity Curriculum Enrichment for the Future (CE4tF)

It’s not every day that you get to celebrate a millennium, but 2015 represents the 1000th anniversary of the publication of Kitab al-Manzr (The Book of Optics). The book was just one of over 200 written by lbn al­-Haytham which has survived and has gone on to become one of the key works in establishing the science of optics. However, there is more to the story of its writing than meets the eye, and it is for that reason that the lbn al-Haytham initiative has become the focal point for the UNESCO International Year of Light celebrations.

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