BHA: The Forgotten Legacy of Arabic Science

The Forgotten Legacy of Arabic Science

Holyoake Lecture 2013 presented by Jim Al-Khalili

22 October, Manchester

The British Humanist Association is pleased to announce theoretical physicist, author and broadcaster Jim Al-Khalili as the 2013 Holyoake honorary lecturer, taking a look at the rich scientific heritage of Arabic science, focussing on the period when it was at the forefront of innovation and advance. 

In the ninth century, the Abbasid caliph of Baghdad, al-Ma'mun, created the House of Wisdom, one of the greatest centres of learning the world had ever seen. The House of Wisdom produced a golden age of Arabic science, an institution from which scientists and philosophers sparked a period of extraordinary discovery. This was a time of great advances and wonderful characters, undoubtedly one of the most exciting periods in the history of science.  This lecture will tell the forgotten story of the outstanding scientific achievements made by people such as al-Kindi, Ibn al-Haytham, Ibn Sina and al-Biruni – all comparable to the likes of Newton, Galileo and Aristotle.

Jim Al-Khalili will argue that the world needs to look at the achievements of these scholars with fresh eyes, and that the rich scientific heritage of the House of Wisdom should not be eclipsed by the dogmatic anti science attitudes found in many quarters of the Islamic world today.

Details can be found at


Notes to editors

Time and date: October 22nd, 2013 6:00 PM   through   8:30 PM

Venue: Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, Manchester, M2 5NS, United Kingdom

Tickets:  General £ 8.00, Members and students £ 5.00

Register here now –

Partners: Greater Manchester Humanists

For further comment or press passes contact Sara Passmore on 020 7079 3586 or by email at

About the speaker: Jim Al-Khalili is an Iraqi born theoretical physicist, author and broadcaster. He is a professor at the University of Surrey where he teaches and carries out his research in quantum physics.

Jim currently presents The Life Scientific on Radio 4 on Tuesday mornings, where he interviews prominent scientists about their life and work. He has presented a number of science documentaries on television, particularly on BBC4 where he says he is happiest as he can really get his teeth into a subject.

His work includes Atom (2007), The Secret Life of Chaos (2009), Chemistry: A Volatile History (2010), which was nominated for a Bafta, Everything and Nothing (2011), Shock and Awe: The Story of Electricity (2011), Black Holes, Wormholes and Time Machines (Taylor&Francis), Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science (Penguin Press), and Paradox: The Nice Greatest Enigmas in Science (Bantam).

About the British Humanist Association

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.