Jim Al-Khalili travels through Syria, Iran, Tunisia and Spain to tell the story of the great leap in scientific knowledge that took place in the Islamic world between the 8th and 14th centuries.
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Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Two documentary movies, the first discuss the theory of the beginning of the universe (big bang theory), while the other includes the ending theories.

Stars: Jim Al-Khalili
Light and Dark (TV Series 2013)
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Prof. Jim Al-Khalili tells the story of light and darkness in terms of their astronomic importance, and their role in our understanding of the universe.

Stars: Jim Al-Khalili, Daniel Hunt, Chamkaur Ghag
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Islam: Empire of Faith is a documentary series, made in 2000, that details the history of Islam, from the birth of the Islamic Prophet, Muhammad to the Ottoman Empire.

The first episode ... See full synopsis »

Director: Robert H. Gardner
Stars: Ben Kingsley
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Professor of physics Jim Al-Khalili investigates the most accurate and yet perplexing scientific theory ever - quantum physics.

Stars: Jim Al-Khalili, Eliza Shea
Atom (TV Mini-Series 2007)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

The story of the discovery that everything is made from atoms, one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs in history, and the brilliant minds behind it.

Stars: Jim Al-Khalili
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Tells the story of the seventh century prophet who changed world history in 23 years, and continues to shapes the lives of more than 1.2 billion people. The film takes viewers not only to ... See full summary »

Directors: Omar Al-Qattan, Michael Schwarz
Horizon (TV Series 1964)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
Stars: Paul Vaughan, Jack Fortune, Dilly Barlow
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Chaos theory has a bad name, conjuring up images of unpredictable weather, economic crashes and science gone wrong. But there is a fascinating and hidden side to Chaos, one that scientists ... See full summary »

Director: Nic Stacey
Stars: Jim Al-Khalili
Chemistry: A Volatile History (TV Mini-Series 2010)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Series in which Jim Al-Khalili traces the story of how the elements, the building blocks that make up our entire world, were discovered and mapped.

Stars: Jim Al-Khalili, Andrea Sella, Eugene Babaev
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Professor Jim Al-Khalili tells the electrifying story of our quest to master nature's most mysterious force: electricity. Until fairly recently, electricity was seen as a magical power, but... See full synopsis »

Stars: Jim Al-Khalili, Jon Agar, Patricia Fara
Order & Disorder (TV Mini-Series 2012)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Professor Jim Al-Khalili unwraps the evolutionary histories responsible for the modern human condition, as currently represented by our sophistication in energy manipulation and information technology.

Stars: Jim Al-Khalili, Annabel Troost, Janet Anders
Farouk Omar (TV Series 2012)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9/10 X  

The life of Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, the second Caliph of Islamic State, before and after he embraces in Islam.

Stars: Samer Ismail, Hazem Zedan, Ghassan Massoud
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Jim Al-Khalili ...  Himself - Presenter 3 episodes, 2009
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Jim Al-Khalili travels through Syria, Iran, Tunisia and Spain to tell the story of the great leap in scientific knowledge that took place in the Islamic world between the 8th and 14th centuries.

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5 January 2009 (UK)  »

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Наука и ислам  »

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Diffusion and Independent Invention.
18 January 2013 | by See all my reviews

It's going to be a hell of a job keeping this short because I feel as if I'm reviewing all the notes I've taken -- or should have taken -- during a course in Middle Eastern Civilization. Moreover, our presenter, Al-Khalili, who is half English and half Iraqi and is a physicist at Surrey University, rather zips through some trigonometry that baffled me even as a sophomore in high school. On top of that, he runs through history using unfamiliar names that are hard to pronounce and if we see them written at all, they're in Arabic. When he reached "the Tusi coupling" -- and astronomical theory -- I couldn't tell whether he was saying "Tusi" or "Tursi" and finally wound up in Wikipedia. I was also a little disappointed that Al-Khalili didn't mention ibn Khaldun, the only guy from this period that I know anything about. As it was, I felt like a total ignoramus.

I don't suppose that's anything to be ashamed of because most Americans don't know much about the history of science in the 12th-century Islamic Empire either. The general impression I'd always had, without attributing any particular importance to it, was that when the territory of Islam began to expand in the 900s, it absorbed and improved upon a lot of Greek and Latin works that had been forgotten in Europe. We may keep in mind that Europe of the time was a land of petty kingdoms and poverty, raided periodically by the Vikings or by one or another horde of barbarians who were more interested in pillaging than in measuring the circumference of the earth. In Europe at the time, the earth was flat.

At any rate, when Islam was expanding (Al-Khalili doesn't mention Southeast Asia), there was what he calls a "translation movement." In an attempt to bind the empire together, they gathered all the written works they could and translated them into a common language, Arabic.

For a number of reasons, Islam promoted science and the arts and influenced the result. If your house has Mexican or Spanish tiles in the bathroom or kitchen, you're dealing with some of the residue of that influence. Basically, science was to Islam what capitalism was to Protestantism. What's involved is compatibility rather than causality.

I can't begin to list all the discoveries of the Arabs and their far-flung territory. But I'll mention the concept of zero, which makes algebra (from an Arabic term, "al-jabr") possible. The zero was invented only three times in all of human history. Once by the Mayans of Central America, once by the people of India, and once by the Arabs, under whom it blossomed.

They invented what's called the operational definition in science, though Al-Khalili doesn't call it that. An operational definition spells out in detail exactly how you went about measuring something. A recipe for paella valenciana is an operational definition. It makes replication possible. Without operational definitions and replication, science is reduced to untestable opinions, kind of like what you find on internet blogs. They introduced a tough-minded empiricism into science, which was mostly lacking elsewhere. This was an improvement over the Greeks, whose rational philosophers would sit around in the squares and argue over how many teeth a horse had in its mouth, when horses were ten feet away.

Well, this review has been kind of rambling but I must add one more point of the utmost importance. They invented soap.


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