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Lectures - Autumn 2008

The House of Wisdom

Speaker: Tahir Shah
4 October

Western society tends to believe that the scientific bedrock upon which it sits was a product of the Classical world, of the Romans and the Greeks. But we forget that the scientific legacies of these and other empires came to Europe through the Arab Caliphates and their ‘Golden Age’. A thousand years ago, all the knowledge in the known world was collected at Baghdad, in a place known as Bayt al Hikma (The House of Wisdom). It was studied, built upon and allowed the creation of the scientific world in which we live today.

TAHIR SHAH is the author of a dozen books and a presenter of documentaries on travel, exploration and inter-cultural themes. In his journeys and his work, Shah strives to observe the unobserved, whether it be in the jungles of the Amazon or in a café on Oxford Street . He is fascinated with the way Arab science is all around us unnoticed – in the numbers we use, in our mobile phones and our washing machines, in our computers and even in the paper in our books.