Marvels Of Muslim Scientists On Display

July 5, 2009

Author: Shahzada Irfan

Source: The Houston Chronicle

In the annals of aviation history, names such as the Wright brothers, Charles Lindbergh or Chuck Yeager come to mind. But what about Abbas Ibn Firnas?

Very few people know that this Muslim scholar tied himself to a feathered glider in Cordoba, Spain, in the ninth century and took the first piloted flight in history.

John H. Lienhard, a professor at the department of mechanical engineering and history at The University of Houston, acknowledges this flight in his award-winning work The Engines of Our Ingenuity.

A model of this flying machine is on display among many other artifacts at the exhibition Sultans of Science: 1,000 Years of Knowledge Rediscovered, at the Islamic Da’wah Center in Houston through Sept. 7.

The exhibit, which debuted last week, honors contributions of Muslim scientists from the eighth century to the 18th century, known as the Golden Era of the Islamic World.

It focuses on disciplines such as art, astronomy, inventions, optical sciences, mathematics and architecture.