“1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham” is a new global campaign produced by 1001 Inventions and King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in partnership with UNESCO and the International Year of Light 2015 to celebrate the 11th-century scientist Ibn al-Haytham, promoting light science and its applications for humanity. Learn more:

The International Year of Light will consist of coordinated activities on national, regional and international levels. Activities will be planned so that people of all ages and all backgrounds can gain an appreciation for the central role of light in science and culture, and as a cross-cutting scientific discipline that can advance sustainable development.

Know Ibn al-Haytham

Born around a thousand years ago in present day Iraq, Al-Hasan Ibn al-Haytham (known in the West by the Latinised form of his first name, initially “Alhacen” and later “Alhazen”) was a pioneering scientific thinker who made important contributions to the understanding of vision, optics and light. His methodology of investigation, in particular using experiment to verify theory, shows certain similarities to what later became known as the modern scientific method. Through his Book of Optics (Kitab al-Manazir) and its Latin translation (De Aspectibus), his ideas influenced European scholars including those of the European Renaissance. Today, many consider him a pivotal figure in the history of optics and the “Father of modern Optics”.

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Hands-on resources

To celebrate the International Year of Light, the optics and physics communities have created many fantastic resources aimed at primary and secondary school (K12) students. Access a series of links that will let you explore educational material and hands-on resources – for kids of all ages!

Click here to discover 1001 Inventions educational materials

Host an Ibn al-Haytham event

1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn al-Haytham delivers an exciting mix of highly engaging and interactive experiences including film, live shows, staged experiments, exhibits, workshops, educational materials and high-profile talks.

Science centres and museums, science festivals, schools and other educational institutions, organisers of conference, seminars and corporate events can choose to host individual elements, a combination of activities or the full range of productions. A tailored plan would serve the purposes of each organisation and host venues in order to be aligned with their resources, needs and target audiences.

The range of productions includes:

Film screening

In this partly animated cinematic experience, audiences are taken on a fascinating journey, narrated by legendary storyteller Omar Sharif, to an ancient time when differing theories of light existed.

Giant Camera Obscura interactive exhibit

A giant fully functioning 360-degree Camera Obscura, offering audiences the chance to step inside the mind and world of Ibn al-Haytham, experience how we see and learn about the fundamentals of light science.

Hands-on workshops

Workshops for making, designing and tinkering, linking Ibn al-Haytham’s scientific methodology to creating solutions for current challenges.

Live performances

Highly interactive, exciting and immersive on-stage scientific experiments woven into a theatrical themed performance that brings to life stories from the colourful and creative era known as the golden age of Muslim civilisation.

Educational resources

Children’s books, activity packs and lesson plans. Click for more information >>>

Demonstrations & experiments

Educational and engaging demonstrations and experiments focusing on physics, optics, light and visual perception, taking audiences on a journey through an exciting world of science from over 1,000 years ago.

Makers’ souk

Drop-in sessions for the family or school groups to engage in a variety of hands-on activities directly linked to the content and designed to nurture a maker culture and group project-based activities.


Competitions and challenges to motivate learning, boost self-confidence, hone skills and recognise scientific talents.

Talks and presentations

Academic presentations, TED-style talks, science cafés and storytelling by reputable speakers linking the legacy of Ibn al-Haytham to contemporary issues.