“If learning the truth is the scientist’s goal… then he must make himself the enemy of all that he reads.”

Artist creative representation bust of Ibn al-Haytham produced by 1001 Inventions for the UNESCO International Year of Light 2015

Who was Ibn al-Haytham?

Al-Hassan Ibn al-Haytham (Latinised as Alhazen), born 965 Basra, died 1040 Cairo.

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”.

Ibn al-Haytham was born during a creative period known as the golden age of Muslim civilisation that saw many fascinating advances in science, technology and medicine. In an area that spread from Spain to China, inspirational men and women, of different faiths and cultures, built upon knowledge of ancient civilisations, making discoveries that had a huge and often under appreciated impact on our world.

Discover more about Ibn al-Haytham and the International Year of Light 2015.

(Image on the right) Creative representation bust of Ibn al-Haytham made by artist Ali Amro for 1001 Inventions to celebrate the UNESCO International Year of Light 2015 (© 1001 Inventions)

Celebrate Ibn al-Haytham

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.


‘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.

"Ibn Al-Haytham Music Video 'Shine' and Film Soundtrack Album

Sami Yusuf, the internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter and composer, and award-winning producer Ahmed Salim announced the release of the original motion picture soundtrack for the short film ‘1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham’