‘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’

The Campaign is based on the inspirational story of Al-Hasan Ibn al-Haytham (known in the West by the Latinised form of his first name, first as “Alhacen” and later as “Alhazen”). Born around a thousand years ago in what is present day Iraq, Ibn al-Haytham 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 on became to be 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 as a pivotal figure in the history of optics and the “father of modern optics”.

1001 Inventions presents this new, first-of-its-kind experience exploring Ibn al-Haytham’s inspirational story, and introducing the birth of Light Science and Experimental Science to engage the public, particularly children and family audiences, in a simple yet highly interactive and spectacular way.

Launched at the IYL 2015 Opening Ceremony on January 19th, 2015 at UNESCO’s Paris Headquarters, ‘1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham’ is a year-long initiative, involving a series of high-profile international events and engaging science experiences including interactive exhibits, live shows, workshops, digital content, educational products and teaching resources as well as a short feature film starring legendary actor Omar Sharif. The campaign will roll out in countries around the world through engaging with museums, science festivals, educational institutions, digital and social media platforms.

‘1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham’ interlinks IYL 2015 themes and initiatives on science, arts, culture and technology to support UNESCO and IYL 2015 in raising awareness of how light and light technologies offer solutions to many challenges and are vital for existing and future advances in medicine, energy, communication, astronomy, architecture, archaeology, art and culture.

In addition to UNESCO, a growing number of partners are already engaging including FSTC (UK), the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (KSA) and the Library of Alexandria (Egypt).

Learning objectives

  • Promote light science and its applications to humanity through Ibn al-Haytham’s discoveries.
  • Incite inquisitiveness and curiosity and spark interest to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) disciplines.
  • Engage under-represented groups and allow their peers to learn more about their scientific heritage encouraging inclusion and social cohesion.
  • Create new channels of understanding and build bridges for dialogue and cross-cultural understanding, encouraging greater mutual respect.
  • Inspire young people, from all social and economic backgrounds, to pursue careers in science providing a wider base of scientific talents entering the workforce
  • Nurture youth with the principles, attitude and methodology of pioneers like Ibn al-Haytham
  • Provide an exciting learning experience that instills a greater pride in global science heritage.


Director-General Irina Bokova announces UNESCO’s partnership with 1001 Inventions to launch a global campaign to celebrate the 10th century scientist Ibn al-Haytham