The Royal Society Celebrates

The Royal Society and 1001 Inventions host London schools.

Institute of Physics organises Royal closing event for International Year of Light in the UK.

London, 27 January 2016: 1001 Inventions, the Royal Society and the Institute of Physics partnered to organise a full day of educational events and celebrations in London today. Hundreds of people including school children and students gathered at the Royal Society to mark the closure of the 2015 International Year of Light (IYL2015) that included a special tribute to the 11th century scientist Ibn al-Haytham.

An evening gala event was honoured with the presence of the Duke of York, HRH Prince Andrew, the UK Patron of the International Year of Light.

As a Founding Partner of the United Nations proclaimed IYL and Light-Based Technologies, 1001 Inventions partnered with the Royal Society to organise an educational event for schools during the day. The event is part of the global campaign “1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham” aiming to inspire young people to study and pursue science careers while promoting intercultural dialogue, social cohesion and mutual understanding.

More than 350 primary school students participated in hands-on workshops themed on optics, light and vision. The event also included screening the short film “1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham” starring the late legendary actor Omar Sharif in his final cinematic appearance.

The children participating in the workshops were delighted to have Macey Chipping, who plays the role of Omar Sharif’s granddaughter in the film, join them to watch the film and actively participate in the children’s workshops and activities.

The educational event was followed by a lecture by physicist and broadcaster, Professor Jim Al-Khalili, who spoke about Ibn al-Haytham and other notable scientists explaining how our modern understanding of light has been formed over the last 1000 years. The lecture was followed by a laser show, outside the Royal Society, that was enjoyed by the students, other event guests and the public.

The UK grand finale for the International Year of light also included a high-profile reception. HRH Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, addressed the guests highlighting that one of the greatest International Year of Light impacts would be in encouraging young people to engage in science.

During the evening celebrations attended by scientists, industry leaders, researchers and policy makers, the scientific legacy of the remarkable 11th century scientist Ibn al-Haytham and his work in optics was recognised.

Macey Chipping, starring in the 1001 Inventions short film, was presented with the “Ibn Al-Haytham Award for Public Engagement with Science” for her commitment to supporting the 1001 Inventions educational project and the International Year of Light.

Ahmed Salim, Producer and Director of 1001 Inventions, said:

1001 Inventions is honoured to partner with the Royal Society and the Institute of Physics to celebrate the International Year of Light and the 11th century scientist Ibn al-Haytham in the UK. The schools’ educational event was phenomenal. More than 350 children from diverse backgrounds engaged with the workshops. We received massive interest within a very short time demonstrating the clear demand from schools to broaden science education by including the contributions from other civilisations that helped create our modern world. This is at the heart of why 1001 Inventions was created and is important now more than ever for engaging young people, in the UK and Europe, to promote social inclusion and mutual respect”

In 2015, the global educational campaign “1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham” engaged 25 million people around the world. The campaign will continue to reach out to the public through a National Geographic children’s book on Ibn al-Haytham, the short film staring legendary actor Omar Sharif, a music album and a music video based on the film by international acclaimed singer Sami Yusuf, in addition to interactive exhibits, hands-on workshops and learning materials.


About the Royal Society

The Royal Society is the national academy of science in the UK. It is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists. A major activity of the Society is identifying and supporting the work of outstanding scientists. The Society supports researchers through its early and senior career schemes, innovation and industry schemes, and other schemes. The Society facilitates interaction and communication among scientists via its discussion meetings, and disseminates scientific advances through its journals.

The Society also engages beyond the research community, through independent policy work, the promotion of high quality science education, and communication with the public.

About 1001 Inventions

1001 Inventions is an award-winning, British based organization that creates international educational campaigns and engaging transmedia productions aiming to raise awareness of the contributions to science, technology and culture from the Golden Age of Muslim Civilisation.

Over the last five years, 1001 Inventions has engaged with over 200 million people across the globe. The organization works with a network of international partners, including UNESCO, and leading academics to produce interactive exhibits, short films, live shows, books and classroom learning materials that are being used by hundreds of thousands of educators around the world.

1001 Inventions is a founding partner of the United Nation’s proclaimed International Year of Light 2015.

About International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies

The International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) is a global initiative adopted by the United Nations (A/RES/68/221) to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health. With UNESCO as lead agency, IYL 2015 programs promote improved public and political understanding of the central role of light in the modern world while also celebrating noteworthy anniversaries in 2015—from the first studies of optics 1,000 years ago to discoveries in optical communications that power the Internet today.

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