A well written, insightful and smart read.
Jim Al-Khalili is obviously proud of his roots. And i like that.
Without being to missionary about it, he makes a good point in the fact that the Mideastern knowledge that started in Mesopotamian times and evolved all the way through our dark ages until the renaissance, was very influential on the Occident’s development of not only medicine, or architecture but also poetry, astronomy and art.
The questions of how and why the Islamic knowledge is suddenly regarded as threat from some circles, even within its own culture, is worth being elaborated in a book on itself.
I can highly recommend this book to everyone who wants to open his horizon a bit, in regard of where our cultural background was forged and how humanity evolved: By sharing its science and exchanging thoughts. Arabic was then what Latin became later to the literate elite. Scientists were Christians, Jews and Persians.
And as John Noble Wilford said in his (as usual) brilliant review “The Muslim Art of Science” in the NYT: Jim Al-Khalili also reminds readers that in early Islam there was no bitter conflict between religion and science and that the Koran encouraged the close study of all God’s works.
John Noble Wilford’s (much better than mine) review can be followed here: