KUALA LUMPUR: What is the secret behind how we write numbers? When did scientists first discover how we see? Who drew the oldest surviving map of America?
The answers can be found at the United Kingdom-based "1001 Inventions" exhibition, for which Malaysia has been chosen for its Asian premiere in March, commencing in Malacca and continuing in cities nationwide.
It will feature over 60 interactive exhibits on astronomy, engineering, geography, mathematics, medicine and agriculture, highlighting how the Islamic civilisation helped lay the foundations for the European Renaissance and the modern world through discoveries, such as the camera obscura, cancer and cataract treatments, modern numerals and rocket-powered aviation.
Its producer and director, Ahmed Salim, said the golden age of Islamic civilisation was fuelled by figures of various faiths, cultures and ethnicities between the seventh and 17th century.
He said: "Science flourished in the Muslim world then as individual creativity was appreciated."
Science Discoveries operation's director David Oh said the launch continued their tradition of supporting the national objective of encouraging a knowledge economy.
The centre piece is a six-meter-high replica of the 13th-century Elephant Clock, invented by master engineer al-Jazari, that pioneered automation by incorporating technologies from various ancient civilisations.