1001 Inventions Celebrates the International Year of Light and Ibn Al-Haytham at Maker Faire Cairo

On 26 March 2016, 1001 Inventions participated at Maker Faire Cairo to honour the 11th century scientist Ibn al-Haytham while continuing to celebrate the United Nations proclaimed International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 (IYL 2015).

Participants at Maker Faire Cairo watching the Ibn Al-Haytham film.
Participants at Maker Faire Cairo watching the Ibn Al-Haytham film.

About 8,000 people of all ages, from across Egypt, participated at Maker Faire Cairo, a family-friendly showcase of invention and creativity and a celebration of the global Maker Movement. The event held at the GrEEK Campus, in the heart of downtown Cairo, included a special screening of the “1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham” short film starring late legendary actor Omar Sharif. In his final cinematic appearance, Omar Sharif takes the lead role in the partly animated film that follows the scientific journey of 11th Century Arab scientist to discover the nature of light and vision.

1001 Inventions also organised exciting educational hands-on workshop introducing children to Ibn al-Haytham and his groundbreaking contributions to the understanding of vision, optics and light.

We are honoured to bring 1001 Inventions to Maker Faire Cairo to showcase the scientific legacy of Muslim Civilisation to the Maker community. This is the biggest event to ever hit the maker community in Egypt and the Arab World where geeks, artists, engineers, craftsmen, entrepreneurs and more participated to show, learn and discover awesome new things and ideas. We believe that everyone is a maker one way or another. The aim of Maker Faire Cairo is to entertain, inform, connect and grow this community and the first viewing in Egypt of the 1001 Inventions film on Ibn al-Haytham, one of the oldest makers of our history, helps us attain our objectives.

Omar El-Safty, Manager of Fab Lab Egypt, co-organisers of Maker Faire Cairo

Ahmed Salim, 1001 Inventions Producer and Director, delivered a talk at Maker Faire Cairo highlighting the remarkable achievements of Ibn al-Haytham in Egypt that revolutionised the world and helped set the Foundations of Modern Science.

We are delighted to bring our global Ibn Al-Haytham campaign to Maker Faire Cairo to celebrate UNESCO’s International Year of Light. We highly appreciate the opportunity to engage with thousands of young creative Egyptians through the fascinating story of Ibn al-Haytham, a remarkable ‘Maker’ from the golden age of Muslim Civilisation. The motivation and passion of young people at the Maker Faire is extraordinary. Such grass root interest in ‘making’ is inspirational and demonstrates the enthusiasm and creativity of young Egyptians when offered platforms to showcase their talents.

Hanan Dowidar, 1001 Inventions Head of Strategic Partnerships

Children building camera Obscuras at the 1001 Inventions hands-on workshop.
Children building camera Obscuras at the 1001 Inventions hands-on workshop.

In 2015, the global educational campaign “1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham” engaged 25 million people around the world. The campaign continues in 2016 and beyond to engage global audiences through a National Geographic children’s book on Ibn al-Haytham, the short film starring 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 Maker Faire Cairo

Maker Faire Cairo is the Greatest Show (and Tell) in Egypt—a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker Movement. It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they have learned. The event includes numerous workshops from across the technical and nontechnical fields and a multitude of talks and keynote speeches from several well-noted figures from across the community. All this is coupled with the biggest project/maker exhibition for makers from across the region. Each maker showcases his/her pride project to the event participants that include young makers, families, and also experts in the respective fields. Such network creates a general ecosystem of people and communities willing to build projects/products that then will lead them to establishing small enterprises and business propelling Egypt to a state of industrial and financial stability.


About 1001 Inventions

1001 Inventions is an award-winning, British-based organisation 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 decade, 1001 Inventions has engaged with over 200 million people across the globe, with educational campaigns in cities such as in LondonIstanbulNew YorkWashington DCLos AngelesKuala LumpurAbu Dhabi and Jeddah.  1001 Inventions works with a network of international partners and leading academics, and through its academic partner FSTC (UK), to produce world-class experiences, interactive exhibitsfeature films, live shows, books and classroom learning materials that are being used by hundreds of thousands of educators around the world.

About IYL 2015

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 will 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.  The IYL Global Secretariat is located at the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP).

The Founding Partners of IYL 2015 are the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society (APS), the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG), the European Physical Society (EPS), the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS), the Institute of Physics (IOP), Light: Science and Applications, the lightsources.org International Network, 1001 Inventions, The Optical Society (OSA) and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE). 

Patron Sponsors include Bosca, the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), Royal Philips Lighting, Thorlabs and UL.


Ahmed Salim
Producer and Director
1001 Inventions

John Dudley
Steering Committee Chair
International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015

Joe Niemela
Global Coordinator (IYL Secretariat)
International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015