The events were hosted at Burlington House in London in partnership with 1001 Inventions – a not-for-profit that runs outreach worldwide to highlight the key historical role of scientists and creators from the golden age of Muslim civilisation, and to promote cultural inter-appreciation.
Originally booked for three days, the event 'Journeys from Alchemy to Chemistry' focused on how the golden age of Arabic science, when great advances were made across many scientific fields between the 7th-17th centuries, advanced chemistry. The event proved so popular with primary and home-schooled pupils in the London area that it was extended for another day, running from 9-12 December.
First, pupils were treated to a live stage performance from actors representing a modern day scientist, Jabir ibn Hayyan (also known as Geber), and pioneering experimentalist Al-Kindi.
Hanan Dowidar from 1001 Inventions said: "With such inspiring stories – presenting these pioneers from the history of science and from the history of chemistry – we want children to know that science can be from all cultures, from all backgrounds, and that every single one of them could become a scientist."
The show began with a video
voiced by Professor Jim Al-Khalili, renowned scientist, author and broadcaster. Live experiments were then used to introduce volatility, pH, and different characteristics of elements in the periodic table. Explosions and copper-sulphate green flames, for example, were enthusiastically received by each group of around 100 students.
Pupils then rotated to different workshop stations where they engaged in demonstrations led by chemistry postgraduate students from several London universities. Activities included testing household substances for pH, and making perfumes or soaps using historical recipes.
At the end of the journey, teachers and parents were guided to the website where they can download an 'Educational Workshops
' guide, which includes a variety of themed activities to allow their children to continue their learning journey beyond the event.