Samia Hassan al-Shiba, senior project coordinator at QNL briefing dignitaries at Unesco’s Ibn al-Haytham’s exhibition. Unesco director-general Irina Bokova and HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani are also seen.

Qatar National Library (QNL), Qatar National Commission to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) and Unesco Doha Office, organised an exhibition at an international conference in Paris, focusing on the accomplishments of the Islamic civilisation in its golden age and the life and works of Ibn al-Haytham.
Born during the creative era known as the Islamic Golden Age, Ibn al-Haytham is widely regarded as one of the most prolific thinkers of all time. Dedicating his life to the study of optics and light, the 11th century scientist’s crucial discoveries made a significant contribution to what is today known as the modern scientific method.
By granting access to the digital copies of many of Ibn al-Haytham’s original works, QNL sheds much-deserved light on the great thinker’s profound discoveries. Ibn al-Haytham serves as a significant reminder to youth, not only in Qatar but across the Arab world that their great ancestors bestowed invaluable knowledge on humanity. These innovations and notable advancements in science inspired young minds to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors by pursuing the study of science and research-based careers.
QNL, by making many of Ibn al- Haytham works accessible to the whole world through its QDL portal and Heritage Collection, highlights his legacy, and the golden age of Islamic civilisation, thus inspiring future generations and asserting its pioneering role and vision of bridging with knowledge Qatar’s and the Arab and Islamic world’s heritage and future.
QNL’s Qatar Digital Library is home to thousands of manuscripts and books of many Muslim scholars and scientists, notably Ibn al-Haytham, chosen by Unesco as the revered icon of its celebration of the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015). Through the exhibition, QNL highlighted selected digitised items of Ibn al-Haytham from QNL’s heritage collection and Qatar Digital Library(QDL).
The IYL 2015 honoured the “Father of Modern Optics” and the millennial anniversary of his most revered work, a seven-volume treatise on optics, Kitab Al Manazer (Book of Optics), which laid the foundation for modern physics of optics and drastically changed the understanding of light and how the concept of vision functions is understood.
The IYL 2015 is a worldwide year-long initiative which aims to create global awareness on the significance of optics and vision and the profound impact it has had on human civilisation. The initiative highlights how light-based technologies contribute to social development and how advancements in the field have assisted in alleviating many current global issues.