Machines in Islamic Civilization (CADT-UH 1037X)

Is automation a science or a tool? Muslim contributions in automation, overlooked in the history of science, were long regarded as means for caliphs and the rich to impress the masses. But Muslim engineers excelled in creating complex automated systems, using them as gifts to foreign leaders, as public attractions, or to augment religious ceremony such as daily calls to prayer. Mainly powered by kinetic energy, these automata drew on scholars’ deep knowledge of hydraulics and complex levers and included musical instruments, horologia, automated drinking fountains, and clocks that told time using complex audiovisual tools. This course draws on historical sources and foundational science to explore Muslim advancements in automation. What roles did translation play as Muslim scientists encountered and documented the work of previous scholars? What were the basic automatic systems they developed and how do they compare to current technologies? How did they draw on environmental resources to develop automated systems without the need for non-renewable energy? Students will address such questions as they explore implications for their own projects in design and engineering.

Core: Arts, Design and Technology (Undergraduate)
4 credits – 15 Weeks

Sections (Fall 2024)

CADT-UH 1037X-000 (3919)
08/26/2024 – 12/10/2024 Tue,Thu
9:00 AM – 11:00 AM (Morning)
at Abu Dhabi
Instructed by Qasaimeh, Mohammad