Declan Butler, reporter This is the personal blog of Declan Butler, a senior reporter at Nature. All views expressed here are mine, and not those of Nature. Contact me at

November 2, 2006

Special issue on Islam and Science

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:03 pm


Nature today published a huge special on Islam and Science. I’ve listed it’s contents below, with direct links to the pdfs. It is also available on free access here.

The special, which will also be translated into Arabic, covers a series of issues dealing with science in the 57 member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Producing the special, the brainchild of Philip Campbell, Nature’s Editor-in-chief, has involved substantial work and preparation by the Nature team. Many of the themes emerged in a meeting earlier this year — held under Chatham House rules — organized by Nature at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Centre in Italy, where Nature editors, and eminent scientists, intellectuals and politicians, from several Muslim countries, spent 4 days in fascinating discussions of the many issues.

I’ve been involved in the preparation of the special, and also have written two of its articles, one an analysis of science and other statistical indicators for OIC countries, and the other a Q&A with Mostafa Moin, a medical researcher, former minister of Iran for higher education and for science, and the reformist candidate in Iran’s presidential election last year.


Science and the Islamists
Muslim countries stand to gain much from science but will fail to do so if fundamentalists repress openness. Chronic neglect by Arab leaders doesn’t help either.


Islam and Science: Steps towards reform
Building a knowledge-based society in today’s Arab world depends on overcoming primarily political obstacles to progress. Nader Fergany analyses the reforms required for an Arab renaissance.

Islam and science: Where are the new patrons of science?
Muslim nations must take a big leap forward in developing science and technology to catch up with the rest of the world, argues Herwig Schopper, or they risk falling behind in the global economy.


Islam and Science: Ambition & neglect

Islam and Science: The Islamic world

The 57 countries in the Organization of the Islamic Conference are home to 1.3 billion people. The attendant diversity in culture, geography, economics and politics can be seen in these snapshots of five different approaches to science.

Islam and Science: An Islamist revolution
Islamist political parties are taking over from secular ones across the Muslim world. What does this mean for science at home and scientific cooperation with the West? Ehsan Masood investigates.

Islam and Science: The data gap
Statistics on scientific investment and performance are lacking across the Muslim world. Declan Butler analyses the best of what is available.

Islam and Science: Oil rich, science poor
The wealthy Arab states offer scant support for science and technology. Jim Giles finds out whether this indifference to research is likely to change.

Islam and Science: Q&A The reformer
Mostafa Moin is a paediatrician and medical researcher who has served as Iran’s minister for higher education and for science. He was a reformist candidate in Iran’s presidential election last year, which was won by religious conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Declan Butler asks Moin about the prospects for science in Iran.

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