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Islamic Women in Science A thousand years ago the Muslim World made remarkable contributions to science Muslims introduced new methods of experiment observation and measurement To name but a few Al-Khwarizmi born in 825 AD invented algebra an Arabic word and the word algorithm is derived from his name Ibn al-Haytham born in 1039 AD wrote the laws of the reflection and refraction of light and expounded the principles of inertia long before Isaac Newton formulated his theories Ibn Sina born in 980 AD in what is now modern-day Uzbekistan wrote the Canon of Medicine al-Qanun fil-Tibb a 318-page medical text that was the basis for all medical teaching in Europe and the Middle East for hundreds of years In the words of the science historian George Sarton the main as well as the least obvious achievement of the Middle Ages was the creation of the experimental spirit and this was primarily due to the Muslims down to the 12th century Yet today the number of original research papers published by scientists in Muslim countries is 01 of the number published by scientists in Europe and the USA It is to be hoped that this trend is set to change with many Muslim countries opening new universities and introducing a variety of educational and training programs to improve their capabilities in science and technology For example of Egypts 18 universities which together enroll a total of 1187926 students five have opened within the past 4 years But even with these developments there is still disparity between Muslim men and women when it comes to an education in science and technology subjects In many Muslim countries gender-based discrimination coupled with social and cultural barriers limits access and participation of women in higher education Some people attribute these barriers to the teachings of Islam but this is false The teachings of the Holy Prophet of Islam emphasize the acquiring of knowledge as bounden duties of each
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