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‘Trust me: I’m a Scientist’: Muslim Institute Winter Gathering 2013


Friday 29 Nov — Sunday 1 Dec 2013, 16:00 — 16:00


Sarum College
19 The Cl, Salisbury SP1 2EE

Scientists today are involved in countless aspects of our daily lives, from the moment we wake, to the time we hit the sack. Whether it's food, healthcare, transport, security, work, environment, social services, or leisure, there are few aspects of modern life untouched by science.

It is scientists whom we rely on to tell us what is safe to eat and which medicines work. It is scientists who help us with questions such as whether email communication is safe or what we can and cannot recycle. Scientists today are even being called on to advise governments in the conduct of international relations and in decisions on war and peace. Almost all of the world's major conflicts have science or scientists involved in some way.

Clearly, societies all over the world have placed huge amounts of trust in science to a degree unprecedented in history. But has anyone stopped to think what all this means? What are the implications of our brave, new world, both the good and the bad? What does the past tell us about trust in science. And what happens when communities stop trusting in their scientists?

For this year's Winter Gathering we've assembled some of the world's leading scientists, philosophers and historians of science to help answer these questions and more. From 29 November to 1 December join, among others, Emilie Savage-Smith, professor of the history of Islamic Medicine at the University of Oxford, whose latest publication is An Eleventh Century Egyptian Guide to the Universe; the philosopher Jerry Ravetz author of the seminal work, Scientific Knowledge and its Social Problems, and The No-Nonsense Guide to Science; Usama Hasan, researcher, imam and fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society; and Ziauddin Sardar, author of Explorations in Islamic Science, for a feast of ideas and argument on the topic of Trust in Science. If you thought that science is only about discovery and invention, awe and wonder, we invite you to think again!


As before our base is Sarum College, which offers friendly, comfortable accommodation in single, twin and double rooms, mostly en-suite, and all halal catering. The weekend - inclusive of accommodation, all meals and refreshments from Registration at 4-6pm on Friday 29 November through to lunch on Sunday 1 December - is FREE for Fellows. Booking fee for non-Fellows is £50.

We reserve the right to charge a cancellation fee of £50 as appropriate.

Accommodation in Sarum College is limited. Book soon to be sure of your place. Further accommodation is available nearby on a bed and breakfast basis. We can supply a list of local bed and breakfast establishments, however, it will be up to you to make your own bookings and be responsible for your own accommodation costs. All other meals and refreshments are inclusive in the booking fee and will be provided at Sarum College. Fellows using bed and breakfast places will be reimbursed.

Prayer facilities will be available.


Muslim Institute 5th Winter Gathering

29 November - 1 December 2013

Sarum College, Salisbury

Theme: ‘Trust me: I am a scientist’

Friday 29 November 2013

4-6pm Registration

7-8pm Dinner

8-8.10pm Welcome address by Merryl Wyn Davies  

8.10 - 10pm Opening Keynote: Does Scientific Knowledge still have social problems

Dr Jerome Ravetz in conversation with long-time friend and co-author Professor Ziauddin Sardar

Saturday 30 November

8.00-9.00 Breakfast

9.30-11.00 Can Statistics Make Us Well?

Dr Saliha Afzal and Dr Hashim Reza describe how medical research is conducted today and assess the long-term implications of a data-driven approach to wellness.

Chair: Mohammed Amin

11.00-11.30 Coffee Break

11.30-1.00 ‘Whitehall Calling’

Professor Waqar Ahmad in conversation with Suniya Qureshi as he reflects on three years at the heart of the last Labour government as Chief Social Scientist to the Deputy Prime minister John Prescott.

1.00-2.00 Lunch

2.00-3.30 Science as Metaphor

Avaes Mohammad reflects on his personal journey from scientist to artist. Whereas he once used science for research, he now adopts scientific principles as metaphors in his poetry and plays.

3.30-4.00 Coffee Break 

4.00-5.30 Islamic Creationism and Problems of Trust in Science

Dr Usama Hasan describes what happens when entire communities lose faith in what scientists have to say.

Chair: Andrew Brown

7.00-8.00  Dinner

8.00-9.30  Performance                       

Scenes from The Crows Plucked Your Sinews

Written and directed by Hassan Mahamdallie and performed by Yusra Warsama.                       

Followed by a Q & A

Sunday 1 December

8.00 - 9.00 Breakfast

9.30-11.00 Lost History

Professor Emilie Savage Smith reflects on the state of the history of Islamic science at universities around the world. As some of the leading names begin to retire, who will be tomorrows’ manuscript-hunters?

Chair: Professor Iftikhar Malik

11.00-11.30 Coffee Break

11.30-12.30 What Science Means to Me

Panellists: Prof Misbah Deen, Leyla Jagiella and Sarah Pickthall

Chair: Samia Rahman

12.30-1.00 Closing Thoughts and Muslim Institute’s Next Year Programme            

Hassan Mahamdallie

1.00-2.00 Lunch & Departure

Prayer facilities will be available in the Tindall Room