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America Abroad: 'Islam and the Cosmos'

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The milky way above Voyageurs.
The Milky Way galaxy is visible from just outside Voyageurs National Park in Crane Lake on Aug. 8, 2016
Evan Frost | MPR News 2016

From the America Abroad series, host Madeleine Brand looks back at the "Golden Age of Islam" and why the European Renaissance might not have happened without it.

She explores how some Muslim countries are trying to again become world leaders in astronomy and space science.

Can Jordan entice enough scientists from a politically unstable Middle East to come and use its particle accelerator?

Will Turkey's desire to be a world leader in astronomy be thwarted by the government's censorship of modern scientific theory? 

And a look at the United Arab Emirates' plans to build and sustain its own space program. 

Interviews with:

David DeVorkin, senior curator at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

George Saliba, professor emeritus at Columbia University and historian of Arabic and Islamic science.

Asad Q. Ahmed, associate professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at UC Berkeley.

Jorg Matthias Determann, author of Space Science and the Arab World: Astronauts, Observatories and Nationalism in the Middle East.

Kathleen Lewis, curator at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Imam Yahye Hendi, Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University.

To listen to the program, click the audio player above.