Below are the links to the third and final episode of the BBC series, Science and Islam (see episode 1: Language of Science and episode 2: Empire of Reason). This episode focuses on astronomy and is very well done. It traces the roots of the Copernican revolution - and does a great job of not only explaining Tusi-Couple but of linking it to the work of Copernicus. (For more details, you can also watch George Saliba as part of Hampshire College lecture series on Science & Religion). This episode also brings up the causes of the decline of sciences in the Muslim world - and thankfully does not pin all the blame on the Mongols. Rather it talks about the discovery of the New World in 1492 and the resultant economic boom in Europe as one of the main factors in the shift of scientific power to the West.
The discovery of the New World was indeed a major factor. But why did the Muslim world fail to create and maintain universities (yes - with very few exceptions such as Al-Azhar) from 12-15th centuries? The rejection of the printing press is brought up - but not the fact that this rejection lasted well into the 18th century. And one of the more intriguing questions for me: why didn't science truly develop in the Ottoman empire? After all, the Ottomans were directly competing with the Europeans (so surely they must have been aware of the scientific and technological developments taking place there), they had strong naval presence and access to trading routes in the Mediterranean from 15-17th centuries, the height of their empire coincided in time with European Renaissance and early scientific revolution, and this was a rich and relatively stable empire (weak at the end - but they did last until the early 20th century).
But minor quibbles aside, this episode is very well done. Here are the first 10 minutes of the third episode:
Here are the remaining parts of the this episode: part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6. Also of interest, the last five minutes talk about Stem cells research in Iran (see an earlier post about this).