Associate Professor of Integrated Science and Humanities
His primary research interest focuses on understanding the reception of science in the Muslim world and how Muslims view the relationship between science and religion. Professor Hameed recently led a 4-year National Science Foundation funded study on the reception of biological evolution in diverse Muslim societies. He is also leading a study to understand and analyze the discourse and participants in online Islam and Science videos. His other research interests include analyzing reconciliation efforts over sacred objects and places of astronomical importance. His past astronomy research focused on understanding star formation in spiral galaxies.
He has taught courses on "Evolution, Islam, and Modernity," "Science in the Muslim world," "Creating science fiction short films using real science" (with Dr. Jason Tor), "Science and Religion: Biological evolution in the public sphere," "Aliens: Close Encounters of a Multidisciplinary Kind" and "History and Philosophy of Science and Religion" (with Dr. Laura Sizer) at Hampshire College. Salman also runs Irtiqa, a science and religion blog with an emphasis on scientific debates taking place in the Muslim world, hosts an online astronomy video series in Urdu, Science ka Adda, and has a regular astronomy segment for the Bill Newman show on WHMP and for Monte Belmonte on WRSI 93.9.
This course can be summed up as: everything you wanted to know about aliens but were afraid to ask (a scientist). The course will explore the topic of extraterrestrial intelligence from the perspective of several different fields. We will look at the history of UFO sighting claims and analyze the reliability of eye-witness testimonies, explore psychological & sociological reasons behind claims of alien abductions, and analyze the current state of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) from the perspective of astronomy and planetary research. We will also examine how film and television have shaped our view of aliens in popular culture. We will conclude the course by looking at religions that have been inspired by UFOs and extraterrestrials.
This course will look at the way Darwin's theory of biological evolution was received in the Muslim world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and how these debates have played out to contemporary times. We will encounter early defenders of Darwin's ideas like Sayyid Ahmad Khan in British India and the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Muhammad Abduh, as well as critics such as the proponent of pan-Islamism, Jamal al-din Afghani. We will also look at the way culture and politics today shape the debate over the acceptance and rejection of biological evolution in Turkey, Pakistan, and for Muslim minorities in Europe and the United States.
History of 'western' science would be incomplete without the inclusion of Arab and Muslim contributions in the Middle-ages. In this course we will explore some of the reasons behind the outstanding growth of scientific reasoning in the Islamic world, including the motivation for translating Greek works and the role of religion in the early progress of science. While we are familiar with prominent Greek philosophers and scientific personalities of the post- Renaissance era, the lives of many Muslim scientists such as Al-Haytham (Alhazen), Ibn-Sina (Avicena), Ibn-Rushd (Averros) and their contributions remain largely unknown to many students. We will also explore the fascinating philosophical struggle between the rationalist and the traditionalist (orthodox) philosophers. The course will conclude with a look at the reasons for the later decline of scientific thinking in the Muslim world and the contemporary struggles to reconcile modern science with traditional religious systems.
Millions of people worldwide have been inspired to pursue science by shows written and hosted by Carl Sagan, David Attenborough, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, and others. What makes their videos appealing? How do they communicate complex scientific ideas in a simple language? In this course, students will learn how to develop ideas for science videos, write a script, and produce a final product for YouTube. The class will focus on a single theme, such as life on Mars, and then coordinate in the production of videos related to the topic. Students are expected to work in small groups for their projects.