The “golden age” of Arabic science extended from the eighth through the thirteenth centuries a.d. . Since then the intellectual decline has been staggering. Hillel Ofek traces the answer back to foundational differences between Islam and Christianity :
There are roughly 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, but only two scientists from Muslim countries have won Nobel Prizes in science (one for physics in 1979, the other for chemistry in 1999). Forty-six Muslim countries combined contribute just 1 percent of the worlds scientific literature; Spain and India each contribute more of the worlds scientific literature than those countries taken together. In fact, although Spain is hardly an intellectual superpower, it translates more books in a single year than the entire Arab world has in the past thousand years. Though there are talented scientists of Muslim origin working productively in the West, Nobel laureate physicist Steven Weinberg has observed, for forty years I have not seen a single paper by a physicist or astronomer working in a Muslim country that was worth reading.