Saturday, 21 August 2010

Muslim Scientists in the Middle Ages

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Muhammad al-Khwarizmi (780-850 AD)

Alkhwarizmis work led to the establishment of algebra and trigonometry. He also introduced the Indian numerals and decimal point system which are used even today. He wrote on the mechanical devices as astrolabe and the sundial. His book kitab al surat al ard made considerable corrections to the coordinates of Mediterranean sea, Asian and African countries.

Ibn al-Haytham (965-1039 AD)

Also known as Alhazen in the western world. Although it is taught in schools around the world that newton’s study of lenses, prisms and light forms the basis of modern optics and that he discovered white light consists of seven colors, the truth is far from that. The credit belongs solely to al Haytham. He is also credited by many as the pioneer of the scientific method and thus the worlds first true scientist.

Ibn Rushd (1126-1198 AD)

In Europe known as averroes. His work is spread over more than 20,000 pages and includes subjects as medicine, theology and philosophy. His most famous book on medicine was kulliyat, known as colligate in latin. He made significant improvements to al Haythams book of optics and had a complete understanding of the function of the retina.

Ibn Khaldūn (1332-1406)

He is considered the forerunner of several social sciences including economics and cultural history. In sociology he presented a theory of social conflict while in economics he gave an early concept of political economy. His books on the history of berbers and Maghreb are used by historians even to date.

Muhammad al-Idrisi (1099-1165)

He is known as the father of cartography. His most famous work is the tabula rogeriana, probably the first world map with very accurate postions of trade routes through land and sea as well as important geographical locations. He was a proponent of a spherical earth and his works inspired Christopher Columbus and Vasco de Gama.

Ibn Sina (980-1037)

Even known as Avicenna. He is famous in the west for his book named Canon (Qânûn) which is a medical encyclopedia that has been a standard for Europes medicine studies during large periods in the later years of the middle ages.

Jabir ibn Hayyan (721-815)

Jabir ibn Hayyan is considered "The Father of Chemistry". He was perhaps the first person to put alchemistry into practice. His works on alchemistry were translated into latin, and his texts became a standard for European alchemists.

Abu Rayhan al-Bironi (973-1048)

Considered the founder of anthropology and many other sciences, Abu Rayhan al-Biruni, was one of the first scientists to develop the scientific method. He calculated very accurately the radius of the earth.

Ibn al-Nafis (1213-1288)

The gratest physician in history. Famous for his many writings on anatomy. His most known work is "The Comprehensive Book on Medicine" which is a large medical encyclopedia, even larger than Ibn Sina's "Canon". Only 28 volumes have been rescued and only 2 have recently been republished.

Ibn Battuta

The greates traveller ever, Ibn Battuta is known for his many travelings around the world. His journeys lasted for 30 years and covered most of the lands of Islam, from northern Africa to China. Ibn Battuta's travelings are sumarized in the famous book Rihla.