The Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC) announces their new achievement in the history of Islamic clocks. For the first time, the work of Ibn al-Haytham on the water clock (Maqala fi ‘amal al-binkam) is uncovered and edited from two manuscripts. Whilst work is currently undertaken to produce a critical edition of the text in a book that will be published in 2014, we are proud to publish a glimpse of this pioneering work of Ibn al-Haytham's contribution on mechanical clocks. In this article Professor Salim Al-Hassani, President of FSTC, summarises the text and publishes its draft English translation. In addition, he describes the mechanism of the water clock and produces engineering diagrams as well as a 3D animation video of its working procedure. To verify the technical details of the description of the clock, a mathematical analysis was also carried on. Although rudimentary at this stage, this analysis, in conjunction with the drawings and video animation, should be useful in design replicas or models of this clock. This ground breaking article precedes the full historical editing work which is to be published by Professors Al-Hassani and Mohammed Abattouy in due course.
Jim Al-Khalili is a British theoretical nuclear physicist, professor at the University of Surrey, academic author and broadcaster. He is also long-time trustee and supporter of the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC). He presented the BHA 2013 Hollyoake Lecture on Tuesday 22nd of October regarding the "Forgotten Legacy of Arabic Science".
Professor Salim T S Al-Hassani, President of The Foundation for Science Technology and Civilisation (FSTC) was invited as the keynote speaker at the 21st Century World Summit on Child Education in Ankara, Turkey. A two day conference, on the 27th and 29th September 2013, the theme of the conference was "Alternative Approaches on Child Education throughout the Globe" , the aim was to explore and evaluate current child education issues in the World and Turkey comparatively by considering cultural and historical developmental process across different countries.
In which era were classification of animals, world maps, medieval knowledge of the body, the trebuchet and other scientific, technological and cultural advances developed ? One might assume that such advances were most likely to have taken place in Greek or renaissance/post renaissance times. However, last week's "Incredible Inventions and Extraordinary Experiments: Islamic Science Activity Day" at the University of Cambridge helped revise perceptions of when such developments took place.
The Foundation for Science Technology and Civilisation (FSTC), launched a new course in Istanbul, Turkey. Entitled "Women of Science Medicine and Management in Muslim Heritage", the course was in collaboration with Insan Gelisimi Ve Toplumsal Egitim Vakfi (iGETEV). The course aimed to focus attention on women who excelled in science, medicine and management within the Muslim Heritage.
British Science Association Tayside & Fife Branch, Free Public Lecture Series 2013-2014. Based on the acclaimed exhibition ‘1001 Inventions: Discover the Muslim heritage in our World', this talk demonstrates how men and women of different faiths and cultures within predominately Muslim civilisations built on the achievements of ancient civilisations to improve the quality of life. The talk highlights the cultural roots of science, technology and civilisation.
Dr Mona Chaarani describes in the following short article in French her reconstruction of the hydraulic organ of Banu Musa (9th century). This instrument is available to us in a unique Arabic manuscript. It describes an early instrument of mechanical music by the three brothers Banu Musa, scientists from 9th century baghdad, and well known authors of treatises of mathematics and mechanics.
The article analyses the mathematical contents of four texts by Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (1201-1274), one of the most original and prolific scientists of the classical Islamic tradition. These four texts on mathematics are: Al-Tusi's Tahrir (Exposition) of Euclid's Elements, the text Shakl al-Qatta', The Risala al-Shafiya in which Al-Tusi made a substantial contribution to solve the classical problem of parallel lines, and finally the treatise of artithmetic Jami' al-hisab.
In his new book, The Alchemy of Innovation, published in early 2013, Javed Akhtar Mohammed explores, through interviews with several well-known personalities, the different facets of innovation, considered as the lifeblood of successful organizations, communities, and societies, past and present. Professor Al-Hassani, President of FSTC, one of the interviewed personalities, sheds light on innovation in the classical Islamic civilisation and describes the general context in which past scholars of the Muslim World applied innovation to create a developed society, whose contributions and influence are still visible in today's world.
Ali ibn Hazm (d. 456H/1064 CE) was an Andalusian polymath scholar. He was a leading proponent and codifier of the Zahiri school of Islamic thought, and produced many works covering a wide range of topics, such as Islamic jurisprudence, history, ethics, comparative religion, and theology, as well as the famous Tawq al-Hamama (The Ring of the Dove), a literary text on the art of love. Through the variety and richness of his heritage, he was considered as one of the leading thinkers of the Muslim world, and he is widely acknowledged as the father of comparative religious studies. In this article, we seek to shed light on Ibn Hazm's ideas and thoughts related to philosophy and science, and how he linked both philosophy and science to morals.
Mr Howard Firth, MBE, one of the Founding members of FSTC's Muslim Heritage Awareness Group (MHAG) and the Director of Orkney International Science Festival, published recently the following article online that we republish with his permission. Here is the link to the original article on the website of Frontier Magazine: Washington Irving and the rediscovery of the lost centuries of knowledge
Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad Ibn Wasil was an historian and man of letters, born in Hamat in Syria on 2 Shawwal 604/20 April 1208 and died in 697/1298. Visiting Iraq and Egypt, he witnessed the fall of the Ayyubids and the establishment of the Mamluk dynasty. He is known in the West for his embassy to Manfred the King of Sicily, to whom he dedicated a treatise on logic, which was not yet found. Historical records testify to his interest and work in astronomy, but his extant books contain only texts of history. We publish this short note to celebrate his anniversary.
Ulugh Beg was a Timurid ruler as well as an astronomer, mathematician. His primary interest was in the sciences and intellectual matters. He built an observatory at Samarkand. In his observations he discovered a number of errors in the computations of the 2nd-century Alexandrian astronomer Ptolemy. Ulugh Beg was also notable for his work in astronomy-related mathematics, such as trigonometry and spherical geometry. He built the great Ulugh Beg Observatory in Samarkand, which was considered by scholars to have been one of the finest observatories in the Islamic world at the time and the largest in Central Asia.
In a marked shift from the positivist philosophy that influenced medical education for more than a century, world medical educators realize now the significance of the spiritual element of human nature. Consensus is currently building on the need to give more emphasis to the study of humanities in medical colleges. The aim is to allow graduates to reach to the heart of human learning about meaning of life and death and to become more reflective practitioners. The medicine taught and practiced during the Islamic civilization era was a vivid example of the unity of the two components of medical knowledge: natural sciences and humanities. This historical fact formed the foundation for the three medical humanities courses presented in this article.
Mosul, in Northern Iraq, is the country's second largest city and the north's major center for trade, industry and communications. Situated in the northwestern part of the country, on the west bank of Tigris, and close to the ruined Assyrian city of Nineveh, Mosul is called Al-Fayha' (the paradise), Al-Khadhra' (the green), and sometimes described as the Pearl of the North. In this article, the history of the city is narrated and the contribution of its scholars to Muslim Heritage in various domains is described through notable examples.
The Citadel of Aleppo is one of the oldest monuments in the world. It is the most famous historic architectural site in Syria and is built on top of a huge, partially artificial mound rising 50m above the city and surrounded by a trench. This article describes its internal and external structure and full features including its history.
The studies on the Islamic view of environment protection and the links between Islamic classical culture and ecology knew recently a notable progress, testified by numerous valuable publications in various languages. The following is a critical bibliography, organised alphabetically, that we conceived of as a guide for the interested reader. It includes references to works published recently in different languages, including Arabic. The publications in Arabic are particularly valuable, as they are hardly known by Western scholars, although some of them deserve to be known.
Ibn al-Haytham was the major figure in the study of optics and vision in the Middle Ages and his influence was pervasive for over 500 years. In this article, Professor Charles G. Gross, a renowned neurophysiologist of vision, outlines his original theory of vision and describes aspects which are less well known, namely Ibn al-Haytham's insights into visual physiology and visual perception. Professor Gross concludes that, although Ibn al-Haytham's unique synthesis of physics, mathematics and physiology into a new theory of vision and its historical importance have been recognized, his insights into the psychology of perception and their influence remains an important and potentially fertile area of research.
The Arabic manuscript Orient fol. 3306 preserved at the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin was in its original form a precious collection of Arabic scientific texts of mechanics and optics. It contains a fragment in one folio page consisting in a brief characterisation of the five simple machines: lever, windlass, pulley, wedge, and screw. This short text and is attributed to Sinan ibn Thabit, the son of Thabit ibn Qurra and a known mathematician and physician in Baghdad during the 10th century. It is a new source that has never been studied before. In the following article, we present the Arabic text of Sinan ibn Thabit and its English translation, accompanied with historical and analytical commentaries.
In 1998, the United Nations declared year 2001 as the UN Year of Dialogue among Civilizations. This paper serves as a modest attempt in that spirit, with focus on the evolution of social thought in medieval Islam and its influence upon the Latin-West. The paper argues that the European Renaissance depended critically upon the intellectual armory, itself built upon the rediscovered Greek heritage, acquired through knowledge transfer from the early Islamic Civilisation. The mainstream literary paradigm, however, tends to neglect those connections, or at best, grudgingly acknowledges them but remotely and peripherally. Further, the paper documents the extensive influence upon Latin-European scholarship provided through the writings of several key Islamic scholastics. Briefly covered are the works of Al-Kindi, Al-Razi, Al-Farabi, Ibn Sina, Al-Ghazali, and, especially, Ibn Rushd, the Islamic Aristotle, whose contributions revolutionised the Church-dominated, authoritarian mold of medieval Europe. With extensive documentation and some quotes from well-known medievalists, the paper calls for greater integration of such civilisational connections in literary history so that, among other things, we can better understand the contemporary confrontational global environment.
For much of the millennium before the rise of Portugal and Spain, Venice flourished as the hub of Europe's trade with the lands to its east and south. The profound mutual influences that resulted have inspired multiple scholars and historians to cast fresh looks at Venice and its history during pre-modern and modern times, as a meeting point for commerce and culture, especially with the Muslim World.
Some medical historians of the last century mistakenly recorded that Caesarean section was strictly forbidden amongst Muslims. This opinion has been repeatedly quoted without examining its authenticity or validity. Research into available ancient Arabic sources can lead to evidence contrary to such a view. The Islamic scholars of the Middle ages were, in fact, the first to not only write about this operation but to illustrate it in pictures and describe it in poetry. Considering the antiquity of their time, it is unfair to compare them with scholars of a later date; but their achievements must be valued.
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Urinary stone disease (urolithiasis) was discussed in great detail in Arabian Medicine. Explanations given by Ibn Qurrah, Al Razi, Ibn Sina and Al Zahrawi about the formation and growth of urinary stones do not basically differ from modern concepts.
Snell is credited with the laws of reflection and refraction. However, Ibn Al-Haitham discovered the same phenomena in the 11th century.
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