George Sarton was a pioneer scholar who played a decisive role by his scholarship, methodology and academic career in establishing the history of science as a recognized subject in modern academia. His monumental major work in multiple volumes Introduction to the History of Science set a high standard and led the way for many others to follow. In this article, the late Professor Aydin Sayili, who was a student of George Sarton in Harvard University, scrutinizes Sarton's contribution through his own analysis and memories, and relies on the corpus of literature produced on Sarton by historians and academics.
Little is known about the state of experimentation in the field of medicine during the Medieval Islamic era. With few exceptions, most of the contemporary sources on history of medicine propagate the idea that the roots of experimental medicine in its modern form, including clinical trials and drug-potency studies, first started during the European Renaissance in the 16 th to the 18 th centuries. This study is part of an ongoing multidisciplinary primary-source investigation of the original Arabic works of 11 Islamic medical scholars who lived and practiced between the 9 th and the 13 th centuries. The study critically evaluated and documented their contributions to the development of the scientific method and experimental medicine during that medieval Islamic era in several areas including critical appraisal of previous knowledge, clinical observations and case reports, clinical therapeutic trials, drug potency trials, experimentation on animals, dissection and dissection experiments as well as postmortem examinations. In each of the above-mentioned areas, significant contributions were made during the Medieval Islamic era from as early as the ninth century CE.
In the following bibliography of the Islamic and Chinese scientific relationships in classical times, a list of the main recent works is produced. The researches cover various scientific domains, from mathematics and astronomy to technology, geography and travel accounts. They show the mutual influence between the world of Islam and the Chinese world.
In this special section reproduced from Aramco World (issue March/April 1981), distinguished authors cover topics related to printing in the Islamic civilisation. It is showed, in particular, that contrary to the notion that the technology of printing somehow bypassed Muslims, the Islamic civilisation have left substantial evidence that block printing was a craft familiar to many in the medieval Islamic world between the 10th and the 15th centuries, long before Gutenberg invented press printing. The most common texts to have survived are amulets, of which several dozens survived, some of which are preserved in European and US libraries and museums.
The famed Muslim scholar Al-Kwarazmi has long been known as the father of Algebra. In this article, Aydin Sayili presents an alternative view of the inception and development of Algebra in the works of of 'Abd al-Hamid Ibn Turk, a well known mathematician of the early 9th century, probably contemporary to al-Khwarizmi. The author raises an outstanding hypothesis according to which Ibn Turk may have written the first Arabic book on algebra in Islam, and not Muhammad ibn Mûsâ al-Khwârazmi.
This article focuses on a critical presentation of the arguments put forward by Kamal al-Din al-Farisi about the formation of the rainbow. This optical phenomenon was explained simultaneously but independently by two scientists, Kamal al-Din al-Farisi and Theodoric of Freiberg. Surprisingly, their theories of the rainbow were nearly correct in some respects and somewhat similar to our present understanding. This study reveals that Kamal al-Din al-Farisi was well ahead of his time in his assumptions related to most of the above mentioned topic.