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Abbas Ibn Firnas & Ibn Al Haytham


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#1 Saaabz

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 08:57 PM

:sl:

Recently while studying Islamic history, and its influence on Western civilization I came across the names of two extraordinary men, Abbas Ibn Firnas and Ibn Al-Haytham. Abbas Ibn Firnas, considered to be the first man to fly and Ibn Al-Haytham regarded by many as the first scientist. Both High-end achievers in the Sciences and Engineering they sparked my interest and I wish to do extensive research on their works and accomplishments.

For those that are aware of these men and have read their biographies or any literature on them could you provide me with links or names of books .

Jazakallah,

Abbas Ibn Firnas

Abbas Ibn Firnas, or 'Abbas Qasim Ibn Firnas (810 – 887 A.D.) (Arabic: ÇáÚÈÇÓ Èä ÝÑäÇÓ) was a Berber[1] humanitarian, technologist, and chemist who lived in the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba in Al-Andalus.

In 822, a new Caliph named 'Abd al-Rahman II took the throne, and he began to gather together talented individuals. He began with an Iraqi musician called Ziryab who fostered the development of the sciences. Another one was the young astronomer and poet Abbas Ibn Firnas.

In 852, under a new Caliph, a daredevil named Armen Firman decided to fly off a tower in Córdoba using a huge winglike cloak to break his fall. He survived with minor injuries, and the young Ibn Firnas was there to see it. This was considered to be the first parachute.

Like Ziryab, Ibn Firnas worked at a huge variety of enterprises. He was studied in chemistry, physics, and astronomy. He set up astronomical tables, wrote poetry, and designed a water clock called Al-Maqata. He also devised means of manufacturing glass from sand, and he developed a chain of rings that could be used to display the motions of the planets and stars. He also developed a process for cutting rock crystal. Up to then, only the Egyptians knew how to facet crystal. Thereafter Spain no longer needed to export quartz to Egypt, but could finish it at home.

In 875 at an age of 65 years, Ibn Firnas built his own glider, and launched himself from a mountain. The flight was largely successful, and was widely observed by a crowd that he had invited. However, the landing was bad. He injured his back, and left critics saying he hadn't taken proper account of the way birds pull up into a stall, and land on their tails. He'd provided neither a tail, nor means for such a maneuver. He died twelve years later.

"Ibn Firnas was the first man in history to make a scientific attempt at flying."
—Philip Hitti, History of the Arabs.

As westerners teach their children about the Wright Brothers, the Islamic countries tell theirs about Ibn Firnas, a thousand years before the Wrights—though his flight was not powered. The Libyans produced a postage stamp honoring him. The Iraqis built a statue in his memory on the way to Baghdad International Airport, and the Ibn Firnas Airport to the north of Baghdad is named for him.

Ibn Firnas crater on the Moon is also named in his honor.


Ibn al Haytham

Known in the West as Alhazen, Alhacen, or Alhazeni, Abu Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham was the first person to test hypotheses with verifiable experiments, developing the scientific method more than 200 years before European scholars learned of it—by reading his books.

Born in Basra in 965, Ibn al-Haitham first studied theology, trying unsuccessfully to resolve the differences between the Shi'ah and Sunnah sects. Ibn al-Haitham then turned his attention to the works of the ancient Greek philosophers and mathematicians, including Euclid and Archimedes. He completed the fragmentary Conics by Apollonius of Perga. Ibn al-Haitham was the first person to apply algebra to geometry, founding the branch of mathematics known as analytic geometry.

A devout Muslim, Ibn al-Haitham believed that human beings are flawed and only God is perfect. To discover the truth about nature, Ibn a-Haitham reasoned, one had to eliminate human opinion and allow the universe to speak for itself through physical experiments. "The seeker after truth is not one who studies the writings of the ancients and, following his natural disposition, puts his trust in them," the first scientist wrote, "but rather the one who suspects his faith in them and questions what he gathers from them, the one who submits to argument and demonstration."

In his massive study of light and vision, Kitâb al-Manâzir (Book of Optics ), Ibn al-Haytham submitted every hypothesis to a physical test or mathematical proof. To test his hypothesis that "lights and colors do not blend in the air," for example, Ibn al-Haytham devised the world's first camera obscura, observed what happened when light rays intersected at its aperture, and recorded the results. Throughout his investigations, Ibn al-Haytham followed all the steps of the scientific method.

Kitab al-Manazir was translated into Latin as De aspectibus and attributed to Alhazen in the late thirteenth century in Spain. Copies of the book circulated throughout Europe. Roger Bacon, who sometimes is credited as the first scientist, wrote a summary of Kitab al-Manazir entitled Perspectiva (Optics) some two hundred years after the death of the scholar known as Alhazen.

Ibn al-Haytham conducted many of his experiments investigating the properties of light during a ten-year period when he was stripped of his possessions and imprisoned as a madman in Cairo. How Ibn al-Haytham came to be in Egypt, why he was judged insane, and how his discoveries launched the scientific revolution are just some of the questions Bradley Steffens answers in Ibn al-Haytham: First Scientist, the world's first biography of the Muslim polymath.


#2 wattle

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 02:12 AM

Known in the West as Alhazen, Alhacen, or Alhazeni, Abu Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham was the first person to test hypotheses with verifiable experiments,


Can this be true? Surely ancient Greek scientists performed formal experiments. And humans have performed informal experiments since they existed, eg: "If I eat this, will it make me sick?" *eats* *is sick* *conclusion* "Eating this makes me sick"

#3 wattle

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 02:13 AM

Known in the West as Alhazen, Alhacen, or Alhazeni, Abu Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham was the first person to test hypotheses with verifiable experiments,


Can this be true? Surely ancient Greek scientists performed formal experiments. And humans have performed informal experiments since they existed, eg: "If I eat this, will it make me sick?" *eats* *is sick* *conclusion* "Eating this makes me sick".

#4 Saaabz

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 05:32 AM

"If I eat this, will it make me sick?" *eats* *is sick* *conclusion* "Eating this makes me sick".


lol.

Perhaps, that's why I need to know more about these men. I'm thinking the methodology applied in his experiments was that closest to what we define as the Scientific approach, or method today.

I know for one, that he corrected the ancient Greeks theory of how we see:

The Book of Optics is Ibn al-Haytham’s most important work. In it the Iraqi scholar corrected misconceptions about vision and light that scholars had believed for centuries. For example, the ancient Greeks believed that human beings were able to see because the eyes sent out rays that sensed objects. Ibn al-Haytham showed that the opposite was true: vision occurs when rays of light enter the eye and stimulate the optic nerve. It was the first time in history that a person had described the mechanics of sight accurately. Ibn al-Haytham did not stop there, however. Building on the work of earlier scholars such as Aristotle, Euclid, Ptolemy, Theon of Alexandria, and Ya'qub ibn Ishaq as-Sabah al-Kindi, Ibn al-Haytham created a unified theory of light, correctly describing its propagation, reflection, and refraction. The Book of Optics remained the leading source of knowledge about optics for the next five hundred years.

The most important thing about The Book of Optics is not the discoveries it contains but the way in which Ibn al-Haytham arrived at and supported those discoveries. He was the first person to systematically construct devices—such as the camera obscura—to test hypotheses and verify the accuracy of his findings. By using concrete, physical experiments to support his conclusions, Ibn al-Haytham helped establish the modern scientific method.


Is that what the Greeks lacked?

The extract I pasted in my first post about Ibn Al-Haytham is an excerpt from the book "Ibn al Haytham - The First Scientist" By Bradley Steffens and has received its share of reverence from both Scholarly and casual individuals.


Midwest Book Review calls Ibn al-Haytham: First Scientist a "fine blend of history and science biography." Booklist concurs, praising Ibn al-Haytham: First Scientist as a "clearly written introduction to Ibn al-Haytham, his society, and his contributions." Kirkus Reviews touts Ibn al-Haytham: First Scientist as "an illuminating narrative...of a devout, brilliant polymath." Children's Literature adds, "Steffens deftly weaves an overview of Islamic history into this biography. Writing for The Fountain, Dr. Ertan Salik adds: "I congratulate Bradley Steffens for his beautiful work about Ibn al-Haytham and his advancement of experimental science."

Critics are not the only ones praising Ibn al-Haytham: First Scientist; casual readers are lauding it as well. Abdul Jabbar Al-Shammari, the director of the Ibn al-Haitham Center for Science and Technology in Amman, Jordan, writes: "I enjoyed reading about the events in the life of the first scientist, Ibn al-Haitham. I congratulate Bradley Steffens on writing a fantastic and accurate book.” A. Nor of Ohio adds, "I find the book interesting, for it accords and recognizes a Muslim scientist his proper place as the first scientist who is responsible for advocating experimental work in verifying conceived scientific ideas (hypotheses)." And Reformistan blogger Usman Mirza, of Karachi, Pakistan, writes, "As Muslims, we are subject of taunts for our ‘backwardness’ and lack of secular, scientific achievements. I encourage readers to read a book on the 'first scientist', a Muslim in Islam’s golden age. It is a nicely written biography of Ibn al-Haytham by a westerner, Bradley Steffens. He has written about a neglected subject that needs to be read by all."


Albeit a fine place to start, I wonder if a more in-depth look into their works exists.

Edited by Saaabz, 11 May 2010 - 05:33 AM.


#5 Alya

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 09:27 AM

Camera is from the arabic word ÞãÑÉ "Qumra" witch mean a small room
the name is given by ibn al haithm, this guy is the first known man to built a camera !! 1000 years Ago !
you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_en.wikipedia(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/wiki/Camera_obscura

i wish i know some books, but we studied Muslims scientists school

#6 the sad clown

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 01:03 PM

Is that what the Greeks lacked?

I don't think it was formal experimentation. After all, the Greeks were able to hypothesize about the size of the earth, and they tested it to a fairly accurate degree using experiments. You can read about it here:

(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_en.wikipedia(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/wiki/Eratosthenes#Eratosthenes.27_measurement_of_the_eath.27s_circumference"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_en.wikipedia(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/wiki/Eratosthenes#...s_circumference[/url]