On the Shoulders of Eastern Giants

On the 20th October, a online presentation was hosted by the Institute of Physics (IOP) and given by Prof Jim Al-Khalili “On the Shoulders of Eastern Giants: The Forgotten Contributions of Medieval Physicists”. Below is the excerpt for it, click here to view the presentation.

“We learn at school that Newton is the father of modern optics, Copernicus heralded the birth of astronomy, and Snell deduced the law of refraction. But what debt do these men owe to the physicists and astronomers of the medieval Islamic Empire? What about Ibn al-Haytham, the greatest physicist in the 2000-year span between Archimedes and Newton, whose Book of Optics was just as influential as Newton’s seven centuries later? Or Ibn Sahl, who came up with the correct law of refraction many centuries before Snell? What of the astronomers al-Tusi and Ibn al-Shatir, without whom Copernicus would not have been able to formulate his heliocentric model of the solar system? In this lecture, Jim Al-Khalili recounts the stories of these characters and more from his new book Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science.”



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