Thursday, July 14, 2016

Rediscovering Arabic Science

Arabic Science

Saudi Aramco World Magazine – Fascinating Folder on Arabic Islamic Science

The Saudi Aramco World magazine had published in May-June 2007 a fascinating folder on Arabic Islamic science. The folder comprising of 20 pages has many articles exemplified with rich iconography together with informative explanatory captions. From this all-inclusive coverage a long article on Rediscovering Arabic Science has been republished by Richard Covington, a journalist based in Paris who had collaborated with many newspapers and Medias. He had gone through specialized literature making interviews with historians of Islamic science for the purpose of gaining knowledge on the topic.

His production became quite comprehensive covering all the main phases of the scientific as well as the technological tradition of Islam. Readers will get to enjoy the republishing of this piece of scholarship with evidence in an easy readable style regarding one of the most wonderful pages of the civilization of Islam as well as the richest episodes of the history of science.

On probing a case of rare manuscripts, the dapper Lille University professor launched a mini lecture with the rapt group. Nasir al-Din al-Tulsi, the 13th century Persian astronomer and the author of one of the yellowing Arabic language texts, overturned the geocentric Greek view of the universe.
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Medieval Arabs/Muslim Scientists – Ahead of Europe

For most of the westerners, and for several Arabs, the remarkable successes of Arabic language science right from the 8th through the 16th centuries seemed as a surprising detection as though unknown continent had abruptly appeared on the scene. The medieval Arabs as well as Muslim scientists, doctors, scholars and mapmakers were way ahead of Europe in astronomy, mathematics, medicine, optics, cartography, evolutionary theory, physics and chemistry.

Centres for scientific research as well as experimentation occurred across Muslim domains namely in Baghdad, Cairo, Damascus, Bukhara, Samarkand, Shiraz, Isfahan, Toledo, Cordoba, Granada and Istanbul. Generations of science historians had once prohibited Islamic accomplishment and one critic, Pierre Duhem; the French physicist had even accused Muslims of attempting to destroy classical science in his 1914-1916 historic analysis – Le Systeme du Monde (The System of the World). Others had declared that the language of the Arab was not suitable for science, opposes Roshdi Rashed, the dean of the Islamic science in France.
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Ancient Science Come Back to Europe Through Arabic Translation

Rashed, a former fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, professor emeritus at the University of Paris and editor of the three-volume Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science, commented that `otherwise well-respected scholars like Ernest Renan and Paul Tannery excluded even the possibility of an Arabic contribution to science’.

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Most of the ancient science seems to come back to Europe through Arabic translation that was later translated into Latin and other languages. Some important texts such as Ptolemy’s Planisphere, commentary of Galen on Hippocrates’ treatise Airs, Waters, Places and the concluding chapters of the third-century BC mathematician Apollonius’ book on conic sections prevail due to the Arabic translation, since the original Greek manuscripts had all been missing.

However as per astrophysicist Jean Audouze, director of the French National Centre for Scientific Research in Paris, it is said that the Arabs were not just transmitters of Greek concepts, but were the creators in their own individual right.

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