Abu 'Ali Al-Hasan Ibn Al-Hasan Ibn Al-Haytham - Research Article from Science and Its Times

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Abu 'Ali Al-Hasan Ibn Al-Hasan Ibn Al-Haytham

965-c. 1040

Persian Astronomer, Mathematician, and Physicist

Al-Haytham was the greatest Arab scientist of the Middle Ages. His Kitab al-Manazir was the most important and influential work on optics between the time of Ptolemy (second century A.D.) and Johannes Kepler (1571-1630). Al-Haytham also made significant contributions to astronomy, mathematics, and medicine.

Al-Haytham, known to the Latin West as Al-hazen, was born in 965 in Basra (in modern Iraq). At an early age he became perplexed by the conflicting claims of competing religious sects. Frustrated by his failure to resolve these differences, he concluded that truth was only attainable through rational inquiry into empirical matters. However, he was unable to devote himself entirely to science. Hoping to attract the attention of the Fatimid caliph al-Hakam (996-1021) and to secure a more favorable position for himself, he...

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