Life and Contribution of Ibn al-Haytham Seminar in India

Ibn Sina Academy, Aligarh (India) organized “National Seminar on Life and Contribution of Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen)” during 14-15 October 2015, to commemorate the 1000th Anniversary of the Compilation of Ibn al-Haytham’s remarkable seven Chapters work on optics: Kitâb al-Manâzir in Arabic and as a part of UNESCO’s declaration of ‪International year of Light 2015 (IYL 2015).

Kathleen Longwaters from US presenting her views on Ibn Al Haytham. Credit: Ibn Sina Academy of Medieval Medicine and Sciences.

Kathleen Longwaters from US presenting her views on Ibn Al Haytham. Credit: Ibn Sina Academy of Medieval Medicine and Sciences.

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Ibn Al Haytham Optics II – Life and Achievements

Ibn al Haytham was born in Basra (Iraq). He studied and commented on the works of Aristotle, Euclid, Archimedes, and Ptolemy and devoted his life to the study of physics. He would have held the position of vizier in the government of Basra. Then, he lived in Cairo during the time of the Fatimid Caliph Al Hakim (1010). He designed a hydraulic project to damp the Nile; this project would probably have been rejected by the Caliph. He died in Cairo, devoting himself entirely to his work which includes (according to bibliographer Al-Qifti) more than 100 titles, including 50% in mathematics, 14 in optics, 23 in astronomy, 2 in philosophy, 2 astrology, 3 in static and hydrostatic and 4 on diverse themes. Known in Europe under his Latinized name Alhazen (Alhacen), he was rediscovered thanks to Gustav Wiedemann (1852, 1928), Abdelhamid I. Sabra (1924-2013) who carried a first critical edition of the Arabic first 3 books and the translation of these books in English and Roshdi Rashed who wrote many books on the history of Arab sciences. The identity of Alhazen has also been demonstrated by G. Caussin de Perceval in his “Memoir on the optical Ptolemy” of the Royal Institute of France (Academy of Inscriptions and Belles Lettres, vol. 6, p, 20- 23 (1822)). The name of Alhazen appeared in the Larousse dictionary of the twentieth century in six volumes in the supplement of second edition (1928).

Portrait of Ibn  Al Haytham. Credit: Prof. Zargar Zahoor

Portrait of Ibn
Al Haytham. Credit: Prof. Zargar Zahoor

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Ibn Al Haytham Optics I – Introduction and Optics before Ibn Al Haytham

The success of light science and technology is primarily the success of universal knowledge that has been built over the centuries where all civilizations and cultures have brought their contributions.

Before the development of scientific thought, light has fascinated ancient civilizations and generated both curiosity and devotion. Thus, light arises as something essential in all cultures and civilizations. It is, in almost all texts on creation.

Prometheus Brings Fire. Credit: Heinrich Friedrich Füger.

Prometheus Brings Fire. Credit: Heinrich Friedrich Füger.

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