On the Shoulders of Eastern Giants: The Forgotten Contributions of Medieval Physicists

Source: Physics World

Event Date: Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 4:00 PM BST

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.


The webinar will run for approximately 45 minutes with time for a Q&A at the end.

Speaker: Jim Al-Khalili, Professor of Physics and Professor of the Public Engagement in Science at the University of Surrey, UK.
Jim Al-Khalili is a physicist, author and broadcaster. As well as his work on radio and television, he has written a number of popular-science books, the most recent of which is Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science. His awards include the Royal Society Faraday Prize (2008), the IOP Kelvin Medal (2011), an OBE in 2008 and a Bafta nomination.

Moderator: Dr Margaret Harris
Reviews and Careers Editor, Physics World

Attendance is free.

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