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advances in optics in the medieval islamic world

Al-Khalili, JS (2015) advances in optics in the medieval islamic world Contemporary Physics, 56 (2). pp. 109-122.

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This paper reviews the state of knowledge in the field of optics, mainly in catoptrics and dioptrics, before the birth of modern science and the well-documented contributions of men such as Kepler and Newton. The paper is not intended to be a comprehensive survey of the subject such as one might find in history of science journals; instead, it is aimed at the curious physicist who has probably been taught that nothing much of note was understood about the behaviour of light, beyond outdated philosophical musings, prior to the seventeenth century. The paper will focus on advances during the medieval period between the ninth and fourteenth centuries, in both the east and the west, when the theories of the Ancient Greeks were tested, advanced, corrected and mathematised. In particular, it concentrates on a multivolume treatise on optics written one thousand years ago by the Arab scholar, Ibn al-Haytham, and examines how it influenced our understanding of the nature of reflection and refraction of light. Even the well-informed physicist should find a few surprises here, which will alter his or her view of the debt we owe to these forgotten scholars.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : subj_Physics
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Physics
Authors :
Al-Khalili, JS
Date : 30 April 2015
DOI : 10.1080/00107514.2015.1028753
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 14 Jul 2016 14:15
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 18:14

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