Ibn al-Haytham

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Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen), 965–1039 Iraq. The Muslim scholar who is the first Scientist due to his emphasis on experimental data and reproducibility of its results.

Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥasan ibn al-Ḥasan ibn al-Haytham (Persian : ابن هيثم, Arabic: أبو علي، الحسن بن الحسن بن الهيثم, Latinized: Alhacen or (deprecated) Alhazen) (965 in Basra – c. 1040 in Cairo) was a Arab Muslim scientist, polymath, mathematician, astronomer and philosopher. He made significant contributions to the principles of optics, as well as to physics, astronomy, mathematics, ophthalmology, philosophy, visual perception, and to the scientific method. He also wrote insightful commentaries on works by Aristotle, Ptolemy, and the Greek mathematician Euclid.

He is frequently referred to as Ibn al-Haytham, and sometimes as al-Basri (Arabic: البصري), after his birthplace in the city of Basra. He was also nicknamed Ptolemaeus Secundus ("Ptolemy the Second") or simply "The Physicist" in medieval Europe.

Born circa 965, in Basra, present-day Iraq, he lived mainly in Cairo, Egypt, dying there at age 74. According to one version of his biography, overconfident about practical application of his mathematical knowledge, he assumed that he could regulate the floods of the Nile. After being ordered by Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, the sixth ruler of the Fatimid caliphate, to carry out this operation, he quickly perceived the impossibility of what he was attempting to do, and retired from engineering. Fearing for his life, he feigned madness and was placed under house arrest, during and after which he devoted himself to his scientific work until his death. He is known as the "Father of modern optics and Scientific methodology" and could be regarded as the first theoretical physicist.

Ibn al-Haytham described his theology: "I constantly sought knowledge and truth, and it became my belief that for gaining access to the effulgence and closeness to God, there is no better way than that of searching for truth and knowledge."[1]

List of works[edit]

Ibn al-Haytham wrote more than 200 works on a wide range of subjects, of which at least 96 of his scientific works are known.

  1. Book of Optics
  2. Analysis and Synthesis
  3. Balance of Wisdom
  4. Corrections to the Almagest
  5. Discourse on Place
  6. Exact Determination of the Pole
  7. Exact Determination of the Meridian
  8. Finding the Direction of Qibla by Calculation
  9. Horizontal Sundials
  10. Hour Lines
  11. Doubts Concerning Ptolemy
  12. Maqala fi'l-Qarastun
  13. On Completion of the Conics
  14. On Seeing the Stars
  15. On Squaring the Circle
  16. On the Burning Sphere
  17. On the Configuration of the World
  18. On the Form of Eclipse
  19. On the Light of Stars
  20. On the Light of the Moon
  21. On the Milky Way
  22. On the Nature of Shadows
  23. On the Rainbow and Halo
  24. Opuscula
  25. Resolution of Doubts Concerning the Almagest
  26. Resolution of Doubts Concerning the Winding Motion
  27. The Correction of the Operations in Astronomy
  28. The Different Heights of the Planets
  29. The Direction of Mecca
  30. The Model of the Motions of Each of the Seven Planets
  31. The Model of the Universe
  32. The Motion of the Moon
  33. The Ratios of Hourly Arcs to their Heights
  34. The Winding Motion
  35. Treatise on Light
  36. Treatise on Place
  37. Treatise on the Influence of Melodies on the Souls of Animals[2]


  1. Template:Harvnb, Pt. II, p. 465
  2. (Plott 2000, p. 461)