Era – Middle Ages

1048 – Omar Khayyam – bio

Omar Khayyam was born in Persia in 1048 and was a mathematician, astronomer and poet. He was known for using a geometric approach to analyzing algebra problems and for solving cubic equations using line segments. He noted that solving the cubic required the use of conic sections and could not be solved simply with a […]

0980 – ibn Sina – bio

Born Abu Ali Sina Balkhi, or ibn Sina, in Persia around 980 and known in western history by the Latin version of his name, “Avicenna”. He was a physician and philospher and studied and taught mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy, logic, geometry, geology, paleontology and more. The author of over 400 works, his major effort was […]

1269 – Epistola de Magnete

In 1269, Pierre or Peter Peregrinus of Maricourt wrote a letter to a friend discussing magnetism called “Epistola de Magnete” that explained how magnets attract and repel each other and how to identify the poles of a compass. Peregrinus was a tutor of Roger Bacon. PREREQUISITE: magnets of Carthage compass SUBSEQUENT: de Magnete (Gilbert) Roger […]

0872 – al-Farabi – bio

Al-Farabi was a Persian born in Turkestan around 872. He wrote many books on logic and became known as the “Second Teacher” (with Aristotle being the first teacher) in part because he developed a non-aristotelian form of logic. He studied the works of Aristotle and wrote commentaries on them. He also studied and wrote on […]

1206 – suction pump

In 1206, an Arabic engineer and inventor from Mesopotamia known as al-Jazari wrote a description of a suction pump, along with several other supporting pieces, all incorporated into the design of a twin cylinder reciprocating piston suction pump. This was the first known use of a partial vacuum to suck fluids into a pump, the […]

1136 – al-Jazari – bio

al-Jazari was an Arabic engineer and inventor from Mesopotamia born around 1136. In 1206 he wrote a book called, “Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices” which described how to construct and use fifty mechanical devices. Inventions: Crankshaft and connecting rod mechanism to convert rotary motion into linear motion. Gearing and mechanical controls in a […]

1000 – weight driven clock

Prior to this date, many large water driven clocks were using gearing techniques to maintain their accuracy. These were documented in Spain and China and possibly other locations. At some point in the eleventh century, arabic engineers switched over to using weights to drive the geared clock mechanisms.

0965 – Alhazen – bio

Ali al-Hasan al-Haytham aka Alhazen was born in Basra, Persia (now Iraq) around 965. He wrote Kitab al-Manazir, a seven volume manuscript on light and optics. PREREQUISITE: Ptolemy SUBSEQUENT: Kepler

0780 – al-Khwarizmi – bio

Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī was born in Khwarizm, Persia (now Uzbekistan) around the year 780. He is most famous for his book on algebra titled, “The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing”. He is considered to be the father of algebra because this book was the first about the systematic solution of linear […]