Biruni was a versatile scholar and scientist who had equal facility in physics, metaphysics, mathematics, geography and history. Born in the city of Kheva near "Ural" then was a part of Iran in A. At an early age, the fame of his scholarship went around and when Sultan Mahmood Ghaznawi conquered his homeland, he took Biruni along with him in his journeys to India several times and thus he had the opportunity to travel all over India during a period of 20 years. He learnt Hindu philosophy, mathematics, geography and religion from thre Pandits to whom he taught Greek and Arabic science and philosophy.
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Gbazna [? The town of his birth now bears his name. About his ancestry and childhood nothing is known. Four years later he had made plans to carry out a series of such determinations and had prepared a ring fifteen cubits in diameter, together with supplementary equipment.
At this time, civil war broke out. By he had carved out a realm extending a thousand miles north and south, and twice as far east and west. Playing a role somewhat what analogous to that of the medieval popes, he was accorded a strange religious respect by the temporal princes of Islam. Upon them the successive caliphs conferred prestige by investing them with honorificc titles and robes of honor.
It may have been then that he went to Rayy, near modern Teheran. In the Chronology p. A local astrologer chose to ridicule his views on some technical matter because of his poverty. Later, when his circumstances improved, the same man became friendly. In the Chronology, completed about trans. The time difference so obtained enabled them to calculate the difference in longitude between the two stations.
This was by no means his first book, for in it he refers incidentally to seven others already completed, none of which are extant. Their titles indicate that he had already broken ground in the fields he later continued to cultivate, for one RG 34 is on decimal computation, one RG 46 on the astrolabe, one RG on astronomical observations, three RG 42, 99, on astrology, and two RG , are histories. By this time he also had engaged in an acrimonious correspondence with the brilliant Bukharan philosopher and physician Avicenna on the nature and transmission of heat and light.
On 4 June of the following year he observed a third lunar eclipse Canon, pp. The surviving princes of the local dynasty were carried off to imprisonment in various parts of his domain Barthold, pp. On 14 October he wanted to take the solar altitude, but had no instrument.
He therefore laid out a graduated arc on the back of a calculating board takht and, with a plumb line, used it as an improvised quadrant. On the basis of the results obtained, he calculated the latitude of the locality. He uses this, and the lunar eclipse mentioned below, to comment sarcastically upon the ignorance of the local astronomers.
Sachau has shown India, trans. No doubt this ring was a monumental installation named, as was the custom, for the ruler patron. By he had subjugated Multan and Bhatinda, the latter miles east of the Indus. Twice repulsed in and from the borders of Kashmir, by he had penetrated and subdued the Ganges valley to a point not far west of Benares.
One of the pieces was laid at the entrance to the Ghazna mosque, to be used as a footscraper by the worshipers India, trans. The names of many of the places he saw are known, but no dates can be given for his visits. They were confined to the Punjab and the borders of Kashmir. Sachau India, text, p. He continued to observe equinoxes and solstices at Ghazna, the last being the winter solstice of In the ruler of the Volga Turks sent an embassy to Ghazna.
By the late summer of the treatise on Chords was completed according to the Patna MS. Perhaps it was the change of regime that enabled him to revisit his native land.
Their answers diverged wildly, and some were patently absurd. At the end of his sixty-first lunar? As its crescent disappeared, a voice told him that he would behold more of the same. Of his subsequent activities we have no knowledge, save that in the Pharmacology p.
Most of the entries also give the length of the particular manuscript in folios. Moreover, seven additional works by him are extant and many more are named, some in his own writings and others in a variety of sources. All told, these come to The reckoning is uncertain, for some titles counted separately may be synonyms, and additional items may well turn up in the future.
There is a wide range in size of the treatises. Several amount to only ten folios each, while, at the other extreme, three lost astronomical works run to , , and folios respectively. Largest of all is the India, at folios. The mean length of the seventy-nine books of known size is very nearly ninety folios.
The classification attempted in the table below is only approximate; for instance, a book placed in the geographical category could legitimately be classed as primarily geodetic, and so on. The third and fourth columns show, respectively, the compositions known to exist in manuscript form and the numbers of these that have thus far been printed. Of what has survived, about half has been published. Most of the latter with the notable exception of the Cannon has been translated into other languages and has received some attention from modern scholars.
The table also clearly reveals both scope and areas of concentration. He was not ignorant of philosophy and the speculative disciplines, but his bent was strongly toward the study of observable phenomena, in nature and in man.
Within the sciences themselves he was attracted by those fields then susceptible of mathematical analysis. He did serious work in mineralogy, pharmacology, and philology, subjects where numbers played little part; but about half his total output is in astronomy, astrology, and related subjects, the exact sciences par excellence of those days.
Mathematics in its own right came next, but it was invariably applied mathematics. They are our best sources for estimating the extent and significance of his accomplishments. The Chronology. The day, being the most apparent and fundamental chronological unit, is the subject of the first chapter.
Next the several varieties of year are defined—lunar, solar, lunisolar, Julian, and Persian—and the notion of intercalation is introduced. Chapter 4 discusses the Alexander legend, giving sundry examples of pedigrees, forged and otherwise. Except for the work of al-Khwarizmi, another Muslim, his is the earliest extant scientific discussion of this calendar. Chapter 6 culminates with a table trans.
This is preceded, however, by chronological and regnal tables in years sometimes with months and days for the Jewish patriarchs and kings; the Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians; the Pharaohs, Ptolemies, Caesars, and Byzantine emperors; the mythical Iranian kings; and the Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sasanian dynasties. Where tables from different sources conflict, all are given in full, and there are digressions on the length of human life and the enumeration of chessboard moves.
Chapter 7 continues the exhaustive discussion of the Jewish calendar, but includes a derivation of the solar parameters, a table of planetary names, and the Mujarrad table giving the initial weekdays of the mean thirty-year cycle lunar year. The concluding chapter, 21, gives tables and descriptive matter on the lunar mansions, followed by explanations of stereographic projection and other plane mappings of the sphere.
The Astrolabe. Amid the plethora of medieval treatises on the astrolabe, this is one of the few of real value. It describes in detail not only the construction of the standard astrolabe but also special tools used in the process. Numerical tables are given for laying out the families of circles engraved on the plates fitting into the instrument. As for the underlying theory, not only are the techniques and properties of the standard stereographic projection presented, but also those of certain nonstereographic and nonorthogonal mappings of the sphere upon the plane.
The Sextant. The central theme is the determination of geographical coordinates of localities. Several preliminary problems present themselves: latitude determinations, inclination of the ecliptic, the distribution of land masses and their formation, length of a degree along the terrestrial meridian, and differences in terrestrial longitudes from eclipse observations. The latter was estimated from caravan routes and lengths of stages.
The final result is in error by only eighteen minutes of arc. The Densities. He reports very precise specific gravity determinations for eight metals, fifteen other solids mostly precious or semiprecious stones , and six liquids. The Shadows. Of the total of thirty chapters, the first three contain philosophical notions about the nature of light, shade, and reflection.
There are many citations from the Arabic poets descriptive of kinds of shadows. Chapter 4 shows that the plane path traced in a day by the end point of a gnomon shadow is a conic. The next two chapters discuss the properties of shadows cast in light emanating from celestial objects. The succeeding three chapters explain rules for converting between functions expressed in different gnomon lengths and for conversions into the other trigonometric functions sine, secant, and their cofunctions, together with their various parameters , and vice versa.
Chapter 12 gives tangent-cotangent tables for the four standard gnomon lengths and discusses interpolation. The next two chapters explain how to engrave the shadow functions on astrolabes. There follows, in Chapter 15, a discussion of gnomon shadows cast on planes other than horizontal, and on curved surfaces.
Chapters 16 and 17 consider the effect of solar declination and local latitude on the meridian shadow length. A number of nontrigonometric approximate Indian rules are given.
Chapters 18—21 list a variety of meridian-determination methods including one from the lost Analemma of the first-century B. Chapter 22 is on daylight length and rising times of the signs as functions of the local latitude and the season.
Here and in the next two chapters on determining the time of day from shadows rules are reproduced from numerous Indian, Sasanian, and early Islamic documents, many no longer extant. Some early Muslim rules are in Arabic doggerel written in imitation of Sanskrit slokas. Chapters 25 and 26 define the time of the Muslim daily prayers, some in terms of shadow lengths. The concluding three chapters describe Indian and early Islamic techniques for calculating terrestrial and celestial distances by the use of shadows.
The Chords. Then the foot of the perpendicular bisects the broken line ABC. There follow a number of proofs of this theorem, attributed to sundry Greek and Islamic mathematicians, some otherwise unknown to the literature.
Abu Raihan Al-Biruni (973-1048)
Das griechisch-hellenistische Erbe wurde ebenso rezipiert wie das Wissen der Inder und die Kenntnisse der Iraner aus der vorislamischen Zeit. Mehrere Orte im islamisch-arabischen Raum entwickelten sich zu geistigen und kulturellen Zentren. In Bagdad beispielsweise wurde im 9. Er beschrieb die Wirkungsweise von optischen Linsen und entwickelte Hohlspiegel. Jahrhunderts die Kunde von ihm in Europa.
Wissenschaftsgeschichte: Al-Biruni - Ein Gelehrter, den das Abendland übersah
Gbazna [? The town of his birth now bears his name. About his ancestry and childhood nothing is known. Four years later he had made plans to carry out a series of such determinations and had prepared a ring fifteen cubits in diameter, together with supplementary equipment. At this time, civil war broke out. By he had carved out a realm extending a thousand miles north and south, and twice as far east and west.