First theoretical physicist Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham (Al-Hazen)

During the middle ages in the Middle East, foundations for the scientific method were laid by Alhazen. Known as Ab? ?Al? al-?asan ibn al-?asan ibn al-?aytham (c. 965 – c.?1040 CE), also known by the Latinization Alhazen or Alhacen, was an Arab scientist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher. Ibn al-?aytham made significant contributions to the principles of optics, astronomy, mathematics, meteorology, visual perception and the scientific method. He spent most of his life close to the court of the Fatimid Caliphate in Cairo and earned his living authoring various treatises and tutoring members of the nobilities. Ibn al-?aytham is widely considered to be the first theoretical physicist, and the earliest to discover that a hypothesis must be proved by experiments based on confirmable procedures or mathematical evidence hence understanding the scientific method 200 years before Renaissance scientists.  Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) was born c. 965 in Basra, which was then part of the Buyid emirate, to an Arab family. Alhazen arrived in Cairo under the reign of Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim, a patron of the sciences who was particularly interested in astronomy. He proposed to the Caliph a hydraulic project to improve regulation of the flooding of the Nile, a task requiring an early attempt at building a dam at the present site of the Aswan Dam, but later his field work convinced him of the technical impracticality of this scheme.


Alhazen made significant contributions to optics, number theory, geometry, astronomy and natural philosophy. Alhazen’s work on optics is credited with contributing a new emphasis on experiment. His main work, Kitab al-Manazir (Book of Optics) was known in the Muslim world mainly, but not exclusively, through the thirteenth-century commentary by Kam?l al-D?n al-F?ris?, the Tanq?? al-Man??ir li-dhaw? l-ab??r wa l-ba??’ir. In al-Andalus, it was used by the eleventh-century prince of the Banu Hud dynasty of Zaragossa and author of an important mathematical text, al-Mu’taman ibn H?d. A Latin translation of the Kitab al-Manazir was made probably in the late twelfth or early thirteenth century. This translation was read by and greatly influenced a number of scholars in Catholic Europe including: Roger Bacon, Robert Grosseteste, Witelo, Giambattista della Porta, Leonardo Da Vinci, Galileo Galilei, Christiaan Huygens, René Descartes, and Johannes Kepler. His research in catoptrics (the study of optical systems using mirrors) centred on spherical and parabolic mirrors and spherical aberration. He made the observation that the ratio between the angle of incidence and refraction does not remain constant, and investigated the magnifying power of a lens. Alhazen, by the name Ibn al-Haytham, is featured on the obverse of the Iraqi 10,000-dinar banknote issued in 2003, and on 10-dinar notes from 1982. The 2015 International Year of Light celebrated the 1000th anniversary of the works on optics by Ibn Al-Haytham.

(Source: Wikipedia)