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On the shoulders of eastern giants: the forgotten contribution of the medieval physicists

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19:30 – 20:30 3 Nov 2010
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Chadwick Lecture Theatre, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3BX

Speakers: Prof. Jim Al-Khalili, University of Surrey

We learn at school that Isaac Newton is the father of modern optics, that Copernicus heralded the birth of astronomy, and that it is Snell’s law of refraction. But what is the debt that these men owe to the physicists and astronomers of the medieval Islamic empire? Men such as Ibn al-Haytham, the greatest physicist in the 2000-year span between Archimedes and Newton, and whose Book of Optics was just as influential as Newton’s seven centuries later; or Avicenna and Biruni the Persian polymaths who argued over such topics as why ice floats and whether parallel universes exist; or Ibn Sahl who came up with the correct law of refraction many centuries before Snell; or the astronomers Al-Tusi and Ibn al-Shatir, without whom Copernicus would not have been able to formulate his heliocentric model of the solar system. In this lecture Jim Al-Khalili will recount these characters and more from his new book on the subject.
Additional directions at http://www.iop.org/activity/branches/north_west/merseyside/calendar/file_44563.pdf

Event type: Lecture/Talk
Organised by: Merseyside Branch
Contact details: Louise Butcher
Email: louise.butcher@iop.org

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Location icon
Chadwick Lecture Theatre, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3BX
Clock icon
19:30 – 20:30 3 Nov 2010
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Invite friends
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