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Ibn Sahl

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Ibn Sahl, Abū Sa ˓d al‐ ˓Alā ˒, was a first‐class mathematician. From his correspondence as well as from diverse information transmitted by mathematicians of the second half of the tenth century, we can deduce that he flourished under the Buwayhid Dynasty, and probably in Baghdād, between 970 and 990. Many of Ibn Sahl's important writings have been lost, namely two treatises, On the Measurement of the Parabola and On the Centers of Gravity, and a kind of anthology of problems about which we have no direct information. His book Fī al‐ḥarrāqāt (On Burning Instruments) was also on the point of being lost. This book, written in Baghdād around 984, is the first known contribution on the geometric theory of lenses.

Let us begin with the contribution of Ibn Sahl to optics. He wrote a memoir on the transparency of the celestial sphere, which was commented on by Ibn al‐Haytham. The memoir and the commentary have come down to us. In this, composed in the course of his reading of Book V of...

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_9241
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References

  • Bellosta, Hélène. Burning Instruments: From Diocles to Ibn Sahl. Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 12 (2002): 285–303.

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  • Kahl, Oliver. A Note on Sabur ibn Sahl. Journal of Semitic Studies 44.2 (Autumn 1999): 245–9.

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  • Rashed, R. A Pioneer in Anaclastics: Ibn Sahl on Burning Mirrors and Lenses. Isis 81 (1990): 464–91. Rpt. in Optique et mathématiques: recherches sur l'histoire de la pensée scientifique en arabe. Aldershot: Variorum, 1992.

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  • ‐‐‐. Géométrie et dioptrique au X   e siècle: Ibn Sahl, al‐Qūhī et Ibn al‐Haytham. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1993.

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  • Rashed, R. (ed. and co‐author). Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science. 3 vols. London: Routledge, 1996.

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© 2008 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York

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Rashed, R. (2008). Ibn Sahl. In: Selin, H. (eds) Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_9241

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