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Islamic Astronomy: Past and Present
The College of Arts and Sciences presents a talk by Dr. Ilias Fernini, Associate Professor in the Physics Department of the UAE University.
Islamic society has great ties to astronomy. Its main religious customs (start of the Islamic month, direction of prayer, and the five daily prayers) are all related to two main celestial objects: the Sun and the Moon. This is to say that the major impetus for the growth of Islamic astronomy came from these three main religious observances, which presented an assortment of problems in mathematical astronomy.
The presentation will cover the development of Islamic astronomy in light of the requirements of the Islamic society to observe its religious customs. Several schools of scientific learning thus emerged across the Islamic empire with Arabic the language of learning, culture and intellectual progress for the whole of the civilized world, with the exception of the Far East. From the 9th to the 12th century, there were more scientific works written in Arabic than in any other human language. The whole of Greek learning was completely rethought by the Muslims, and without this renovation work, the Renaissance itself could not have come about. But, despite the work of eminent historians (i.e., Suter, Brockelmann, Sarton, Sedillot, Woepcke, Nallino, Neugebauer, Kennedy, Youschkevitch, Rosenfeld, Gingerich, King, Sayili, just to name a few) to pay tribute to the contributions Arab-Muslim civilization had made to human progress, the creative genius of the Muslim scholars is yet to be recognized.
Dr. Fernini will succinctly review the achievements of the great figures of Islamic astronomy. He will also highlight the great observatories of the Islamic golden age and look briefly at the status of Islamic astronomy today.
For more information, please contact [email protected].