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THE CELESTIAL KINEMATICS OF IBN AL-HAYTHAM

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 February 2007

ROSHDI RASHED
Affiliation:
Centre d'histoire des sciences et des philosophies arabes et médiévales, 7 rue Guy Môquet, B.P. no 8, 94801 Villejuif Cedex, France

Abstract

After having reformulated optics, Ibn al-Haytham conceived of an analogous project for astronomy. This has just been revealed by an important book by the mathematician which has never been studied until now. Ibn al-Haytham's reform consists in excluding all cosmology, and in developing a systematic study of a celestial kinematics that has been completely geometrized. In turn, the realization of such a reform demanded innovative research in infinitesimal geometry. In this article, an attempt is made to present this new geometry, as well as the mathematical means invented to elaborate it.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2007 Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

This article is an English translation of a slightly modified version of the Introduction in my most recent book, Les mathématiques infinitésimales du IXeau XIesiècle. Vol. V: Ibn al-Haytham: Astronomie, géométrie sphérique et trigonométrie (London, 2006). I am grateful to J. V. Field for translating this article from French into English, and for making comments that led to improvements in the text. It goes without saying that I alone am responsible for any remaining errors.
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