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THE CELESTIAL KINEMATICS OF IBN AL-HAYTHAM

  • ROSHDI RASHED (a1)
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.

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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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Arabic Sciences and Philosophy
  • ISSN: 0957-4239
  • EISSN: 1474-0524
  • URL: /core/journals/arabic-sciences-and-philosophy
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