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The Origins of Western Science
The Origins of Western Science

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McMaster University
Jack Leach

The Origins of Western Science 21-01-13 - Detailed measurements of stars were created by Muslim Scientists - Elaborate models were created based on their observations - Early astronomy was about prediction, observation and measurement - Today’s goal is to discover the fundamental structure of the universe - After the Copernican revolution, all major scientific discoveries were made in the west (Newton, Einstein etc.) - The Copernican model is very similar to Islam’s geocentric model. They may have had access to Islam’s geocentric models Islamic Math - Islamic scientists had a deep mathematical background. Basis of their work was acquired from Hindu works and Euclid’s work. - Trigonometry was founded by the Greeks but a lot of what we know today about Trigonometry is from Islamic scientists (sine, cosine, tangent) - Brahmagupta was largely responsible for the introduction of Hindu numerals to the Muslims and that in turn turned out to be Arab numerals as we see them today - Al Khwarizmi was the man that studied and founded the concept of algebra - Al-Haytham discovered the working of the eye and made two observations. 1) Vision occurs because rays enter the eye 2) He defined the nature of the rays which was based on prominent Greek scholars such as Euclid, Ptolemy and Aristotle. Decline of Islamic Science. At the time of Copernicus, the centre of the scientific progress shifted from the Islamic word to the west because of a few theories. Islamic theory as to why this change happened. - Contraction of resources that were necessary for progress - Their empire was under attack so there was a shift in priority from science to their own protection - In 1492, the last Muslim left Spain and the Mediterranean ocean was once again Christian after previously being controlled by Muslims. - At the same time, the Islamic world was being attacked by the east as the Mongols captured the capital of the Islamic world, Bagdad in the 1200s - The contraction of the empire, there was loss of trade, loss of resources, progress, productivity and resources. This led to the decrease in science as well. The West - The west counters this argument because the west was poor and still was able to have a scientific breakthrough - They also argue that despite everything, science could not grow because of the nature of Islam. They say that most Muslims believe that the answers to all the problems come from the Quran and other teachings. Which in theory also makes no sense because if that was the case, Islamic science would have never grown. Role of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire precedes the birth of the Islamic prophet Mohammad (PBUH). - At the height of the roman empire, it was equivalent to that of the Islamic Empire - The Islamic empire that came into existence after the Roman Empire - At the height of the Roman Empire, it came under attack from the East and the West from many tribes. - The Romans were fighting the Persians on their eastern boundaries - The emperor at the time figured to divide its empire in two. One would fight east, and one would fight west. - Each side would have their own autonomous emperor - Each emperor wo
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