Later Islamic Science

Michael Fowler, UVa Physics

The Islamic World

Our interest here is in the scientific developments that took place in the Islamic world. We will look at a few of the most famous of the Islamic scientists, and only mention very briefly the political context in each case: the spread of Islam over much of the known world, and the subsequent political changes, were very complex. For example, after Baghdad, Cordoba in Spain became the preeminent center for science, but Spain was under the Umayyads, not the Abbasid caliph. Furthermore, some of the greatest Islamic scientists were Persian, and political developments there included a Shia revival in the tenth century, the Sunni Abbasids thereby losing their eastern empire, followed by a Turkish (Sunni) takeover—the Turks having been brought in as a palace guard.