The Islamic World

North African Astrolabe

The astrolabe is an item the bridges many of the gaps between mathematics and mysticism, astronomy and astrology. the pictured item, from Khalli foundation collection, was believed to be used to navigation on the hajj. this trip to mecca is a pilgrimage all adherents to Islam must make once in there lives. These items also could assists in many tasks other then navigation, including complex mathematics. according to some reports, there are over 1000 uses of the device. one frequent use was finding the direction of Mecca, although it is difficult to confirm this claim.

Jābir ibn Ḥayyān

Jābir ibn Ḥayyān was an alchemist,cosmologist, astrologist, mathematician, physician, botanist, logician, and grammarian. he is the origin of many key ideas in alchemy, including transmutation, the act of turning lead into gold, and the sulfur mercury concept of how metals form, which remained in used until the 1800‘s. he is also considered a major figure in fields such as pharmacology, botany, and religious philosophy. there is however a intense scholarly debate as to wether he existed. some of his works where also published in Latin under the name Gerber.

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