Ibn al-haytham and his influence on post-mediaeval western culture

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Ibn al-Haytham (Latinised as Alhazen or Alhacen) wrote nearly 100 works on topics as diverse as astronomy, poetry and politics. Although today he is largely known for his writings on geometrical optics, astronomy and mathematics, with his landmark seven-volume Kitāb al-Manāzir (Book of Optics), published sometime between 1028 and 1038, he made intellectual contributions that subsequently were incorporated throughout Western culture. The Kitāb al-Manāzir was translated into Latin as de Aspectibus some time prior to 1230 where it profoundly influenced European intellectuals as diverse as the writer Geoffrey Chaucer, the theologian John Wyclif, and the scientific work on optics of Bacon, Pecham and Witelo. The noted science historian David Lindberg wrote that ‘Alhazen was undoubtedly the most significant figure in the history of optics between antiquity and the seventeenth century.' However, accurate as that characterisation is, it significantly understates the impact that al-Haytham had on areas as wide-ranging as the art, science, theology and literature of Europe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLight-Based Science
Subtitle of host publicationTechnology and Sustainable Development: The Legacy of Ibn Al-Haytham
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781498779401
ISBN (Print)9781498779388
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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