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What was smallpox? History of disease

By |2018-04-15T17:01:43+00:00September 7th, 2017|Central Asia, Science|

A baby with smallpox (from the CDC) Smallpox was a very serious disease caused by a virus. Many people died of it. Smallpox caused little bumps on your skin, like chickenpox but much more serious. About two to five of every ten people who got smallpox died of it. There was (and is still) [...]

What is opium? World history of medicine and drugs

By |2017-09-07T09:33:48+00:00September 7th, 2017|Central Asia, Science|

Opium poppy flower Opium comes from a kind of poppy flower. It evolved around 100 million years ago in West Asia and Central Asia. People probably realized as soon as they got to West Asia, about 60,000 years ago, that you could use opium as a medicine. By 6000 BC, in the Stone Age, West Asian farmers were already growing opium in their [...]

What is measles? History of diseases and medicine

By |2018-04-25T17:11:36+00:00September 7th, 2017|History, Science|

A kid with measles Measles is a sickness that first makes you feel sick, with a fever, a cough, and a runny nose. Then it gives you a rash all over your skin. It is caused by a virus, and you usually catch it by touching a person with measles, or touching something they [...]

History of astronomy – Science and space

By |2018-05-18T08:57:38+00:00September 5th, 2017|Science|

A starry sky with the Milky Way galaxy(thanks to Bernd Nies) Early astronomy The very earliest people, as early as six million years ago, knew much more about the moon and the planets and the stars than most people do today. That's because they lived mainly outside, without electric lights blocking out the sky, and they saw every night how the moon and [...]

Renaissance Science in Europe

By |2017-08-07T21:36:38+00:00August 7th, 2017|Modern Europe, Science|

Copernicus, a Renaissance astronomer Starting in the 1200s AD, as Europe got richer, great universities got started there. In the later Middle Ages, West Asia and India suffered from the Mongol invasions. West Asian people were too poor to send their children to the old university at Baghdad. In the 1300s, the Black Death killed so many people in Egypt that the old university at Cairo also didn't have [...]

Medieval Islamic medicine – the first hospitals and quarantines

By |2018-04-18T18:18:05+00:00July 27th, 2017|Islam, Science|

Islamic medicine: From an Ottoman manuscript, two doctors telling the pharmacist how to make different medicines Writing medical encyclopedias Doctors made big scientific advances in medicine during the Islamic empire. Islamic doctors began by collecting all the medical observations and logic of the past. They translated the work of Hippocrates and his followers, and Galen, into Arabic. About 750 [...]

Medieval Islamic science

By |2018-04-24T08:21:20+00:00July 27th, 2017|Islam, Science|

Al Tusi's diagram of linear motion from circular motion In the Early Middle Ages, before the formation of the Islamic Empire, Buddhists ran the world's biggest universities. One was in India, at Nalanda. Another was in what is now Pakistan, at Taxila. In Egypt, the University of Alexandria was still an important center of learning, too. Most serious scholars went to [...]

Ibn Sina (Avicenna) – Medieval Islamic medicine – Islamic Empire

By |2018-04-24T08:21:22+00:00July 27th, 2017|Islam, Science|

Where Ibn Sina came from: Uzbekistan Ibn Sina and the Samanids in Uzbekistan Ibn Sina (known to Europeans as Avicenna) was a scientist. He was born about 980 AD in the north-eastern part of the Abbasid Empire. That was in the kingdom of the Samanids. (It's modern Uzbekistan.) The Samanids supported science and art, so many scientists and artists [...]

Medieval Islamic astronomy

By |2018-04-23T10:04:24+00:00July 27th, 2017|History, Islam, Science|

Islamic astronomers taking observations West Asian astronomers had been world leaders in astronomy for thousands of years before the Islamic conquests in the 600s AD. In the last centuries BC, West Asian astronomers had already figured out that the earth was a ball, and that the earth went around the sun, and how big the earth was, and that the moon went [...]

al Tabari – Medieval Islamic medicine

By |2018-04-18T18:18:05+00:00July 27th, 2017|Islam, Science|

Al Tabari's homeland in Tabiristan Al Tabari was from a Christian family in the Abbasid Empire, near the Caspian Sea (modern Iran). His father, Sahl, was himself a doctor who proposed a new treatment for epilepsy. Al Tabari was born about 838 AD. When he grew up, he moved to Baghdad, where there were other scholars to talk [...]