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West Asian science – Mesopotamia and Iran

By |2018-04-07T17:05:01+00:00September 15th, 2017|Science, West Asia|

The constellation Orion From the Stone Age through the Islamic empires, great scientific discoveries have streamed out of West Asia. West Asia is one of the places where farming got started, and maybe the sailboat. The Sumerians developed the world's earliest system of writing, including the first way to write down numbers. They invented the wheel, using it as a pottery [...]

What is tuberculosis? History of diseases

By |2018-04-18T18:18:04+00:00September 7th, 2017|Science, West Asia|

A child with tuberculosis Tuberculosis is a lung disease caused by germs. Today we can usually cure it with antibiotics. But in antiquity there was no cure. Many people died of tuberculosis. One kind of tuberculosis seems to have infected people since the Paleolithic. It came to North America and South America with the first people, about 13,000 BC. This tuberculosis [...]

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 [...]

History of Electricity – Science of shocks

By |2017-09-05T08:39:33+00:00September 5th, 2017|Science|

A bolt of lightning in the sky Like other inventions, electricity took thousands of years to develop, as scientists all over the world investigated first one idea and then another. Scientists grouped together unseen forces - both magnetism and electricity - and tried to figure out whether these forces were inside the attractor, [...]

Galen and Roman medicine – doctors in the Roman Empire

By |2018-04-18T18:18:03+00:00September 4th, 2017|Romans, Science|

Roman medicine: Galen used surgical instruments like these Roman medicine is really West Asian and African medicine. That's because most of the great doctors of the Roman Empire lived in West Asia (in Turkey and Syria), or in Africa (in Egypt), not in Europe. These doctors started from earlier Egyptian, Indian, and Greek medical research. Like Egyptian [...]

Roman science – What did ancient Romans invent?

By |2018-04-25T10:26:44+00:00September 4th, 2017|Romans, Science|

Roman mold-blown glass (100s AD) What we call Roman science is a mixture of two different things. The first is the discoveries and inventions made by scientists working in parts of West Asia and Africa that the Romans had conquered. In these places, scientists had already been working for a long time. They [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Ibn al-Haytham – Medieval Islamic science

By |2018-04-16T10:32:27+00:00July 27th, 2017|Islam, Science|

Diagram of an eye, by Ibn al-Haytham (ca. 1000 AD) Ibn al-Haytham was born about 965 AD in Basra, near the Persian Gulf (modern Iraq), and when he grew up he went to Cairo, then a rich university center under Fatimid rule, and became a scientist. Al-Haytham first worked on a plan to build a dam across the Nile [...]