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For over 700 years, the international language of science was Arabic. In Pathfinders, Jim al-Khalili celebrates the forgotten, inspiring pioneers who helped shape our understanding of the world during the golden age of Arabic science, including Iraqi physicist Ibn al-Haytham, who practised the modern scientific method over half a century before Bacon; al-Khwarizmi, the greatest mathematician of the medieval world; and, Abu Rayhan al-Biruni, a Persian polymath to rival Leonardo da Vinci.
Jim Al-Khalili OBE is a theoretical physicist, author and broadcaster. He is currently Professor of Physics at the University of Surrey, where he also holds the first Surrey chair in the public engagement in science. He was awarded the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize for science communication in 2007, elected Honorary Fellow of the British Association for the Advancement of Science and has also received the Institute of Physic's Public Awareness of Physics Award. Born in Baghdad, Jim was educated in Iraq until the age of 16 and it was there, being taught by Arabic teachers in Arabic that he first heard and learnt about the great Arab scientists and philosophers. He has long championed the influence of Islam on science and hopes to bring attention to the rich Arab heritage in our understanding of science today.
"Brings alive the bubbling invention and delighted curiosity of the Islamic world ... his command of Arabic mathematical physics invests his story with sympathy as well as authority"
- Tim Radford, Guardian
"A fascinating and user-friendly guide to this whole scientific movement"
- Noel Malcolm, Seven, Sunday Telegraph
"Jim Al-Khalili has a passion for bringing to a wider audience not just the facts of science but its history ... Just as the legacy of Copernicus and Darwin belongs to all of us, so does that of Ibn Sina and Ibn al-Haytham. To think otherwise, as this book so powerfully reveals, is to do disservice to the tradition to which they belong"
- Kenan Malik, Independent
"Spry, informative and timely ... Al-Khalili takes the reader through a brisk survey of the highlights of the period"
- Stuart Kelly, Scotland on Sunday
"A fascinating introduction to a neglected area. His approachable style and ability to distil extensive knowledge into simple narrative makes Pathfinders an absorbing read"
- Siobhan Murphy, Metro
"Enjoyable and informative ... provides ample evidence for the compatibility of Islam and science"
- Sameer Rahim, Daily Telegraph
"He has brought a great story out of the shadows"
- Literary Review
"This captivating book is a timely reminder of the debt owed by the West to the intellectual achievements of Arab, Persian and Muslim scholars"
- The Times