31 December, 2009

Happy New Year

سنة جديدة سعيدة

30 December, 2009


I found a great resource today while looking up info on one of the subjects of Chapter 3: Encyclopedia of Islamic Science and Scientists edited by M. Zaki Kirmani and N.K. Singh. Do you think I can find it in a library close to me???? NOPE! It's on Google Books in limited preview, which means chunks of it are missing. Ugh!! I did find it through Amazon.com at the nifty price of $320.00 USD. However, it won't even get to me before the semester ends! Guess I will be using Google Books to do some reading on my subjects!

I did find that my school's library has an online version of Gutas' Greek Thought, Arab Culture through eBrary. Yay!!! I can read that one in it's entirety and not have to read the Google Books version.

Ok, back to research I go!

Have a wonderful New Year......

27 December, 2009

Chapter 3...coming along

Well, for this chapter of my thesis, I will be concentrating on some of the leading scholars/researchers at the House. Hopefully this chapter will prove more fruitful than Chapter 2 (a work still in progress). I am aiming for around 20 pages in each chapter, and I feel that I can definitely get there in Ch. 3!

The first scholar I will be discussing is al-Khwarizmi. He is responsible for bringing the number "0" into our mathematical systems. He is also responsible for the heinous algebra that every teenager loathes! LOL!!! I am finding him to be a most fascinating person in the little bit of reading I have done on him already.

This is a picture of what he is to have looked like in his day. The Russians have even used his image on a postage stamp in honor of him and his achievements!

This is a page from one of his texts on algebra. The equation he is discussing is as follows:

although, he has a much lengthier way of expressing the equation!

And in some parts of the Middle East (and the world), statues have been erected to him. This one is in Tehran, Iran at the Amirkabir University of Technology in front of the Faculty of Mathematics building.

14 December, 2009

Chapter 3 - The House of Wisdom

I have begun writing Chapter 3 of my thesis. I am devoting this chapter more to the scientific achievements (including mathematics) coming out of the House of Wisdom. Here are the first couple of paragraphs just to give you an idea.


The House of Wisdom was established under the Caliph al-Ma’mun in the year . For the most part, the House served as a place of intellectual inquiry where scholars from around the known world came, often at the invitation of the Caliph, to conduct research and translate the classical texts into Arabic. It was the ‘Abbasid’s hunger for knowledge that inspired the House of Wisdom and fueled the drive to learn as much as possible about the world around them.

Many scholars came through the House of Wisdom, leaving their touch and establishing their place among the elite. It is from many of these scholars where we get our modern sciences including chemistry, algebra, astronomy, and geography. Much of the works written by the scholars are from the translation of works by the Greeks, Indians, and Persians. Yet much more is due to the House scholars’ continuous research and experimentation on this existing material and the discoveries and improvements made upon them. One such scholar is Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi (783-850) who was considered one of the leading Muslim astronomers and mathematicians of his day.


I have also selected and began translating a handful of my poems for my experiential learning portion. More to come...

04 December, 2009

Experiential Learning

Part of my Master's program requires some experiential learning. This semester, I am planning to translate 10 of my own poems into Arabic and creating a chapbook in the medieval Islamic style. I have chosen the fabric I plan on using. Here is a pic:

The top fabric is a suede-like fabric and the color is kind of a dark olive green. The bottom fabric is leather-like and black. I will be using the dark color as the main binding fabric and the green as accent color. I am planning to use typical geometric and floral patterns throughout.

I am now in the process of choosing the poems. They will be rather short, no more than 10 lines. Each translation will be accompanied by the original English version. The pages will be embellished with geometric and floral patterns (either through stamps or my attempt to be artistic - I am not much for sketching, but as this style can be abstract it may look alright).