Islam Wiki

This timeline of science and engineering in the Islamic world covers both the classical Islamic Golden Age (usually dated from the 7th to 16th centuries) and the post-classical period (after the 16th century). From the 19th century onwards, the advances by Muslim scientists and engineers occurred both within and outside of the Islamic world. All year dates are given according to the Gregorian calendar except where noted.

7th century

c. 650
Calid, an Umayyad prince, translated the literature of Egyptian alchemy into the Arabic language.

8th century

From the eighth century, the use of glazed ceramics was prevalent in Islamic art, usually assuming the form of elaborate pottery.[1] The first Islamic opaque glazes can be found as blue-painted ware in Basra, dating to around the 8th century.[2]
c. 700
An early industrial factory complex for Islamic pottery and glass production is built in Ar-Raqqah, Syria. Extensive experimentation is carried out at the complex, which is two kilometres in length, and a variety of innovative high-purity glass are developed there. Two other similar complexes are also built,[3] and nearly three hundred[3] new chemical recipes for glass are produced at all three sites.[3]
The first pharmacy and drugstores are opened in Baghdad.[4] The first apothecary shops are also opened in the Islamic world.[5]
c. 763
The House of Wisdom is founded by the Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid.
c. 763
First Bimaristan (hospital) opened in Baghdad during the Caliphate of Haroon-ar-Rashid."[6][7] [8]
c. 764
The streets of the newly constructed Baghdad are paved with tar, derived from petroleum, coming from natural oil fields in the region, through the process of destructive distillation.[9]
Muhammad al-Fazari and Yaqūb ibn Tāriq translate the Surya Siddhanta and Brahmasphutasiddhanta, and compile them as the Zij al-Sindhind, the first Zij treatise.[10]
c. 780
Geber, a Muslim chemist who is "considered by many to be the father of chemistry",[11][12][13] introduced the experimental scientific method for chemistry, as well as laboratory apparatus such as the alembic, still and retort, and chemical processes such as pure distillation, liquefaction,[14][15] crystallisation,[11] and filtration.[14][15] He also invented more than twenty types of laboratory apparatus,[16] leading to the discovery of many chemical substances.[17] He also develops recipes for stained glass and describes lustreware.[18]
The first paper mills are created in Baghdad, marking the beginning of the paper industry.[19][20]
c. 796
The first person credited for building the brass astrolabe in the Islamic world is reportedly Muhammad al-Fazari.[21]

9th century

c. 800
Tin-opacified glazing is developed by Islamic potters.[22]
c. 800
The first psychiatric hospital and insane asylum in Egypt is erected by Muslim physicians in Cairo.
Al-Kindi is born. He contributed to early Islamic philosophy, Islamic physics, optics, Islamic medicine, Islamic mathematics, cryptography, and metallurgy. Worked at the House of Wisdom which was set up in 810. He introduces quantification into medicine in his De Gradibus, and he is the first to isolate ethanol (alcohol) as a pure compound.[23]
The first practical windmill, the vertical axle windmill, is invented in eastern Persia, as recorded by the Persian geographer, Estakhri.[24]
Another significant contribution of Islamic pottery was the development of stonepaste ceramics, originating from 9th century Iraq.[2]
Muslim astronomers invent the universal sundial[25] and universal horary dial[26][27] in Baghdad.
Abbas Ibn Firnas is born. He "was a polymath: a physician, a rather bad poet, the first to make glass from stones (quartz), a student of music, and inventor of some sort of metronome." He made the earliest recorded attempt at controlled flight, devised means of manufacturing colorless glass, and developed a process for cutting rock crystal. Another invention was an artificial weather simulation room, in which spectators were astonished by artificial thunder and lightning.[28] He also describes clear colourless high-purity glass.[29]
c. 820
The first medical schools are founded in Baghdad during Al-Ma'mun's time. These also became the first medical universities, where academic degrees and diplomas (ijazah) were issued to those students who were qualified to be practising doctors of medicine.[6][30]
c. 820
'Amr ibn Bahr al-Jahiz wrote a number of works on zoology, Arabic grammar, rhetoric, and lexicography. His most famous work is the Book of Animals, in which he first discussed food chains,[31] was an early adherent of environmental determinism, and argued that different human skin colors arose due to it.[32] He also first described the struggle for existence,[33] and an early theory on evolution resembling natural selection.[34]
c. 820
Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī wrote the The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing, more briefly referred to as al-jabr, or algebra. "Algebra was a unifying theory which allowed rational numbers, irrational numbers, geometrical magnitudes, etc., to all be treated as "algebraic objects". It gave mathematics a whole new development path so much broader in concept to that which had existed before, and provided a vehicle for future development of the subject."[35]
c. 850
The Banū Mūsā brothers write the Book of Ingenious Devices, in which they describe some of their inventions: the valve, float valve, feedback controller,[36] float chamber, automatic control,[37] Automatic flute player, Programmable machine,[38] Trick drinking vessels, gas mask, grab, clamshell grab, fail-safe system, hurricane lamp, self-feeding oil lamp, self-trimming oil lamp,[39] mechanical musical instrument, and hydropowered organ.[40]
c. 850
Establishment of madrasahs, forebears of modern universities. They were institutions of higher education and research which issued academic degrees at all levels (bachelor, master and doctorate).[41][30] The first universities in Europe were influenced in many ways by the madrasahs in Islamic Spain and the Emirate of Sicily at the time, and in the Middle East during the Crusades.[41]
c. 850
Oil fields first appear in Baku, Azerbaijan, and generate commercial activities and industry.
c. 850
Stoneware originates in Iraq.
c. 850
The basic water turbine is invented by Muslim engineers in the Islamic world.
c. 850
Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī invents the quadrant, the mural instrument[42], the sine quadrant (also known as the "Sinecal Quadrant"; the Arabic term for it is "Rubul Mujayyab") which was used for solving trigonometric problems and making astronomical observations. He also invented the alidade.[43]
c 850
Abu Kamil begins to understand what we would write in symbols as .[35]
c. 852
Abbas Ibn Firnas (Armen Firman) made the first successful parachute fall using a huge wing-like cloak to break his fall, near Córdoba, Spain.
The University of Al Karaouine in Fes, Morocco is founded by Princess Fatima al-Fihri. It is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest academic degree-granting university in the world[44]
Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi is born. In his Secretum secretorum, he described a variety of new tools for melting substances and the preparation of drugs.[45] He also classified the natural chemical substances that were discovered by him and his Muslim predecessors (Calid, Geber and al-Kindi), including a variety of derivative and artificial substances.[46]
Abbas Ibn Firnas reportedly successfully employed an ornithopter for manned flight.[28]
c. 880
Al-Dinawari, the founder of Arabic botany, writes the Book of Plants, which describes at least 637 plants; it discusses the phases of plant growth and the production of flowers and fruit.
c. 880
Thabit Ibn Qurra discovers the theorem by which pairs of amicable numbers can be found; i.e., two numbers such that each is the sum of the proper divisors of the other.[35]

10th century

c. 900
The first public library and lending library are built in the Islamic world.[47] The library catalog is also invented in Islamic libraries.[48]
Muslim engineers invented a variety of surveying instruments for accurate levelling, including a wooden board with a plumb line and two hooks, an equilateral triangle with a plumb line and two hooks, and a "reed level". They also invented a rotating alhidade used for accurate alignment, and a surveying astrolabe used for alignment, measuring angles, triangulation, finding the width of a river, and the distance between two points separated by an impassable obstruction.[49]
Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi (Rhazes), in his Doubts about Galen, was the first to prove both Aristotle's theory of classical elements and Galen's theory of humorism wrong using an experimental method.[50] He also accurately described the chemical processes of calcination,[51][45] solution, sublimation, amalgamation, ceration, and a method of converting a substance into a thick paste or fusible solid.[45]
The first reference to an "observation tube" is found in the work of Al-Battani, and the first exact description of the observation tube was given by al-Biruni, in a section of his work that is "dedicated to verifying the presence of the new crescent on the horizon." Though these early observation tubes did not have lenses, they "enabled an observer to focus on a part of the sky by eliminating light interference." These observation tubes were later adopted in Latin-speaking Europe, where they influenced the development of the telescope.[52]
c. 900
The first wind powered gristmills and sugar refineries appear in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.[53] The first geared gristmills[54] and the on/off switch are also invented by Muslim engineers.[55] Other inventions from the Islamic world include the paned window, street lamp,[56] mercury escapement mechanism, bridge dam and milling dam in Iran,[57][58] and diversion dam in Iraq.[57]
Muslim astronomers invent the almucantar quadrant,[59] navigational astrolabe,[60] and vertical sundial.[61]
c. 925
Kerosene was produced from the distillation of petroleum and was first described by al-Razi in Baghdad. He also described the first kerosene lamps (naffatah) used for heating and lighting in his Kitab al-Asrar (Book of Secrets).[62]
c. 930
The cartographic grid is invented in Baghdad,[63] and graph paper is also invented in the Islamic world.[64][65][66]
The earliest historical record of a reservoir fountain pen dates back to 953, when Ma'ād al-Mu'izz, the caliph of Egypt, demanded a pen which would not stain his hands or clothes, and was provided with a pen which held ink in a reservoir and delivered it to the nib via gravity and capillary action, as recorded by Qadi al-Nu'man al-Tamimi (d. 974) in his Kitdb al-Majalis wa'l-musayardt.[67][68]
c. 953
Al-Karaji defined various monomials and gave rules for the products of any two of them.[35] He also discovered the binomial theorem for integer exponents.[35]
Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi writes the Book of Fixed Stars, a star catalogue thoroughly illustrated with observations and descriptions of the stars, their positions, their apparent magnitudes and their colour. He identified the Large Magellanic Cloud, which is visible from Yemen, though not from Isfahan; it was not seen by Europeans until Magellan's voyage in the 16th century. [69][70] He also made earliest recorded observation of the Andromeda Galaxy in 964 AD; describing it as a "small cloud".[71]
Al-Uqlidisi modifies arithmetic methods for the Indian numeral system to make it possible for pen and paper use. Until then, doing calculations with the Indian numerals necessitated the use of a dust board as noted earlier.
c 980
Ibn al-Haytham is the first to state Wilson's theorem.[35]
Abu-Mahmud al-Khujandi constructs the first astronomical sextant in Ray, Iran.
The geared mechanical astrolabe, featuring eight gear-wheels, is invented by Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī.[72]

11th century

c. 1000
Ammar ibn Ali of Mosul writes the Choice of Eye Diseases, a landmark text on ophthalmology in medieval Islam. In cataract surgery, He attempted the earliest extraction of cataracts using suction. He invented a hollow metallic syringe hypodermic needle, which he applied through the sclerotic and successfully extracted the cataracts through suction.[73][74]
c. 1000
Abu Sahl al-Quhi discovers that the heaviness of bodies vary with their distance from the center of the Earth, and solves equations higher than the second degree.
c. 1000
Al-Karaji writes a book containing the first known proofs by mathematical induction. He who used it to prove the binomial theorem, Pascal's triangle, and the sum of integral cubes.[75]
c. 1000
Clear glass mirrors produced in al-Andalus.[9]
c. 1000
Cobwork (tabya) first appears in the Maghreb and al-Andalus.[76]
c. 1000
In Al-Andalus, Ibn Khalaf al-Muradi invents complex gearing, Epicyclic gearing, segmental gearing, and the geared mechanical clock. Muslim engineers also invent the Weight-driven mechanical clock.[37]
Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi publishes his 30-volume medical encyclopedia, the Al-Tasrif, which remains a standard textbook in Muslim and European universities until the 16th century. The book first introduced many surgical instruments, including the first instruments unique to women[77] and a variety of other instruments.[78][79][14] He also invented the plaster[80] cotton dressing,[81] oral anaesthesia, inhalational anaesthetic, and anaesthetic sponge.[82]
c. 1010
Al-Sijzi invents the Zuraqi, a unique astrolabe designed for a heliocentric planetary model in which the Earth is moving rather than the sky.[83]
c. 1010
Abū al-Rayhān al-Bīrūnī hypothesized that India was once covered by the Indian Ocean while observing rock formations at the mouths of rivers,[84] introduced techniques to measure the Earth and distances on it using triangulation, and measured the radius of the Earth as 6339.6 km, the most accurate up until the 16th century.[85]
In Afghanistan, Abū al-Rayhān al-Bīrūnī observed and described the solar eclipse on April 8, 1019, and the lunar eclipse on September 17, 1019, in detail, and gave the exact locations of the stars during the lunar eclipse. He also invents the Orthographical astrolabe[86] and planisphere.[86][87] He also invents a geared mechanical lunisolar calendar analog computer with a gear train and eight gear-wheels.[85][88]
c. 1020
Avicenna invents the chemical process of steam distillation and uses it extract fragrances and essential oils.[89] He also invents an air thermometer for use in his laboratory experiments.[90] He also develops the concept of momentum, when he referred to impetus as being proportional to weight times velocity, a precursor to the concept of momentum in Newton's second law of motion. His theory of motion was also consistent with the concept of inertia in Newton's first law of motion.[91]
The geared mechanical astrolabe is perfected by Ibn Samh in Al-Andalus. These can be considered as an ancestor of the mechanical clock.[92]
Alhazen, a Muslim physicist considered the father of optics and pioneer of scientific method,[93] completes Book of Optics.[94] It correctly explains light and vision, and introduces experimental scientific method, laying the foundations for experimental physics. It correctly explains and proves intromission theory of vision and describes experiments on various optical phenomena.[95][96] It also discusses experimental psychology[97][98] and describes various optical instruments[99][100] such as camera obscura.[101]
c. 1021
Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī, and later al-Khazini, were the first to apply experimental scientific methods to mechanics, especially the fields of statics and dynamics, particularly for determining specific weights, such as those based on the theory of balances and weighing. These Muslim physicists unified statics and dynamics into the science of mechanics, and they combined the fields of hydrostatics with dynamics to give birth to hydrodynamics.[102]
Avicenna publishes his 14-volume encyclopedia, The Canon of Medicine, which remains a standard text at European universities until the 17th century. Its contributions include introduction of systematic experimentation and quantification,[103] discovery of contagious disease,[104] and introduction of experimental medicine,[105] clinical trials,[106][107][108][109][110] and clinical pharmacology.[111] It also discusses neuropsychiatry,[112] the idea of a syndrome,[113] and early cancer therapy.[114][115][116]
Avicenna (Ibn Sina) writes one of the first scientific encyclopedias, The Book of Healing. Its contributions include nine volumes on Avicennian logic; eight on the natural sciences; four on the quadrivium of arithmetic, astronomy, geometry and music; a number of volumes on early Islamic philosophy, Islamic mathematics, metaphysics and psychology;[117] the astronomical theory that Venus is closer to Earth than the Sun; and a geological hypothesis on two causes of mountains.[118]
Abū Ishāq Ibrāhīm al-Zarqālī is born. He invents the "Saphaea", the first universal latitude-independent astrolabe which did not depend on the latitude of the observer and could be used anywhere. He also invents the equatorium, a mechanical analog computer device,[119] and he discovers that the orbits of the planets are ellipses and not circles.[120]
The purification process for potassium nitrate (saltpetre; natrun or barud in Arabic) was first described by the Muslim chemist Ibn Bakhtawayh in his Al-Muqaddimat.[121]
c. 1030
Avicenna "observed that if the perception of light is due to the emission of some sort of particles by a luminous source, the speed of light must be finite."[122] He also provided a sophisticated explanation for the rainbow phenomenon.[123]
c. 1030
Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī stated that light has a finite speed, and he was the first to theorize that the speed of light is much faster than the speed of sound.[85]
Abū al-Rayhān al-Bīrūnī discussed the Indian planetary theories of Aryabhata, Brahmagupta and Varahamihira in his Ta'rikh al-Hind (Latinized as Indica). Biruni stated that Brahmagupta and others consider that the earth rotates on its axis and Biruni noted that this does not create any mathematical problems.[124]
c. 1030
Al-Biruni agreed with the Earth's rotation about its own axis, and while he was initially neutral regarding the heliocentric and geocentric models,[125] he considered heliocentrism to be a philosophical problem.[126]
Abū al-Rayhān al-Bīrūnī completes his extensive astronomical encyclopaedia Canon Mas’udicus,[127] in which he records his astronomical findings and formulates astronomical tables. It presents a geocentric model, tabulating the distance of all the celestial spheres from the central Earth.[128]
c. 1037
Alhazen discusses the theory of attraction between masses, and it seems that he was aware of the magnitude of acceleration due to gravity. He also discovered the law of inertia, known as Newton's first law of motion, when he stated that a body moves perpetually unless an external force stops it or changes its direction of motion.[129] He insisted these physical laws apply to heavenly bodies as well[130]. He outlines an alternative to the Ptolemaic model in The Model of the Motions of the Planets. His reform excluded cosmology, as he developed a systematic study of celestial kinematics that was completely geometric.[131]
Ibn Bassal invents the flywheel in al-Andalus, and he first employs it in a Noria and a Saqiya chain pump.[132]
Abū Ishāq Ibrāhīm al-Zarqālī publishes the Almanac of Azarqueil, the first almanac. A Latin translation and adaptation of the work appeared as the Tables of Toledo in the 12th century and the Alfonsine tables in the 13th century.[133][134]
Omar Khayyám, a mathematician and poet, "gave a complete classification of cubic equations with geometric solutions found by means of intersecting conic sections. Khayyam also wrote that he hoped to give a full description of the algebraic solution of cubic equations in a later work.[35]
An early university, the Al-Nizamiyya of Baghdad, was founded, and is considered the "largest university of the Medieval world".[135]

12th century

c. 1100
The ventilator is invented in Egypt.[136] The bridge mill, hydropowered forge and finery forge are also invented in Al-Andalus.[53] The war machine is also invented in Turkey.[137]
The astrolabic quadrant is invented in Egypt.[138]
The Seljuqs had facilities in Sivas for manufacturing war machines.[137]


Ibn Bajjah is the first to state that there is always a reaction force for every force exerted, a precursor to Gottfried Leibniz's idea of force which underlies Newton's third law of motion.[139] His theory of motion later has an important influence on later physicists like Galileo Galilei.[140]
Jabir ibn Aflah (Geber) invents the torquetum, an observational instrument and mechanical analog computer device used to transform between spherical coordinate systems.[141]
Ibn Zuhr invents surgical procedure of tracheotomy[142] and supports human dissection and autopsy. A pioneer in parasitology, he proves that scabies, a skin disease, is caused by a parasite, thus disproving humorism theory.[143][144] He also finds causes of stridor[145] and develops inhalant anesthesia.[82] In The Method of Preparing Medicines and Diet, he describes first parenteral nutrition of humans with silver needle. He also writes early pharmacopoeia, later the first printed Arabic book in 1491.[146]
Hibat Allah Abu'l-Barakat al-Baghdaadi writes a critique of Aristotelian philosophy and Aristotelian physics entitled al-Mu'tabar. He is the first to negate Aristotle's idea that a constant force produces uniform motion, as he realizes that a force applied continuously produces acceleration, which is considered "the fundamental law of classical mechanics" and an early foreshadowing of Newton's second law of motion.[147] Like Newton, he described acceleration as the rate of change of velocity.[148]
Muhammad al-Idrisi produced a world map and the first known globe. His Tabula Rogeriana was the most accurate world map in his time and was used extensively for several centuries through to the explorations during the European Age of Discovery.[149]
Damascus becomes a center for innovative Islamic pottery and ceramics.[150]
Ibn Tufail and Al-Betrugi are the first to propose planetary models without any equant, epicycles or eccentrics. Al-Betrugi was also the first to discover that the planets are self-luminous.[151]
Ibn Tufayl is born. He writes Hayy ibn Yaqzan, a philosophical novel[152][153] which has a strong influence on the Scientific Revolution.[153]
Al-Khazini writes the Sinjaric Tables, in which he gave a description of his construction of a 24 hour water clock designed for astronomical purposes, an early example of an astronomical clock, and the positions of 46 stars computed for the year 500 AH (1115-1116 CE). He also computed tables for the observation of celestial bodies at the latitude of Merv.[154][155] The Sinjaric Tables was later translated into Greek by Gregory Choniades in the 13th century and was studied in the Byzantine Empire.[156]
c. 1120
Al-Khazini's Treatise on Instruments has seven parts describing different scientific instruments: the triquetrum, dioptra, a triangular instrument he invented, the quadrant and sextant, the astrolabe, and original instruments involving reflection.[157] He also wrote another work on evolution in chemistry and biology, and how they were perceived by natural philosophers and common people in the Islamic world at the time. He wrote that there were many Muslims who believed that humans evolved from apes.[158]
Al-Khazini publishes The Book of the Balance of Wisdom, in which he proposes that gravity and gravitational potential energy vary depending on distance from centre of Earth. He also differentiates between force, mass and weight.[159] He also invents several scientific instruments, including steelyard and hydrostatic balance.[160] He also introduces experimental scientific methods to statics and dynamics, unifies them into science of mechanics, and combines hydrostatics with dynamics to create hydrodynamics.[161]
Averroes is born. He is the first to define and measure force as "the rate at which work is done in changing the kinetic condition of a material body"[162] and the first to correctly argue "that the effect and measure of force is change in the kinetic condition of a materially resistant mass."[163] In Islamic astronomy, he rejects the eccentric deferents introduced by Ptolemy, thus rejecting the Ptolemaic model in favour of a strictly concentric model of the universe.[164]

Sharafeddin Tusi is born. He follows Omar Khayyam's application of algebra to geometry, rather than follow the general development that came through al-Karaji's school of algebra. He wrote a treatise on cubic equations which "represents an essential contribution to another algebra which aimed to study curves by means of equations, thus inaugurating the beginning of algebraic geometry."[35][165] He also invents the linear astrolabe (staff of al-Tusi).[166]
The use of homing pigeons is introduced in Iraq and Syria.[167]
Al-Kaysarani invents the striking clock in Syria.[168]
Mardi bin Ali al-Tarsusi invents the counterweight trebuchet[169][170] and the mangonel.[171]

13th century

Al-Jazari publishes The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices, in which he authors fifty inventions, including mechanical clocks,[39] the elephant clock, camshaft,[172] crankshaft,[173] suction pipe, reciprocating piston motion,[174] programmable humanoid robot[175] and castle clock, automatic gate,[176] paper models, sand casting,[39] crank-driven chain pump,[177] water-powered saqiya chain pump,[178] and water-powered astronomical clocks.[179][180]
Ibn al-Nafis is born. He writes Commentary on Compound Drugs, a commentary on Avicenna's The Canon of Medicine concerning pharmacopoeia. It contains criticisms of Galen's doctrines on the heart and the blood vessels, and was later translated into Latin by Andrea Alpago of Belluno (d. 1520). A printed version of his translation was available in Venice from 1547.[181]
Medieval French reports suggest that Muslim armies used explosives against the Sixth Crusade army led by Ludwig IV, Landgrave of Thuringia in the 13th century.[137]
A geared mechanical astrolabe with an analog computer calendar is invented by Abi Bakr of Isfahan.[182] His geared astrolabe uses a set of gear-wheels and is the oldest surviving complete mechanical geared machine in existence.[183][184]
Ibn al-Nafis, an Arab physician considered one of the greatest physiologists,[185] publishes another commentary on Avicenna's The Canon of Medicine called the Commentary on Anatomy in Avicenna's Canon, in which he discovers the pulmonary circulation and coronary circulation.[186][187] He was also an early proponent of experimental medicine, postmortem autopsy and human dissection,[188] and discredited erroneous Avicennian and Galenic doctrines on the humorism and various parts of the human body.[189]
Ibn al-Nafis completes first 43 volumes of medical encyclopedia, The Comprehensive Book on Medicine. One volume is dedicated to surgery, describing "general and absolute principles of surgery" and various surgical instruments, examines surgical operations, and is earliest to deal with decubitus of patient.[190] Another section is dedicated to urology, including issues of sexual dysfunction and erectile dysfunction, for which it prescribes clinically tested drugs as medication.[191]
The sack of Baghdad results in the destruction of Baghdad along with all its libraries, including the House of Wisdom. Survivors said that the waters of the Tigris ran black with ink from the enormous quantities of books flung into the river.
The Maragheh observatory is founded by Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī at the patronage of Hulagu Khan. It was the first example of the observatory as a research institute (as opposed to an ancient observation post).[192]
The first portable hand cannons (midfa) loaded with explosive gunpowder, the first example of a handgun and portable firearm, were used by the Egyptians to repel the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut. The cannons had an explosive gunpowder composition almost identical to the ideal compositions for modern explosive gunpowder. They were also the first to use dissolved talc for fire protection, and they wore fireproof clothing, to which Gunpowder cartridges were attached.[121]
The first complete purification process for potassium nitrate is described in 1270 by the Arab chemist and engineer Hasan al-Rammah of Syria in The Book of Military Horsemanship and Ingenious War Devices.[121][193] He also states recipes for fireworks and firecrackers.[51][121]
Famous psychiatric hospitals are built by Muslim physicians in Damascus and Aleppo.[8]
c. 1272
Ballistic weapons were manufactured in the Muslim world since the time of Kublai Khan. According to Chinese sources, two Muslim engineers, Alaaddin and Ismail (d. 1330), built machines of a ballistic-weapons nature before the besieged city of Hang-show between 1271-1273.[137]
The first use of cannons as siege machine at the siege of Sijilmasa in 1274, according to 14th-century historian Ibn Khaldun.
Ibn al-Nafis completes Theologus Autodidactus, the first science fiction novel, where he expresses many themes on biology, physiology, cosmology, futurology, geology, natural philosophy, psychology, and sociology. The book also contains the earliest medical description on metabolism.[194]
The largest hospital of the Middle Ages and pre-modern era is built in Cairo, Egypt, by Sultan Qalaun al-Mansur. Treatment was given for free to patients of all backgrounds, regardless of gender, ethnicity or income.[195]
Ibn al-Nafis writes down notes for upcoming volumes of his medical encyclopedia, The Comprehensive Book on Medicine, adding up to a total of 300 volumes in length, though he is only able to publish 80 volumes before he dies in 1288.[196] It is one of the largest known medical encyclopedias, and was much larger than the more famous The Canon of Medicine by Avicenna. However, only several volumes of The Comprehensive Book on Medicine have survived in modern times.[197]
c. 1296
The first astronomical uses of the magnetic compass is found in a treatise on astronomical instruments written by the Yemeni sultan al-Ashraf (d. 1296).

14th century

c. 1300
When the Black Death bubonic plague reached al-Andalus, Ibn Khatima discovered that infectious diseases are caused by microorganisms which enter the human body.[198]
The spherical astrolabe is invented in the Middle East. Ibn al-Shatir also invents the astrolabic clock in Syria,[199] and he also invents the compass dial, a timekeeping device incorporating both a universal sundial and a magnetic compass, which he invented for the purpose of finding the times of Salah prayers.[200]
Ibn Battuta is born. A world traveler, he travels along a 75,000 mile voyage from Morocco to China and back. These journeys covered much of the Old World, extending across much of Eurasia and Africa, a distance readily surpassing that of his predecessors and his near-contemporary Marco Polo.[201]
Ibn al-Shatir, a Muslim astronomer from Damascus, is born. In A Final Inquiry Concerning the Rectification of Planetary Theory, he incorporates the Urdi lemma and eliminates the need for an equant by introducing the Tusi-couple, departing from the Ptolemaic system. It was superior to the Ptolemaic model in terms of its better agreement with empirical observations.[202][203] Ibn al-Shatir's model laid the foundations for the heliocentric Copernican model.[204][205]
The physician Ibn al-Khatib of Al-Andalus is born. He writes a treatise called On the Plague, in which he stated: "The existence of contagion is established by experience, investigation, the evidence of the senses and trustworthy reports."[198]
The idea of a sundial using hours of equal length throughout the year was the innovation of Ibn al-Shatir, based on earlier developments in trigonometry by Muhammad ibn Jābir al-Harrānī al-Battānī. Ibn al-Shatir was aware that "using a gnomon that is parallel to the Earth's axis will produce sundials whose hour lines indicate equal hours on any day of the year." His sundial is the oldest polar-axis sundial still in existence. The concept later appeared in Western sundials from at least 1446.[206][207]
c. 1377
Ibn Khaldun writes the Muqaddimah. It introduces a variety of concepts, including social philosophy, social conflict, Asabiyyah, social capital, social networks, corporate social responsibility, economic growth,[208] macroeconomics, human capital development,[209] and the Laffer curve.[210] It also contributes to biology and chemistry, describing biological theory of evolution based on empirical evidence[211].
Al-Kashi contributed to the development of decimal fractions not only for approximating algebraic numbers, but also for real numbers such as pi.[35]

15th century

More than one million volumes of Muslim works on science, arts, philosophy and culture were burnt in the public square of Vivarrambla in Granada.[212]
Al-Kashi invents an analog computer instrument used to determine the time of day at which planetary conjunctions will occur,[213] and for performing linear interpolation.[214] He also invents a mechanical planetary computer, the Plate of Zones, which could graphically solve a number of planetary problems, in addition to problems related to the Sun and Moon.[214][215][216]
Ali al-Qushji finds empirical evidence for the Earth's rotation through his observation ofcomets[217][218][219]
c. 1420
Jamshīd al-Kāshī computed and observed the solar eclipses of 809 AH, 810 AH and 811 AH. He also is the first to use the decimal point notation in arithmetic and Arabic numerals.[220]
Jamshīd al-Kāshī publishes his Treatise on the Circumference giving an accurate approximation to pi in both sexagesimal and decimal forms, computing pi to 8 sexagesimal places and 16 decimal places.[220]
Al-Kashi completes The Key to Arithmetic containing work of great depth on decimal fractions.[220]
Ulugh Beg publishes his star catalogue, the Zij-i-Sultani.[220]
Tabriz becomes a center for innovative Islamic pottery and ceramics.[150]

16th century

The city of Shibam is built in Yemen. This city is regarded as the "Manhattan of the desert", and the earliest example of urban planning based on the principle of vertical construction. Shibam was made up of over 500 tower houses,[221] rising up to 16 storeys high.[222] The city has the world's tallest mudbrick buildings, with some of them being over 130 ft high,[223] thus making them some of the first high-rise apartment buildings and tower blocks.[224]
Al-Birjandi continues the debate on the Earth's rotation after Ali al-Qushji. In his analysis of what might occur if the Earth were rotating, he develops a hypothesis similar to Galileo Galilei's notion of "circular inertia",[225] which he described in an observational test as a response to one of Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi's arguments.[226]
Shams al-Din al-Khafri, the last major astronomer of the hay'a tradition, was the first to realize that "all mathematical modeling had no physical truth by itself and was simply another language with which one could describe the physical observed reality."[227]
The mathematician Mohammed Baqir Yazdi discovered the pair of amicable numbers 9,363,584 and 9,437,056,[228] long before Euler's contribution to amicable numbers.[229]
Taqi al-Din invents an early practical steam turbine as a prime mover for the first steam-powered and self-rotating spit and smoke jack. He first described it in his book, The Sublime Methods of Spiritual Machines.[174]
c. 1556
Taqi al-Din publishes The Brightest Stars for the Construction of Mechanical Clocks, which describes the first mechanical alarm clock, first spring-powered astronomical clock, and first clock and mechanical watch to first measure time in minutes.[230]
Taqi al-Din invents a 'Monobloc' pump with a six cylinder engine. It was a hydropowered water-raising machine incorporating valves, suction and delivery pipes, piston rods with lead weights, trip levers with pin joints, and cams on the axle of a water-driven scoop-wheel.[231]
Taqi al-Din builds the Istanbul observatory of al-Din, the largest astronomical observatory in its time, with the patronage of the Ottoman Sultan Murad III.
c. 1578
Taqi al-Din, at the Istanbul observatory of al-Din, carries out astronomical observations. He produces a zij (titled Unbored Pearl) and astronomical catalogues more accurate than those of Tycho Brahe and Nicolaus Copernicus. Al-Din is able to achieve this with his invention of the "observational clock", a mechanical astronomical clock that can measure time in seconds.[232][233] He also employs a decimal point notation in his observations rather than sexagesimal fractions.[232]
The first prefabricated homes and movable structure are invented by Akbar the Great.[234]
The Istanbul observatory of al-Din is closed down and destroyed on the orders of Sultan Murad III.
Fathullah Shirazi, a Persian-Indian inventes the autocannon, the earliest multi-shot machine gun. His rapid-firing gun had multiple gun barrels that fired hand cannons loaded with gunpowder.[235] Another cannon-related machine he created could clean sixteen gun barrels simultaneously, and was operated by a cow. He also invents a corn-griding carriage, which can be used to transport passengers and for grinding corn.[236]

17th century

File:Sail plan xebec.svg

Sail plan for a polacca-xebec, first built by the Barbary pirates around the 16th and 17th centuries.

c. 1600
The Xebec and Polacca sailing ships are used around the Mediterranean Sea. They originated from the Barbary pirates, who successfully used them for naval warfare against European ships at the time. A combination of the fore and aft sails and aerodynamics, along with the improved square sail on the Polacca, allowed these ships to sail much closer to the wind than European and American ships.[237]
Cartographic Qibla indicators were brass instruments with Mecca-centred world maps and cartographic grids engraved on them. They were invented in 17th-century Iran.[63] The cartographic Qibla indicator with sundial and compass was a Qibla instrument with a sundial and compass attached to it,[238] and was invented by Muhammad Husayn in the 17th century.[239]
c. 1659
A seamless celestial globe is produced using a lost-wax casting method in the Mughal Empire in 1070 AH (1659-1960 CE) by Muhammad Salih Tahtawi with Arabic and Sanskrit inscriptions. Twenty other such globes were produced in Lahore and Kashmir during the Mughal Empire. It is considered a major feat in metallurgy.[240][241]

18th century

File:Tipu Sultan BL.jpg

Tipu Sultan invented the first iron-cased and metal-cylinder rocket artillery in Mysore, India, alongside his father Hyder Ali, in the 1780s.

The Ottoman dockyard architect Ibrahim Efendi invented a submarine called the tahtelbahir. The Ottoman writer Seyyid Vehbi, in his Surname-i-Humayun, compared this submarine to an alligator.[137]
c. 1790
Tipu, Sultan of Mysore (r. 1783-1799) in the south of India, an experimenter with war rockets, invents iron-cased and metal-cylinder rocket artillery. He successfully uses them against British East India Company forces during Anglo-Mysore Wars. They influence British rocket development, leading to production of Congreve rockets, soon put to use in Napoleonic Wars.[242][243]

19th century

Introduction of European science to the Islamic world.

20th century


Behçet's disease, strongly associated with HLA-B51, was discovered by Hulusi Behçet in 1924.


Compounds from the Neem tree were first extracted by Salimuzzaman Siddiqui in the 20th century.

Behçet's disease is named after Hulusi Behçet, the Turkish dermatologist and scientist who first recognized the syndrome in one of his patients in 1924 and reported his research on the disease in Journal of Skin and Venereal Diseases in 1936.[244][245]
c. 1931
Salimuzzaman Siddiqui was a leading Pakistani scientist in natural products chemistry. He is the pioneer in extracting chemical compounds from the Neem and Rauwolfia, and is also known for isolating novel chemical compounds from various other flora in the Indian subcontinent.[246]
Iranian physician and engineer Toffy Musivand is born. He develops an artificial cardiac pump a patient care simulation centre, in situ sterilization, and a variety of other medical devices.[247]
Iranian physicist Ali Javan co-invents the gas laser.
Abdus Salam, Wess and Zumino were the first to successfully apply supersymmetry to particle physics. The W and Z bosons were also postulated by Salam, whose electroweak interaction theory postulated the W bosons necessary to explain beta decay and a new Z boson that had never been observed before. The W and Z particles were later confirmed during an experiment at CERN.
The weak neutral current was proposed by Abdus Salam, alongside Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg, for which they were awarded the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics after it was confirmed in a 1974 neutrino experiment in the Gargamelle bubble chamber at CERN.[248]
A new structural system of framed tubes appeared in skyscraper design and construction, pioneered by the Bangladeshi engineer Fazlur Khan.[249] The first building to apply it was the DeWitt-Chestnut apartment building which he designed and was completed in Chicago in 1963. It introduced the framed tube structure later used in the construction of the World Trade Center.[250][251]
The magnetic photon was predicted in 1966 by Nobel laureate Abdus Salam.[252]
Bangladeshi engineer Fazlur Khan designs and constructs John Hancock Center.[253] His major innovation in skyscraper design and construction for the building are the concepts of trussed tube and X-bracing,[250][254] making it more efficient than earlier buildings.[251] It also introduced first sky lobby.[255][254][255]
Iranian scientist Samuel Rahbar discovered glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C), a form of hemoglobin used primarily to identify plasma glucose concentration over time. He was also the first to describe its increase in diabetes.[256]
Abdus Salam and Steven Weinberg were the first to apply the Higgs mechanism to the electroweak symmetry breaking.
Fazlur Khan designs and oversees the construction of the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower).[253] It featured one of his most important variations of the tube structure concept, the bundled tube, which he also used for the One Magnificent Mile.[254][257] Standing at 527.3 metres tall, the Sears Tower remained the world's tallest building up until the Burj Dubai, currently under construction in Dubai, surpassed its height as the world's tallest building.[258]
Supergeometry is the geometric basis for supersymmetry, and was discovered by Abdus Salam in 1974.[259] The theory of supermanifolds was also first proposed in 1974 by Abdus Salam as a geometrical framework for understanding supersymmetry.[260] The notion of superspace was also introduced in 1974 by Abdus Salam, and he also introduced the concept of superfield, a scalar field on superspace.[261]
The Pati-Salam model, a mainstream Grand Unification Theory, was proposed by Abdus Salam in collaboration with Jogesh Pati.[262] The preons, "point-like" particles, were also conceived to be subcomponents of quarks and leptons. The development a pre-quark substructure dates back to 1974 with a paper in Physical Review by Salam and Pati, who both coined the term "preon".
Abdus Salam won a Nobel Prize for his work on the Electroweak theory.
The Brain boot sector virus was released in January 1986. Brain was the first PC virus, and the program responsible for the first PC virus epidemic. The virus is also known as Lahore, Pakistani, Pakistani Brain, and Pakistani flu, as it was created in LahorePakistan by 19 year-old Pakistani programmer, Basit Farooq Alvi, and his brother, Amjad Farooq Alvi.[263] They included their names, phone number and address in the code.[264][265]
The light harp, a variation of the laser harp, is an electronic musical instrument that plays music without any physical contact, or without even any lasers showing, but the music is played by the musician moving their arms or legs through the air above certain areas of the device. It was invented by martial artistist and musician, Assaf Gurner, who publically presented his invention in 1993. It was also the basis for the Sega Activator, the first full-body motion controller for video games.[266][267]
The first Web-based auction sites appeared in 1995 with Onsale and eBay, founded by Iranian American computer programmer Pierre Omidyar. These were the first to take advantage of the technologies offered by the Web, including the use of automated bids entered through electronic forms, and search engines and clickable categories to allow bidders to locate their items of interest.[268]
VideoLogic (now Imagination Technologies), founded by Iranian computer engineer Hossein Yassaie, released the PowerVR graphics accelerator card in 1996. It was the first GPU (graphics processing unit) graphics accelerator card to introduce near arcade quality 3D graphics to a home system, demonstrated by a port of arcade game Rave Racer (1995) in early 1996.
Hossein Yassaie's VideoLogic releases the PowerVR2 GPU (graphics processing unit) chipset as part of Sega's Dreamcast game console. It was the first GPU chipset that was capable of producing true arcade quality 3D graphics on a home system, with the Sega Naomi arcade system also using the same PowerVR2 graphics chipset. One of the 3D graphical techniques it introduced is hidden surface removal.

21st century

File:Pabellón-Puente Zaragoza.jpg

Bridge Pavilion, constructed by Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid.

Real-time online anti-fraud system pioneered by Bangladeshi-American computer scientist Jawed Karim for PayPal.[18] This is the first commercial e-commerce payment system, and remains the most popular.
Fear Effect (2000), programmed by Mohammad Asaduzzaman, is often considered to be the first video game to feature real-time, cel-shaded 3D graphics.
In electrochemistry, Iranian scientist Ali Eftekhari[269] is regarded as a founder of electrochemical nanotechnology,[270] particularly for his development of carbon nanotubes, and for developing a method for its mass production.[271][272] Eftekhari also carries out scientific research on the field of fractal geometry, pioneering the concept of fractal electrochemistry.[273][274][275][276][277]
Iranian physicist Mehran Kardar is awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship prize for his development of the Kardar-Parisi-Zhang (KPZ) equation in theoretical physics.
Mobile GPU (graphics processing unit) pioneered by Iranian engineer Hossein Yassaie, with the PowerVR MBX graphics chipset. This later becomes the basis for the video technology of the iPhone, paving the way for the smartphone revolution.
Anouseh and Amir Ansari set up the Ansari X Prize to encourage private spaceflight research.
Bangladeshi-American computer scientist Jawed Karim pioneers the idea of a video hosting service with a web browser-embedded video player and co-founded YouTube as a result.[278] The YouTube video hosting service constitutes a social networking website on which practically any individual or organization with Internet access can upload videos that can be seen almost immediately by wide audiences. As the world's largest video platform, YouTube has had impact in many fields, which includes having directly shaped world events, social culture, journalism, engagement between people and institutions, personal expression, advertising and marketing, and reaching wider audiences.
Electrochemical reaction is a concept developed by Ali Eftekhari, who shows that processes can be considered as fractals. This mathematical factor can be used for the improvement of electrochemical reactions, e.g. in fuel cells.[279] He also carried out scientific research on the field of fractal geometry and applied it to different aspects of science, thus pioneering the concept of fractal electrochemistry.[280][281][282][283][284] He was also the first to utilize fractal geometry in the analysis of texts.[285]
The non-glaring headlamp, a headlamp with a continuous long-distance illumination without glaring effects, is invented in Turkey by Prof. Dr. Turhan Alçelik, and wins the silver medal at the IENA Invention Fair at Nuremberg,[286] and the technical jury's first prize at the 34th International Exhibition Of Invention, New Techniques And Products, at Geneva.[287]
E-learning micro-lecture pioneered by Bangladeshi-American educator Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy.
Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, who is both an astronaut and an orthopedic surgeon, performs biomedical research in space. His medical experiments aboard the ISS were mainly related to the characteristics and growth of liver cancer and leukemia cells, and the crystallisation of various proteins and microbes in space.[288] The experiments relating to liver cancer, leukemia cells and microbes will benefit general science and medical research.[289]
"Vertically rising ladder" invented in Turkey by Murat Nural and wins the gold medal at the IENA Invention Fair at Nuremberg. It is designed to climb high points and facilitate suspending there. The user who inserts his/her feet on the movable climbers moves his/her feet backward and forward and climbs upward on the steps. When the user wants to suspend, he/she fixes the climber on the step. The same procedure is followed reversely while getting down.[290]
Photorealistic real-time 3D graphics pioneered by Turkish brothers Cevat YerliFaruk Yerli and Avni Yerli) at Crytek for the video game Crysis. The Yerli brothers and Crytek remain the world-leaders in photorealistic real-time 3D graphics technology, as of 2014.
The Burj Khalifa in Dubai surpasses the Sears Tower (previously constructed by Fazlur Khan) as the world's tallest building.[291]
The Samsung Galaxy Tab, the first tablet phone, was developed by Samsung's chief technology officer Omar Khan and released in 2010. [7]
Infrared laser cane walking stick invented by 14 year-old Asil Abu Lil and two of her classmates in Palestine[8]
Plastic biofuel invented by 16 year-old girl Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad in Egypt[9]
Quantum spacecraft propulsion design pioneered by 19 year-old Aisha Mustafa in Egypt. [10]
MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) coronavirus first confirmed and reported in a hospital in Amman, Jordan, among health care workers and nursing staff in April 2012, where the cases were determined to be H2H transmission. Later a 60-year-old male patient with acute pneumonia and acute renal failure, who passed away in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 24 June 2012.[292] Egyptian virologist Dr. Ali Mohamed Zaki isolated and identified a previously unknown coronavirus from the man's lungs.[293][294][295] Dr. Zaki then posted his findings on 24 September 2012 on ProMED-mail.[294][296][296]
Banana bioplastic invented by 16 year-old girl Elif Bilgin in Turkey[11]
Electric double-layer supercapacitor invented by 18 year-old Indian-American student Eesha Khare[12] This is the basis for her invention of the rapid battery charger. [13]

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  • Donald Routledge Hill and Ahmad Y Hassan (1986), Islamic technology - an illustrated history, ISBN 0 521 263336.
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  • Razavi, Mehdi Amin (1997), Suhrawardi and the School of Illumination, Routledge, ISBN 0700704124

External links