Friday, December 23, 2005

Inventing zero was kind of cool, but what have you done lately?

Saudi physician Faisal Sanai writes of "The Arab Drift Into Scientific Obscurity" in the Arab News:
While the rest of the world’s scientific community has climbed to dizzying heights, Arab contribution to civilization has fallen into oblivion.... For far too long we have rested on the laurels of past achievements. The Arab contribution to civilization is perpetually held hostage by thousand-year old achievements like the innovation of algebra by Al-Khwarizmi; the articulation of the Canon of Medicine by Ibn Sina; the extensive study in astronomy by Al-Farghani, or by the mathematical and astronomical genius of Omar Al-Khayyam. And since then our contribution to science has decayed and produced almost next to nothing.
Why the drop-off? Dr. Sanai says Islam is not the problem.

(And yes, I'm aware-- though not as aware as the guy who wrote this book--that there is some dispute over who really invented zero, but the concept did apparently come to Europe via the Arabs.)

(Via Ocean Guy.)