The Middle East’s Enduring Legacy: Top Inventions and Scientific Discoveries

The Middle East’s Enduring Legacy: Top Inventions and Scientific Discoveries

When we think about scientific discoveries and inventions, we first think about Europe and the USA. But the average person might not know that the Middle East has long been a cradle of civilization, as it contributed significantly to the progress of the world through its rich history of scientific discoveries and inventions.

The Middle East has been a hub of innovation, with scientists, engineers, and even scholars making groundbreaking contributions to various fields. It’s time to remind you about some of the most important inventions and scientific discoveries that have arisen from the Middle East and managed to shape the course of human history.

Algebra (9th century):

The discovery of algebra represents one of the most influential contributions from the Middle East when it comes to the world of mathematics. Today, we can’t imagine a world where mathematics isn’t taught in schools.

Scholars such as Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi, one of those who shaped algebra, and his work called “Al-Kitab al-Mukhtasar fi Hisab al-Jabr wal-Muqabala” laid the foundation for this domain.

Even the word “algebra” itself is derived from the title of the work of al-Khwarizmi.

The Decimal Point and Numerical System (9th century):

We all know that the decimal point represents a fundamental component of our numerical system, but how many people have an idea that it was introduced by Middle Eastern mathematicians during the Islamic Golden Age?

The same mathematician Al-Khwarizimi, who we mentioned above, was also responsible for his role in the development of the decimal point, as well as the numerical system we use nowadays. Such an innovation revolutionized mathematics and laid the groundwork for advancements in both science and commerce. Let’s be honest: many people only use mathematics when they count their money after making their purchases.

Medicine and Pharmacology (9th-13th centuries):

The Middle East also has a tradition in medicine, as scholars such as Ibn Sina (Avicenna) made some groundbreaking contributions in the field. His work, known as “The Canon of Medicine,” served as a comprehensive guide to both pharmacology and medical practices. It preserved ancient Greek medical knowledge and also introduced new therapies and concepts. The work has been influencing medical practices in Europe for centuries.

The Camera Obscura (11th century):

The camera obscure is a precursor of the modern camera, and it was developed, as you’ve already guessed, in the Middle East during the Islamic Golden Age. Ibn al-Haytham, who is also known as Alhazen, made important contributions to both optics and vision science. His experiments with lenses and light led to the invention of the camera obscure, meaning a darkened room or box with a small hole through which light passes to project an inverted image appearing on the opposite wall. Thanks to this invention, the development of photography was possible centuries later.

Astrolabe (2nd century)

The astrolabe represents one of the greatest inventions that the Middle East ever gave to mankind. It was a powerful and complex instrument used for solving problems related to time and the position of celestial objects. The astrolabe has its origin in ancient Greece, and it was refined and further developed by Islamic astronomers such as Al-Battani and Al-Fazari. Thanks to this device, it was possible to determine the latitude of a location and thus predict the positions of celestial objects, helping in navigation.

Surely, many more examples could be mentioned when it comes to the enormous legacy of innovation that the Middle East has given to the world. The region had important advancements in fields such as astronomy, architecture, chemistry, and more.


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