Science in Medieval Islam

Jabir Ibn Hayyan - Arab Alchemist

The 9th century chemist, Geber (Jabir ibn Hayyan), is considered the father of chemistry,[62][63][46] for introducing the first experimental scientific method for chemistry, as well as the alembic, still, retort, pure distillation, liquefaction, crystallisation, purification, oxidisation, evaporation, and filtration.[46]

Hossein Nasr 1976

Al-Kindi was the first to refute the study of traditional alchemy and the theory of the transmutation of metals,[64] followed by Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī,[65] Avicenna,[66] and Ibn Khaldun. Avicenna also invented steam distillation and produced the first essential oils, which led to the development of aromatherapy. Razi first distilled petroleum, invented kerosene and kerosene lamps, soap bars and modern recipes for soap, and antiseptics. In his Doubts about Galen, al-Razi was also the first to prove both Aristotle's theory of classical elements and Galen's theory of humorism wrong using an experimental method.[67] In the 13th century, Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī stated an early version of the law of conservation of mass, noting that a body of matter is able to change, but is not able to disappear.[68] Alexander von Humboldt regarded the Muslim chemists as the founders of chemistry.[69]

Will Durant wrote in The Story of Civilization IV: The Age of Faith:

"Chemistry as a science was almost created by the Moslems; for in this field, where the Greeks (so far as we know) were confined to industrial experience and vague hypothesis, the Saracens introduced precise observation, controlled experiment, and careful records. They invented and named the alembic (al-anbiq), chemically analyzed innumerable substances, composed lapidaries, distinguished alkalis and acids, investigated their affinities, studied and manufactured hundreds of drugs. Alchemy, which the Moslems inherited from Egypt, contributed to chemistry by a thousand incidental discoveries, and by its method, which was the most scientific of all medieval operations."[9]

George Sarton, the father of the history of science, wrote in the Introduction to the History of Science:

"We find in his (Jabir, Geber) writings remarkably sound views on methods of chemical research, a theory on the geologic formation of metals (the six metals differ essentially because of different proportions of sulphur and mercury in them); preparation of various substances (e.g., basic lead carbonatic, arsenic and antimony from their sulphides)."[49]

Iranian Alchemist

Aristotle teaching, from document in the British Library., From: Seyyed Hossein Nasr (1976). Islamic Science:An Illustrated Study, World of Islam Festival Publishing Ltd.. ISBN 090503502X
Science in Medieval Islam by J. Plattner
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