Introduction to Nasir Al-Din Al-Tusi, Abu Nasr Mansur, Abu Al-Wafa Al-Buzjani, and Abu-Mahmud Khojandi

Introduction to Nasir Al-Din Al-Tusi, Abu Nasr Mansur, Abu Al-Wafa Al-Buzjani, and Abu-Mahmud Khojandi

Al-Tusi: Al-Tusi was born in Tusi, in modern day northeastern Iran, in 1201 CE [16]. He was also the most “influential Shi’i scholar in the field of mathematics, geometry, astronomy, philosophy, and theology” [9]. Al-Tusi was so accomplished that people later called him the third teacher, the first teacher being Aristotle, and the second being Abu Nasr Al-Farabi, a prominent polymath of the 9th and 10th century[4]. In 1256, after the Mongols set their imperial sights eastward, the grandson of Genghis Khan, Hulegu, and his forces attacked the castle of Alamut, where Al-Tusi resided. Al-Tusi was later appointed to scientific advisor and was “put in charge of religious affairs and was with the Mongol forces under Hulegu when they attacked Baghdad in 1258” [16]. “Al-Tusi’s influence, especially in eastern Islam, was immense. Probably, if we take all fields into account, he was more responsible for the revival of the Islamic sciences than any other individual. His bringing together so many competent scholars and scientists at Maragheh resulted not only in the revival of mathematics and astronomy but also in the renewal of Islamic philosophy and even theology” [4].

Mansur: Abu Nasr Mansur was born around 970 CE in modern-day Uzbekistan and was prince of Banu Iraq, rulers of the Khwarazm region [13]. Interestingly, Abu Nasr Mansur was a mentee of Al-Buzjani, and also mentored Abu Arrayhan Al-Biruni, a polymath of polymath Nasr Mansur himself worked on astronomy, translation of Greek works, and trigonometry.Al-Buzjani: Al-Buzjani was born in 970 CE in the Khorasan region, which is now in Iran. Al-Buzjaniwas a relatively modest astronomer and mathematician at the time [15]. He was the first to use the tangent function and devised a new method of calculating sine tables, where his was accurate to 8 decimal places, in comparison to the Greek Ptolemy’s sine tables, which were accurate to 3 decimal places.

Al-Khojandi: Al-Khojandi was born around 940 CE, Al-Khojandi was an practical astronomer who designed astronomical instruments. Al-Tusi gives Al-Khojandi credit for discovering the sine law, yet Al-Khojandi’s focus on practical work, among other reasons, leads us to believe that he likely did not discover the sine law.


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