Khayyam

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Omar Khayyam, (born 1048 AD,—1131 AD, Neyshabur, Iran), was a Iran polymath, mathematician, philosopher, astronomer, physician, and poet. He also wrote treatises on mechanics, geography, and music. He became established as one of the major mathematicians and astronomers of the medieval period. Recognized as the author of the most important treatise on algebra before modern times as reflected in his Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra giving a geometric method for solving cubic equations by intersecting a #### hyperbola with a circle. He also contributed to the calendar reform and may have proposed a heliocentric theory well before Copernicus. His significance as a philosopher and teacher, and his few remaining philosophical works, have not received the same attention as his scientific and poetic writings. Zamakhshari referred to him as “the philosopher of the world”. Many sources have also testified that he taught for decades the philosophy of Avicenna in Nishabur where Khayyam lived most of his life, died, and was buried and where his mausoleum remains today a masterpiece of Iranian architecture visited by many people every year. Outside Iran and Persian speaking countries, Khayyam has had impact on literature and societies through translation and works of scholars. The greatest such impact was in English-speaking countries; the English scholar Thomas Hyde (1636–1703) was the first non-Persian to study him. However the most influential of all was Edward FitzGerald (1809–83) who made Khayyam the most famous poet of the East in the West through his celebrated translation and adaptations of Khayyám's rather small number of quatrains (rubaiyat) in Rubayiat of Khayyam. Omar Khayyam was part of a panel that introduced several reforms to the Persian calendar, largely based on ideas from the Hindu calendar. On March 15, 1079, Sultan Malik Shah I accepted this corrected calendar as the official Persian calendar. This calendar was known as Jalali calendar after the Sultan, and was in force across Greater Iran from the 11th to the 20th centuries. It is the basis of the Iranian calendar which is followed today in Iran and Afghanistan. While the Jalali calendar is more accurate than the Gregorian, it is based on actual solar transit, (similar to Hindu calendars), and requires an Ephemeris for calculating dates. The lengths of the months can vary between 29 and 32 days depending on the moment when the sun crossed into a new zodiacal area (an attribute common to most Hindu calendars). This meant that seasonal errors were lower than in the Gregorian calendar. The modern-day Iranian calendar standardizes the month lengths based on a reform from 1925, thus minimizing the effect of solar transits. Seasonal errors are somewhat higher than in the Jalali version, but leap years are calculated as before. Omar Khayyám also built a star map (now lost), which was famous in the Persian and Islamic world. Khayyam the philosopher could be understood from two rather distinct sources. One is through his quatrains and the other through his own works in light of the intellectual and social conditions of his time. The latter could be informed by the evaluations of Khayyam’s works by scholars and philosophers such as Bayhaqi, Nezami Aruzi, and Zamakhshari and also Sufi poets and writers Attar Nishaburi and Najmeddin Razi. As a mathematician, Khayyam has made fundamental contributions to the Philosophy of mathematics especially in the context of Persian Mathematics and Persian philosophy with which most of the other Persian scientists and philosophers such as Avicenna, Biruni, and Tusi are associated.

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