IBN AL-HAYTHAM by Bradley Steffens


First Scientist
Age Range: 11 - 13
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In this clearly written, carefully reasoned profile, Steffens not only traces the scantly documented life of one of early modern science’s giants (better known in Europe as Alhazen), but also places him both within the broader contexts of early Muslim society, and of the whole history of science. A prolific writer who spent most of his life in Basra and Cairo, Ibn al-Haytham is chiefly remembered today for his work in optics, and as an exponent of enquiry through direct, repeatable experimentation rather than inductive reasoning alone. Along with easy-to-understand discussions of his achievements, readers will find a speculative but credible character study of a devout, brilliant polymath who was rather conveniently subject to mysterious bouts of mental illness that twice rescued him from onerous government jobs. Despite captions that are printed in red and therefore largely illegible, the many color pictures enhance this illuminating narrative with maps, diagrams, prints (including an old portrait of Muhammad) and images of illustrated manuscript pages. (index, multimedia resource lists) (Biography. 11-13)

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 2007
ISBN: 1-59935-024-6
Page count: 128pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2006


ChildrenIBN AL-HAYTHAM by Libby Romero
by Libby Romero