Illuminating Achievements: Arab Physicists Shaping the World of Light


The study of light has led to promising alternative energy sources and lifesaving medical advances in diagnostics technology and treatments.  These transformative technologies were developed through centuries of fundamental research on the properties of light, including pioneering work such as Ibn Al-Haytham’s seminal Kitab al-Manazir (Book of Optics), published in 1015. As the world celebrates the International Day of Light on 16 May, various Arab physicists have left an indelible mark on the Arab world’s understanding and utilization of this fundamental phenomenon. Ibn Al-Haytham (965-1040 CE) Considered the father of modern optics, Ibn Al-Haytham’s groundbreaking work, Kitab al-Manazir, laid the foundation for our understanding of the behavior of light, including the principles of reflection, refraction, and the workings of the human eye. His experimental approach and rejection of the prevailing theories of his time were revolutionary, and his work influenced generations of scientists who followed in his footsteps. Maha Ashour-Abdalla A pioneering Egyptian-American plasma physicist, Ashour-Abdalla’s research has advanced our understanding of the complex dynamics of the Earth’s magnetosphere, with applications in space weather forecasting and protection of satellites from cosmic radiation. Her work has been instrumental in developing models…

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