Dr. Rosie Redfield joins Joe, Kevin, and Toren to talk about NASA and the Shadow Biosphere, blinded scientists all over the place, extreme solutions to illegal parking, and one of our favorite sciencey shows goes terribly awry.
Tagged with “history” (3)
In part two Dr Jackie Stedall and Professor Ian Stewart tell us the story of Al-Khwarismi, the mathematician who introduced the world to the radical system of Hindu numerals - the numbers zero to nine - and how the word algebra comes from the Arabic title of one of his books.
In his book he revolutionised maths by focussing on the relationships between numbers rather than simply using maths to find the answer to particular problems. For mathematicians today, this was a vital development in our understanding. Another legacy was his name which gives us the modern word algorithm, a process that lies at the heart of how all computers work.
Professor Nader el-Bizri tells also of the great Ibn al-Haytham, who first realised how it is that vision works.
His work with light and optics was so revolutionary that he could be seen as the father of physics, rivaling Isaac Newton for the title.
Perhaps more importantly, he was also the instigator of what we now call the scientific method. Some people have thought that such a precise approach to scientific study began in Europe, hundreds of years later.
Between The Alexandrian War of 48 BCE and the Muslim conquest of 642 CE, the Library of Alexandria, containing a million scrolls and tens of thousands of individual works was completely destroyed, its contents scattered and lost. An appreciable percentage of all human knowledge to that point in history was erased. Yet in his novella “The Congress”, Jorge Luis Borges wrote that “every few centuries, it’s necessary to burn the Library of Alexandria”.
In his session James will ask if, as we build ourselves new structures of knowledge and certainty, as we design our future, should we be concerned with the value of our ruins?
With a background in both computing and traditional publishing James Bridle attempts to bridge the gaps between technology and literature. He runs Bookkake, a small independent publisher and writes about books and the publishing industry at booktwo.org. In 2009 he helped launch Enhanced Editions, the first e-reading application with integrated audiobooks.