Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"A Polymath in the 10th Century," by Roshdi Rashed. Science, 2 August 2002, page 773.

Ibn al-Haytham, called "Ptolemy the Second" by his successors, is the polymath referred to in the title. About half of al-Haytham's writings were in mathematics, including calculations of the volume of a sphere and paraboloid. Rashed writes of al-Haytham that "His contributions to geometry and number theory go well beyond the archimedean tradition." Also, "His mathematical works influenced Roger Bacon, Frederick of Fribourg, Kepler, Snell, Descartes, and Huygens and many others."

--- Mike Breen