Arkan Simaan is a French historian of science and a novelist.
He was born in Lebanon in 1945. When he was two years old, his family immigrated to Brazil and settled in the city of Anápolis near to Brasilia. The 1964 Brazilian coup d'état overthrew the government of João Goulart just as Simaan had begun studying physics at the University of São Paulo. In response to this, he became a student activist. Sought by the political police and sentenced to jail in absentia, he went underground. His name was then cited in several prosecutions. Forced to flee Brazil, he arrived in Paris in 1970.
After a few years in France, Simaan refrained from activities that were connected with his prior political involvement. In Paris he resumed his studies in physics at the University Paris Diderot. He then attended the Institut Supérieur des Matériaux et de la Construction Mécanique from which he received an engineering degree. Following a short spell in industry, he realized that he wanted to teach. In order to do so, he obtained the agrégation in physics.
All his books are originally written in French and for many of them he has won awards.
- (With Joëlle Fontaine) “L'Image du Monde des Babyloniens à Newton” (Adapt Editions, Paris, 1998).
- “Cette sentence vous fait plus peur qu'à moi-même : Giordano Bruno” (Cahiers rationalistes, 2000).
- “La science au péril de sa vie – les aventuriers de la mesure du monde” (Vuibert / Adapt, Paris, 2001.) In 2002 this book was awarded Price of Special Book in Astronomy (Prix Spécial du livre d’astronomie).
- “Vénus devant le soleil – comprendre et observer un phénomène astronomique” (Vuibert / Adapt, 2003). This book concerns the transit of Venus across the Sun.
- “L’Image du Monde de Newton à Einstein” (Vuibert / Adapt, Paris, 2005).
- "Le paradoxe de la science: Fritz Haber" (Cahiers rationalistes n° 579, November 2005).
- “L’Écuyer d’Henri le Navigateur” (Éditions Harmattan, Paris, 2007).