Talk:Ibn al-Haytham

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Former good articleIbn al-Haytham was one of the Natural sciences good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
August 2, 2007Good article nomineeNot listed
September 24, 2008Good article nomineeListed
September 14, 2010Good article reassessmentDelisted
Current status: Delisted good article

How do we solve this?[edit]

The never-ending tit-for-tat edit-war over Alhazan's ethnicity is one of the reasons why this article was removed from the list of good articles. I would like everybody genuinely interested in making this article the best it can be and getting it relisted as a good article to join me in making some concrete suggestions for how we can settle/sidestep this obviously contentious issue. I know which way I fall on the issue, and how I would write the article if I could tyrannically dictate such a thing, but I genuinely think that there must be a way to phrase the lead that acknowledges that different perspectives exist, acknowledges the controversy, but does not pander to politically or religiously motivated viewpoints. Let's try to solve this. We're clever people, right? Famousdog (c) 11:40, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

I pending-protected the article, but I will toss an idea into the ring here: at Nicolaus Copernicus, whose ethnicity is famously fought over (German/Polish), we came up (after about 10 years (!), the talk-pages make fabulous reading) with leaving the ethnicity out of the lede, and just label him "a Renaissance- and Reformation-era mathematician and astronomer". Might a comparable era our timescale serve in the case here? Lectonar (talk) 11:54, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
  • The problem, as I see it, is that him being an Arab is sourced to multiple reliable academic sources written by acknowledged experts in the fields of Islamic history and Islamic science, while those who claim he was Persian provide links to blogs and sources written by "laymen", like the edit I just reverted, which is sourced to a blogpost about photography, with only a passing mention of Ibn Al-Haytham. Which IMO means that claims about him being Persian should be seen as an unsourced fringe claim, not meriting any mention at all in the article. - Tom | Thomas.W talk 12:45, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
I appreciate that. But the presence of a mention of his (probably) Arab ethnicity in the lead is obviously twisting the knickers of a whole bunch of people, albeit people who cannot find a reliable source to counter it. This issue is preventing a pretty comprehensive article from being elevated to the nirvana of good-articleness. Is there a way that we can prevent further edit-warring while still maintaining WP's principles? Famousdog (c) 13:39, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
I have no problem moving his ethnicity to the body of the article, although I do not believe this will stop IP POV pushers from using unreliable sources for their interpretation of his ethnicity. --Kansas Bear (talk) 13:50, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

(please don't top-post) Famousdog (c) 14:08, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

Hi everybody and thank you very much for your work. I would say to Thomas.W that it's not true, the sources stating he was Persian are not only blogs, for example this one :

This is from Institute of physics based in London which states he was a Persian, please, tell me if you really think it's a blog ? There is another big difference between me and those saying he was Arab, it's that i do not remove sources stating he was an Arab, i just add sources stating he was a Persian and i think this is my right as long as my sources are reliables, don't agree ??? I think like one contributor who said that as his ethnicity is unclear, we should just say "muslim scientist" this could solve the problem. More, i would report rudeness from Kansas Bear on his talk page, treating a user of liar and sockpuppet, please just go on his talk page and see by yourself. Thanks again for your job guys (and ladies of course).— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Anonymous User, that sadly IS a blog, albeit a blog from a fairly prestigious source. The problem is that this prestigious institution is an institute devoted to physics, not history. It might be possibly be considered a reliable source for physics but not history. That is the problem with this source as I see it. Physicists, clever though they are, are not historians. Famousdog (c) 14:05, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
Also, the fact that you do not remove reliable sources is not really a point in your favour. If you did, it would hardly be considered proper behaviour. Famousdog (c) 14:10, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

Thank you for you for your answer Famousdog, but other sources (including historical ones) are listed above on this talk page, and a single user, Kansas bear, removed all of them (saying he does not want articles writen by "some Brits" who write only generaly...) being by the way rude with some users who just wanted to upgrade the article fairly (this is my case), i thought this was forbidden on Wikipedia which is a usualy reliable source very usefull for me as well in my professionnal life than my personnal one. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:23, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

Judging from the attitude and actions of this IP, it is clear this is a blocked user here to right great wrongs. Incapable of bringing reliable sources for this article, said IP resorts to accusation of racism, lying, and distortion of facts. I see no reason to continue a dialogue with this type of "person" and that we have this talk page "semi-protected" against IPs. That said, moving Alhazen's ethnicity out of the lead, will not remove the problem of disruptive IPs. --Kansas Bear (talk) 14:40, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

Hi Kansas bear, Thank you for your answer, i never accused you of racism, i just said you were rude and not very respectfull with britsh writers (and by the way, being British is not a "race" but this is another story...). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:51, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

This is your post kansas bear:

"I am saying a historian with an academic background in this particular area should be considered. Not some Brits that have written a generalized history. --Kansas Bear (talk) 21:59, 16 October 2016 (UTC)"

So please keep the word "liar" for youself.

But that's not the point here, the point is "are the sources unanimous about the ethnicity of that man ?" — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:02, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

What about these sources stating he was Persian :

• Understanding History by John Child, Paul Shuter, David Taylor - Page 70

• Science and Human Destiny by by Norman F. Dessel, Richard B. Nehrich, Glenn I. Voran - Page 164

• The Journal of Science, and Annals of Astronomy, Biology, Geology by James Samuelson, William Crookes - Page 497

I would like to know if they are RS. Thanx. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:42, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

Go do your own work, since your latest edit is not a reliable source either, it's a blog.
Also, this statement links your current IP to the one that posted the lie on my talk page
  • "More, i would report rudeness from Kansas Bear on his talk page, treating a user of liar and sockpuppet, please just go on his talk page and see by yourself."
You stated:
  • "Hi Kansas bear, i can see you're reverting all sources without any explanation"[1]
That is a lie. I explained three times, twice in edit summaries[2][3] and once on the talk page[4]
  • "So please keep the word "liar" for youself."
First off, considering you have taken my statement out of context(ie. distortion of facts), have not read any of the discussion concerning Child, Shuter, and Taylor and have blatantly ignored what SteveMcCluskey stated, this just proves you are not here to build an encyclopedia.
And while you continue to embarrass yourself, learn to spell and do research.
You also stated:
  • "i never accused you of racism"[5]
  • "So could you please give me an explanation for that ? or maybe it's because you just don't like Persians"[6]
This is a personal attack and an accusation of racism. Appears you have lied, again. --Kansas Bear (talk) 23:05, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

A proposal[edit]

The page may need semi-protection (i.e. blocking IP editors).

I have no idea what ethnicity this man was. I'm not entirely sure why it's necessary to include this in the article. But any determination of his ethnicity should be done on the talk page. None of you have any direct knowledge of this man; he has been dead for over 500 years. Please discuss this with decor. Power~enwiki (talk) 23:12, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

I think that the proposition of Power-enwiki is clever and that's exactly what i say, i don't know that man, he died 1000 years ago, but when i search on google about him, sources are not unanimous.
For kansas bear : you don't know me neither, i'haven't been rude with anybody here, this does'nt make sens for me to be rude with people, all that i say is that you and me do not know him and sources appear to be divergent.
If i make some mistales when i write, please forgive me, this is because english is not my mother tongue as i'm french, and i l'ive in Paris, but i love wikipedia as i use it since a long time and i've allways been honest even if you think i'me not.
I've made some articles on french wikipedia on historical topics, and they are still here, allmost unchanged, years after, maybe it's because they are not so bad or at least i hope so.
Honestly, i've tried to search about these people (Child, Taylor, etc...) and i've found a wide range of propositions (rugbyman, professor, etc...) i do not know them, but some of them have been published in prestigious souces (like Kevin Killeen Oxford University press if do not make a mistake, who is a historian in the field of intellectual history and stating Ibn al-Haythzm is Persian).
As i said, i don't know ibn al-Haytham, and if you are absolutely certain that he was an Arab, so it's ok for me but the problem is that the majority of "reliables" sources states he's Arab but a few ones states he's Persian and if you look on other famous people with controversially ethnicity (Copernicus, Geber...) their ethnicity is either not mentionned (Copernicus) either double mentionned (Geber), correct me if i'm wrong.
I hope i haven't bored you with my long long speech... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:32, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
Semi-protection may deal with the short term problem, but I think User:Famousdog's suggestion that we follow the Copernicus procedure, and remove discussions of ethnicity from the lede and place a balanced discussion of the scholarly view of the claims that he is Arabic or Persian in the body of the article has real merit. In 2010 I added (as an IP) the following note to editors, based on a similar note in the Copernicus article, as hidden text after a similar discussion on Talk.
"NOTE TO EDITORS: Please read the talk page before editing the introductory paragraphs. These paragraphs represent a consensus on how best to present the essential information in the introduction. Other issues are discussed later in the article. Whether nationality should be attributed to Alhazen is in dispute among editors (see the Talk page and its archives)."
The note to editors was removed in 2015, apparently inadvertently, when Persondata migrated to Wikidata. As a step to restore some calm to the article, I'll restore the note to editors. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 00:42, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for your comment Kansas bear, i just went on the Al-Razi talk page to ask other contributors if my sources are reliables or not.
It's true that that source is a blog but i checked the author of it and he's a member of "american academy of innovation", so i thought his blog was reliable.
Anyway, contributors will decide on the talk page of Al-Razi. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:04, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
I doubt if the discussion at al-Razi will be very productive, as you raised your question in a section where the most recent comment was made in 2005. You should rely on the insights of this, currently active, discussion. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 14:20, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
Hi SteveMcClusky and thanks for your answer.
My remark about Al Razi was just an answer to Kansas Bear's statement above and not directly linked to Ibn Al Haytham, i continued on Kansas's talk page after that but he erased my question about the reliability of sources.
Trying to solve this issue, i would like to know if these sources are reliables according to you:
  • Understanding History by John Child, Paul Shuter, David Taylor - Page 70
  • ^ Science and Human Destiny by by Norman F. Dessel, Richard B. Nehrich, Glenn I. Voran - Page 164
  • ^ The Journal of Science, and Annals of Astronomy, Biology, Geology by James Samuelson, William Crookes - Page 497
  • Killeen, Kevin (2014). Thomas Browne. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 940
Another user than me (Scienceis) has listed more sources stating that Ibn al-Haytham was Persian.
I agree that most sources list him as Arab but some sources list him as Persian.
If you look to Jabir ibn Hayyan's article, there are 3 sources stating he was Arab and 12 stating he was Persian, and in his article it's stayed "Arab or Persian".
Thanks for your work.
Ooh yes, i've seen al Razi's talk page and the last coment is effectively very old. My appologize. I can write my comment in "alcohol again" but even there the last comment is quite old... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:15, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
Speaking as a historian of science, I would have to say that the sources you cite are not reliable sources on the historical question of the ethnicity of Ibn al-Haytham. There certainly are reliable historical studies out there for someone who wishes to do the research. A good starting point would be A. I. Sabra's discussion of the original sources on his life in the Dictionary of Scientific Biography:
  • Sabra, A. I. (2008) [1970–80], "Ibn Al-Haytham, Abū ʿAlī Al-Ḥasan Ibn Al-Ḥasan", Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Charles Scribner's Sons
I really have nothing more to add on the topic. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 16:03, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
I understand your point of view,
but i'm a mathematician and i love logics.
I studied a PhD in the field of stochastical calculus at the Pierre et Marie University in Paris and had the honour to publish a few articles for the CNRS. I am saying that because in one of my articles, i proposed some historical facts to introduce my work whose facts were wrong, so the CNRS asked me to remove them from my article, otherwise they would refuse to publish me.
What i want to say is that prestigious organisms (like CNRS, Oxford University and many others) will not publish works with false informations even if these false informations are not linked with the main subject of that work.
The last source above is from a historian and published at Oxford University Press, that's why i think it's reliable.
I followed your article link from Sabra and haven't found any information about Ibn al-Haytham's ethnicity, so if i understand well your proposal, you mean his ethnicity shoud be removed from the article ?
Thank you for the time you spent for reading me, i have nothing else to add neither except if someone else want to discuss further about this issue.
— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:57, 17 June 2017 (UTC)

─────────────────────────, when you say, "Another user than me (Scienceis) has listed more sources...," are you claiming that you and User:Scienceis are not the same person? I would appreciate a clarification. Thanks. grolltech(talk) 22:48, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

Hi, I'm only an IP user, i don't have an account on Wikipedia and i have never had one. I'm NOT Scienceis. Many other users proposed to remove Arabic ethnicity (and Persian as well), i think it's the only way to reach a concensus on this article (see above Lectonar, Dmcq, power-enwiki and others). Have a look at the sources and share your POV about them. Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:17, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

Is this source reliable enough : — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:58, 4 July 2017 (UTC)

My opinion is that your source is a reliable one. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:43, 6 July 2017 (UTC)
The source cited is excerpted from a volume of a 7-volume encyclopedia set on the history of science: Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery, vol. 2. The Google Books page for that volume notes that it could not find any reviews in the usual places and describes the editor, Neil Schlager, as "a chemical engineer who has run factories in Nashville, Tennessee; Winnipeg, Canada; and Bahrain". A WorldCat search shows that the series is held by only 16 libraries, worldwide. I'm not certain this holds up as a reliable source on Ibn al-Haytham's ethnicity and, as I've said several times before, I don't feel his ethnicity is a significant element for this article. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 00:38, 7 July 2017 (UTC)

I appreciate your answer but the fact is that is believed to be legit : — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:56, 7 July 2017 (UTC)

Your link just reproduces content from the 2001 book by Schlager, the identity of the server hosting it is irrelevant, and Schlager's book isn't a quotable source. --dab (𒁳) 14:30, 16 September 2017 (UTC)

There are many such cases on Wikipedia. They are difficult to fix because the nationalists (on either side!) usually come in tag-teams and recruit support in their respective online communities. They aren't here to play fair or to write an encyclopedia. The solution usually is:

  • to semiprotect
  • to disregard all contribution by anonymous editors or fresh accounts
  • to take a step back and either remove mention of ethnicity in the lead, remove the WP:BOMBARDment with crappy google results presented as "references" and instead give a balanced paragraph on the question, with references to scholarly sources, further down in the article
  • it usually boils down to "meh, could have been either, we can't be sure and it isn't important"

--dab (𒁳) 14:30, 16 September 2017 (UTC)

case in point:
"Nicolaus Copernicus was a Renaissance- and Reformation-era mathematician and astronomer"
further down, the ocd treatment of his Polish ancestry and his fluency in German betray that people do care very much about his ethnic affiliations, but the lead is clear of this nonsense, and most trolls don't read past the lead anyway, so they aren't triggered by prominent mention of the "wrong" ethnicity. --dab (𒁳) 14:33, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
I agree that Alhazen's ethnicity should be moved out of the lead of the article. No one has given any reason(s) not to remove Alhazen's ethnicity from the lead, so I will be doing that. --Kansas Bear (talk) 03:04, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

I propose putting "Iraqi-muslim" or "Iraqi-egyptian" in the lead. I thik that is more appropriate and quite acceptable. what do you see?!

When i look at this (very) long talk page, I think just like Kansas bear and Dbachmann that we should not mention his ethnicity in the lead to stop this endless edit warring in which POV pushers are engaged... Wikaviani (talk) 16:49, 23 September 2017 (UTC)

It seems to be rather undisputed that he was Arab. At least the article puts it like this positively, we seem to have half a dozen credible references calling him "Arab" and not a single one calling him "Persian". But of course once the Persian nationalists have decided they want him to be Persian, there will never be peace, so it will be best just to avoid calling him Arab in the lead, because his ethnicity is clearly not relevant to his notability (this also holds true of his religious affiliation of course). --dab (𒁳) 10:21, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
Support following the best sources. If non-Arab features can't be gleaned from his writings or name, it's reasonable to assume he was an Arab. Although we should be consistent across different articles. Perhaps an RFC similar to the Ethnic Galleries would be sufficient. Wiqi(55) 11:59, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
See, this is the problem with articles such as this. Productive discussion and the IPs just go and remove what they don't like([7]) and then a "different" IP replaces it with whatever they want.([8]) So much for a productive discussion. Perhaps semi-protection from meddlesome IPs would be prudent. What is even more pathetic is the IP's removal of Arab after this discussion and knowing full well this was and still is sourced!
This IP, which apparently hops around has edited under:
I have restored the referenced information removed under false pretenses and have asked for semi-protection for this article. Clearly having a discussion with this IP has been a waste of time and energy. --Kansas Bear (talk) 01:37, 14 October 2017 (UTC)

Case closed: Encyclopedia Iranica says Alhazen was NOT Persian[edit]

Hi guys, I think this source should finish this argument once and for all. Here is some excerpts from Encyclopædia Iranica's article on optics.

In one paragraph, the article lists all the Persian authors on optics and Ibn al-Haytham is not among them:

"Authors of Persian origin writing on optics in Arabic range from Avicenna (d. 1037) and Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi (d. ca. 1191) from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, to Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (d. ca. 1274) and Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi (d. 1311) from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, to the far more scientifically advanced case of Kamāl al-Dīn al-Fārisī (d. ca.1319) slightly later."[9]

The article later mentions Ibn al-Haytham as a representative of the Arab optical tradition along with al-Kindi.

Also one more citation from the same source:

"Ibn Sina also discussed theories of vision directly. He did not, however, write independent works on optics as did his contemporary, the celebrated author and native Arabic speaker Ibn al-Haytham......... But by far the most impressive of the optical authors of Persian origin is Kamal al-Din al-Farisi whose monumental commentary on the Optics of Ibn al-Haytham is only one of many works composed during his productive intellectual life."[10]

As you can see, Iranica unquestionably does not consider Ibn al-Haytham as Persian, referring to him as a "native Arabic speaker". Moreover, it states clearly that Kamāl al-Dīn al-Fārisī, and not Ibn al-Haytham, was the the most prominent Persian author on optics.
So we have the biggest authority on Persian history stating quite clearly that Alhazen was NOT Persian.
I think this conclusively settles the issue.

It is also noteworthy that Basra, the birthplace of Alhazen, was an Arab city [11], and a well-known Arab stronghold in Mesopotamia along with Kufa [12]. Alhazen lived most of his life in Basra and Egypt, and his native language was Arabic as mentioned above. That is important, because even when we evaluate the primary sources about him, they all indicate to his Arab ancestry while there is literally zero evidence for the Persian claim to even be considered.

The modern non-historical sources which refer to Alhazen as Persian seem to be alluding a geographic designation [13][14] [15]. In Western literature, Iraq is sometimes considered as part of "Persia", specially when ruled by an Iranian-based dynasty. Notice also that even the famous Arab philosopher al-Kindi, who was also Iraqi-born, is sometimes wrongly referred to as "Persian" [16][17][18]. Such sources are just as reliable as the ones which refer to the likes of Ibn Sina [19] and Al-Biruni [20] as "Arabs" because they wrote their works in Arabic. They are all just typical careless writing that is not based on any primary sources and which should not even be considered. And that is why when it comes to ethnic identities and backgrounds, only big authorities on Islam should be cited since such authorities are well-informed and acquainted with the primary sources and complexities of the era. Viaros17 (talk) 13:55, 13 April 2018 (UTC)

Iranica has just as limited knowledge as anyone else. It should be left as "Persian or Arab" — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:03, 9 December 2018 (UTC)

Hi IP user, you're clearly mistaken. Iranica is a reliable source and as explained extensively in this talk page, Ibn al Haytham was not Persian. Cheers.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 21:23, 9 December 2018 (UTC)

Father of modern optics[edit]

Alhazen has been dubbed the father of modern optics by the UNESCO.Three reliable references were given for that,but the whole content (along with the references) was removed by dab .I want to know the reason for its removal. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:19, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

Here is a citation for 'father of optics': Irina Bokova (Director-General of the UN's education organization, UNESCO), message upon the program opening of the international year of light 2015, commemorating the 1000 year anniversary of al-Haytham's 'Kitab al manazir' (book of optics). The sponsoring institutions included optics or physics institutions (think photonics), such as the society of photo-optical instrumentation engineers (SPIE), and the events listed 5 Nobel laureates, including a laureate from the photonics field. --Ancheta Wis   (talk | contribs) 14:33, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

@Ancheta Wis This citation is good and more reliable - see: '[21]' .The website was launched by UNESCO.Look at the last para,its is clearly written that the UNESCO in Impact of Science on Society - Volumes 26-27 – (1976) Page 140, 1st Edition 1950 dubbed Alhazen as the father of modern optics.[1] It also says that there are many sources describing Ibn al-Haytham as the father of modern Optics.Yes there are many reliable sources that describe Alhazen as the father of Modern optics.I dont know why other users remove contents that describe him as the father of modern optics

In the optics field, his position is recognized as fundamental. He did not recognize the function of the retina; it took Giambattista della Porta's invention of water-filled glass spheres as optical elements, and Kepler's use of these spheres as a model for the eye to explain the optical chain. But that's the paradigm: it takes patient work, acceptance of those who have built what has come before you, and adding what you are able. No optiker would dispute al-Haytham's significance. Even Isaac Newton's experimental optical setup used al-Haytham's setup. Just look at the societies who signed up for his 1000-year commemoration. --Ancheta Wis   (talk | contribs) 16:21, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
@Ancheta Wis. Under the header Optical treatises in the main text it says: “Experiments with mirrors and magnifying lenses provided the foundation for his theories on catoptrics.”. But glass clear and pure enough to serve as lenses (cristallo) was developed considerably later, in Venice in the 15-th/16-th century ([1], p. 95-96.). So al-Haytham can never have experimented with lenses, magnifying or refracting. Earlier on, North Italian glassmakers invented eyeglasses around 1300 AD ([1], p.91); the glass was still of inferior quality, but that didn't matter, because the eye uses only a small portion of the surface of the lens.
Above you state: “Even Isaac Newton's experimental optical setup used al-Haytham's setup.” But to what set-up are you referring? And what was supposed to be verified? I think we need a reference here.
[1] Robert Friedel, A Culture of Improvement. Technology and the Western Millennium, 2007.--Gerard1453 (talk) 19:33, 17 August 2018 (UTC)

UNESCO has nothing to do with Arabic literature,it is at best pop culture or politics . So yes, mention this under "modern reception" or something, but it certainly has no place in the lead section. This is a serious topic and not some random collection of trivia. --dab (𒁳) 17:59, 11 October 2017 (UTC)

(𒁳) UNESCO stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.Its purpose is to promote educational, scientific, and cultural reforms .This page is not about Arabic literature.Its about a famous philosopher,scientist and mathematician.This page has to do with History of Science.You are saying it is at best pop culture or politics,this is your personal view.I dont care about your personal views.I dont think it should be mentioned under "modern reception" or something.UNESCO first described him as 'the father of optics' in 1976.It described alhazen 'without question the father of modern optics'.He has been regarded as the father of optics by many prominent historians and physicistst.It should appear in the lead section.The lead should stand on its own as a concise overview of the article's topic. It should identify the topic, establish context, explain why the topic is notable, and summarize the important points, including any 'prominent controversies'. --edit by user:

@Gerard1453: Thank you for your note and questions. Please see A.Mark Smith, ed. and trans. (2010) Alhacen on Refraction : a critical edition, with English translation and commentary, of Book 7 of Alhacen's De aspectibus, [the Medieval Latin version of Ibn-al-Haytham's Kitāb al-Manāẓir], Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 100–3[2] Chapter 2, which establishes 6 fundamental principles of refraction (summarized on p.xvi). His media are 'transparent bodies' which are air, water, glass, and the heavens. His measurements are in cubits, with fine units of barleycorns. The experimental setup described in English translation are on pp 220-224. His glass media are cubes, hemispheres and quarter-spheres. See for example his setup on paragraphs 2.35-46 for glass cubes. There is a diagram (fig.3, p.403). Smith p.xxi summarizes the setup for refraction air-to-glass, glass-to-air, or glass-to-water (paragraphs 2.59-78).
Smith (2010) p.xxii notes Alhacen's conclusion that the principles of refraction hold for all types of light and all types of transparent media (Which Alhacen noted in his Treatise on Light).
Smith 2010 p.xv notes Alhacen Book of Optics Book 7 chapter 5, has 10 theorems proving that 'any object point seen through any refractive interface, whether plane, convex spherical, or concave spherical, will yield only one image.'
Generally, Alhacen used rays of sunlight which he enhanced with 'darkened rooms', produced from holes in the walls[3] ( a technique used in Isaac Newton's chambers for his 'Opticks', with the holes in his curtains). (Newton's reflecting telescope was trying to solve the problem of chromatic aberration endemic with refraction by glass optical elements. — hence his famous experiment in his darkened room.)
Alhacen used this work (Book 7, para. 4.28) to conclude that 'The body of the heavens is rarer than the body of air'. In other words, outer space is a vacuum, but our atmosphere isn't.
--Ancheta Wis   (talk | contribs) 22:22, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
G J Toomer notes that the linguist and historian of science, Matthias Schramm (who could read Classical Chinese and Arabic) , claims that Alhacen was the true founder of modern physics.[4]:463–65 Smith 2015 From sight to light would probably have a good summary for you. Smith 2015 does cover the history of lens-quality glass. I should caution that optical glass per se is a red herring; what matters in today's terminology is the propagation of wave-fronts, which Alhacen described very well (it reads like a modern physics article). I'll have to dig for the paragraph, though. Ancheta Wis   (talk | contribs)
@Ancheta Wis. Thanx. What puzzles me is that islam, with all its optical 'might', never came up with the idea of spectacles and of combining two suitable lenses to arrive at the telescope - which would have been so useful in the starry clear skies of the Middle-East. I find this fascinating in itself from the viewpoint of the history of science.
@Gerard1453, I haven't read Smith 2015, which has a very clear history of glass-making for optics. I have read that China had spectacles simultaneously with Europe (much like Magellan's 1500s voyage to Brunei, where they discovered there were more cannons in Brunei than on their 3 ships, probably from the Chinese tech families who reinforced the harbor of Brunei). Probably there was cross-fertilization of ideas/technology (gunpowder etc). Those ideas undoubtedly made their way through southwest Asia on the way to southeast Asia. I have already provided the citation to Alhacen's Optics Book 7, para.4.28, which used naked-eye observation, just as in China's astronomical observatories. Alhacen used lathes, astrolabes, armillary spheres in his Book from 1000 years before us. Probably the greatest lack was in the scientific community's competition with each other. Since China had centralized politics, and so did the Caliphates, they lacked the political competion provided by the smaller dukedoms of Europe (China used to have feuding dukedoms, but they were eliminated by 213 BCE). --Ancheta Wis   (talk | contribs) 20:09, 18 August 2018 (UTC)
Something else: in paragraph Alhazen's problem it says, somewhere in the middle: "(...) where the formulas for the sums of integral squares and fourth powers allowed him to calculate the volume of a paraboloid." However, a paraboloid is a surface; the volume it encloses has a very simple expression.--Gerard1453 (talk) 18:30, 18 August 2018 (UTC)
As A.Mark Smith pointed out, Alhacen is best not underestimated. --Ancheta Wis   (talk | contribs) 20:14, 18 August 2018 (UTC)

I continue to insist that UNESCO isn't a quotable reference here, outside of a "pop culture" or "modern reception" section. UNESCO is political/ideological in purpose and outlook, it is not scholarly, and makes no pretense at being scholarly. UNESCO can and shold be cited in the context of modern-day international politics and nothing else. Surely, if al-Haytham being called the "father of optics", this can be referenced to serious literature, not to BBC News and the UNESCO. If it cannot, there is nothing wrong with making statements about UNESCO and modern journalism under Ibn_al-Haytham#Commemorations.

The countless "father of this" and "father of that" epithets are thrown around breathlessly by journalists at the drop of a hat and are in themselves completely meaningless. Al-Haytham is indeed notable as a medieval scientist, I am not disputing that at all. I am, quite on the contrary, asserting that this is a fact that can in fact be based on serious references and that we do not need to resort to cheap journalistic lingo for it. --dab (𒁳) 16:56, 21 November 2018 (UTC)


  1. ^ "Impact of Science on Society". UNESCO. Volumes 26-27: page-140. 1976.CS1 maint: Extra text (link)
  2. ^ Smith, A. Mark, ed. (2010), Alhacen on Refraction : a critical edition, with English translation and commentary, of Book 7 of Alhacen's De aspectibus, [the Medieval Latin version of Ibn-al-Haytham's Kitāb al-Manāẓir], Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 100–3, translated by Smith, A. Mark, Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society Book 7 (2010) 100(#3, section 1) — Vol 1 Commentary and Latin text via JSTOR;100(#3, section 2) — Vol 2 English translation VII:TOCp213-218, Notes, Bibl. via JSTOR
  3. ^ Alhacen Treatise on Light
  4. ^ G. J. Toomer. Review on JSTOR, Toomer's 1964 review of Matthias Schramm (1963) Ibn Al-Haythams Weg Zur Physik Archived March 26, 2017, at the Wayback Machine Toomer p. 464: "Schramm sums up [Ibn Al-Haytham's] achievement in the development of scientific method.", p. 465: "Schramm has demonstrated .. beyond any dispute that Ibn al-Haytham is a major figure in the Islamic scientific tradition, particularly in the creation of experimental techniques. p. 465: only when the influence of ibn al-Haytam and others on the mainstream of later medieval physical writings has been seriously investigated can Schramm's claim that ibn al-Haytam was the true founder of modern physics be evaluated."

10 October 2017[edit]

I am mostly confused because according to physics, his death year is 1039 and here is 1040. Please confirm the correct date. (talk) 13:58, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

The article says 'around 1040', in Latin circa 1040 abbreviated 'c. 1040' --Ancheta Wis   (talk | contribs) 14:33, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

1040 Farah Allan (talk) 11:47, 4 April 2018 (UTC)

Influences on Book of Optics[edit]

Please see the article Book of Optics and the citations for Euclid's Optics and Ptolemy's Optics. --Ancheta Wis   (talk | contribs) 22:47, 1 January 2018 (UTC) In addition, consider his Doubts Concerning Ptolemy, in which Alhacen stated "Truth is sought for its own sake. And those who are engaged upon the quest for anything for its own sake are not interested in other things." Furthermore Alhacen uses the idea that he must become his own worst critic. His conclusive disproof of Ptolemy is in Book of Optics Book One, Chapter 9, paragraphs [8.1] through [8.10] (I use Smith's translation 2001). Note Alhacen's reliance on Aristotle's scheme of logic. --Ancheta Wis   (talk | contribs) 23:33, 2 January 2018 (UTC)

@2601:14F:4502:4A93:6071:ED2C:DA4E:71A5: Hi IP user from Rockville, Maryland. You removed some Greek scholars who influenced Ibn Al-Haytham, however, i would suggest you to take a look at this source stating for example : "Ibn al-Haytham’s most important work is Kitāb al-manāẓir (“Optics”). Although it shows some influence from Ptolemy’s 2nd century AD Optics, it contains the correct model of vision". Please do not remove content without legit reasons, per WP:ONUS. Thanks.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 23:46, 27 August 2018 (UTC)

I added back the deleted influences, with citations, as stated above. Aristotle is Smith 2001 p.xvi --Ancheta Wis   (talk | contribs) 02:15, 28 August 2018 (UTC)

Thank you very much for that, Ancheta. Take care.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 02:20, 28 August 2018 (UTC)

Transliterations and transcriptions, versus Latinised names[edit]

  1. The use of the subject's actual name, Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥasan ibn al-Ḥasan ibn al-Haytham أبو علي، الحسن بن الحسن بن الهيثم, and of various Latinised forms such as Alhazen, Alhacen et al throughout the article is extremely inconsistent.
  2. In the article, Alhacen occurs twice as the subject's name, Alhazen 84 times (not counting attributive or possessive uses), Ibn al-Haytham about one-fifth as often.
  3. From the perspective of European history, I understand that the Latinised forms were the names appearing on mediaeval and early Renaissance Latin translations of ibn al-Haytham's work; early European scholars knew the works before learning anything about the man; and not until relatively recently did they connect these various works and purported authors with the one person. Therefore, in detailing the history of the early European reception of those works, it seems entirely appropriate to continue to use the names by which both works and author(s) were known.
  4. Some modern authors of our reliable sources, who may have spent a lifetime thinking of the subject (or his writings) under one or other of his Latin aliases, have continued to produce articles denoting him by those aliases rather than his real name. In such cases, the proper names of such sources are, of course, those under which they were published, and we should reproduce verbatim any quotations we take from them.
  5. However, beyond those two specific contexts, in the interests of accuracy, why continue to use those early approximations when the author's name is now well-known? Therefore, I suggest that we should replace those aliases by his own name in any other discussion of the subject's work. That is, in about 7 dozen instances.
  6. This being the English language Wikipedia, we of course use the best accepted transliterations to English letters of names normally written in other scripts. The transliteration given in the article's lead, and which I've quoted above in my first point, is consistent with best practices (as I understand them) for Arabic names when font support is available for long vowels (with macron): Āā, Īī, Ūū; voiceless pharyngeal fricative: Ḥḥ; and ʻayn: ˁ. (When only basic Latin font support is available, one might use the following instead: Abu 'Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham.)
  7. Alhacen is not an accurate transcription for English speakers of either al-Ḥasan or of al-Haytham. It might be considered a reasonable approximation of al-Ḥasan by French speakers, but I leave that judgment up to them, as French is only my second language. And there are many standards for transcription, none having universal currency or authority. So I fail to understand the following statement (sourced to p. xxi of "A. Mark Smith (2001), Alhacen's theory of visual perception: a critical edition, with English translation and commentary, of the first three books of Alhacen's De aspectibus, the medieval Latin version of Ibn al-Haytham's Kitab al-Manazir") in the article: "Risner is also the author of the name variant "Alhazen"; before Risner he was known in the west as Alhacen, which is the correct transcription of the Arabic name."
  8. The question has to be asked: What rules exist for a "correct transcription"? Without knowing the standard by which we should judge correctness, this seems a contentious claim.
  9. I conclude that we should take the following actions:
  • replace aliases by Ibn al-Haytham's own name in about 7 dozen instances.
  • either source support for, or more simply delete, the contentious phrase "… which is the correct transcription of the Arabic name" from the above quote. yoyo (talk) 11:57, 29 March 2018 (UTC)

 Done --Ancheta Wis   (talk | contribs) 08:05, 18 August 2018 (UTC)

Timestamping a citation from ip anon 2001:16A2:1411:8C00:45E7:9C17:3811:4D55 --Ancheta Wis   (talk | contribs) 21:39, 4 November 2018 (UTC)

Commons files used on this page have been nominated for deletion[edit]

The following Wikimedia Commons files used on this page have been nominated for deletion:

Participate in the deletion discussion at the nomination page. —Community Tech bot (talk) 08:39, 29 August 2018 (UTC)

Selenographia title page[edit]

The page shows Alhazen and Galileo, and two symbols labelled ratione and sensu. The implication is not that Alhazen represents the former and Galileo the latter, that would make no sense. The two terms are in the ablative, to be translated "by reason" and "by sense", they are to be read together, "by sense and by reason" as a summary of the scientific method. The interpretation that Alhazen represents pure reason, and Galileo pure empiricism seems rather far-fetched, and made-for-Wikipedia, if this is the case, we would at least need a published source making the inference. --dab (𒁳) 16:50, 21 November 2018 (UTC)

"The Physicist"[edit]

Ancheta Wis

Just like the case with the "Second Ptolemy" epithet, there seems to be another source misrepresentation in the article. Alhazen in medieval Europe was not known as "The Physicist". The source provided for this claim does not support that all.

Here is what the source really says:

Though but one of many authorities, Alhazen exerted by far the dominant influence. Bacon continually cites him by name, and Peckham and Witelo consciously patterned their major optical works after his Perspectiva, respectively condensing and expanding its treatment. Peckham continually bows to the authority of Alhazen, whom he cites as "the Author" or "the Physicist".
Lindberg, David C. (1967), "Alhazen's Theory of Vision and Its Reception in the West", p. 331[22]

As you can see, the "the Physicist" was just a casual name given to Alhazen by one Eoropean author, John Peckham. It was neither an honorary epithet nor a common name for Alhazen in medieval Europe.

I also propose moving the paragraph about Alhazen's nicknames from the lead altogether, since it has been established that both nicknames were uncommon and rarely used in scholarly literature. This paragraph belongs in the Legacy section at the end of the article, keeping it in the lead is very misleading and clumsy. (talk) 19:26, 29 November 2018 (UTC)

Peckham is a good source. --Ancheta Wis   (talk | contribs) 18:07, 2 December 2018 (UTC)