Medievel scholar's epiphany about light is focus of short story set in Egypt

Monday, January 24, 2011; 9:00 PM


The story of Ibn al-Haytham Physics World, January issue

On occasion of the millennial celebration of the "Book of Optics" by Ibn al-Haytham, one of the most influential books in physics, science writer Jennifer Ouellette has written a fictionalized account of al-Haytham's epiphany in 11th-century Egypt. The short story "The Scholar and the Caliph" covers the 10 years when al-Haytham, under house arrest, came up with his revolutionary theories about the form and passage of light. Bravo to Ouellette for illuminating this medieval scholar in such an engaging way.

- Rachel Saslow

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