Assignment / Tasks

Here we’ll post the current assignments and tasks that we are engaged in.

For the next class your assignment is to follow-up with one of the sections or web pages found on this website and to study and research further your chosen or assigned topic.  In our next class share with the class one of the examples of scholarship, invention, debates that you found and that you’d like us to consider further.

This may be a page of text, or an image of drawing or work of art or architecture.  It may be a biographical study or some anecdote you found about one of the polymaths!  Be free to explore and share what you found.

This is an exploratory exercise.  We don’t expect you to solve all of the details, but out of this we may challenge ourselves to learn more.

Out of this project you may wish to develop a research topic for your final paper assignment in this course!

Here are the topics that we found in our class and your assignment for next time.  These are first come / first serve.  Do these individually or in small groups of 2 or 3.

Name / Group Proposed Topic (Choose One) Suggested Questions for a Report in our Discussion Section (Next class)
  Al-Biruni 973-1048 (Mathematics, Astronomy, Ethnographer) Why do so many important innovations in mathematical notation (the zero) take place in India?
  Al-Khawarizmi 780-850 (Mathematics, Inventor of the Algorithm) What solutions in algebra did he discover?
  Al-Kindi 801-873 (Chemistry, Medicine, Philosophy) Which is more important, his chemistry or his philosophy?
  Al-Razi (Alrazen) 854-925 (Chemistry, Philosophy) Why was his science so great, why does he get into trouble for his philosophy?
  Benjamin of Tudela 1130-1173 Another great traveler of the Mediterranean
  Gerard of Cremona 1114-1187 (Translator from Arabic to Latin) One of the principal early translators
  Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) 965-1040 (Physics, Optics, Mathematics, Astronomy, Scientific Method) Eyes, optics – look at the Jim Al-Khalili BBC documentary
  Ibn Jubayr 1145-1217 A great traveler from Spain who saw the Crusades
  Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) (Historian, Legal Scholar, Philosopher, Sociologist, Ethnographer, Diplomat) One of the first to write a history of the world. Look at how he describes education in Andalusia and North Africa
  Ibn Rushd (Averroes) 1126-1198 (Medicine, Philosophy) Why are so many of his works translated and studied in Paris circa 1250?
  Ibn Sina (Avicenna) 980-1037 (Medicine, Philosophy, Poetry) How is he able to master the study of medicine by the age of 20 ?!?!
  Judah Halevi 1075-1141 (Philosopher, Poet, Physician) Does a lot of everything. What is his signifcance for Cordoba’s Jews?
  Marco Polo 1254-1324 Like the song, “I’ve been everywhere man”
  Marguerite de Navarre (1496-1546)Queen Why is she called The First Modern Woman?
  Moshe ben Maimon (Maimonides) 1135-1204 (Philosophy, Physician, Rabbi) Why does he write in both Hebrew and Arabic?
  Roger Bacon (1214/20-1292) English Scientist, Philosopher, Translator Why does he keep getting into trouble?
  Toledo School of Translators Why did it succed, why didn’t it last?