Nasir al-Din al-Tusi contributed to the heliocentric model of planetary motion.
Researched by Nimira Dewji
Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (1201-1274), a renowned Muslim scholar, spent three decades at Alamut writing works on astronomy, theology, philosophy, and other subjects. Historians agree that it is primarily through Al-Tusi’s extant works that they have an understanding of the Nizari Ismaili thought as it developed during the Alamut period (1090-1256). Many of Nasir’s works became the standard in a variety of disciplines. His work on astronomy, al-Tadhkira fi ‘ilm al-hay’a (Memoir on the Science of Astronomy), had an enormous influence on the subsequent history of astronomy evidenced by the significant number of extant manuscript copies of this text as well as the large number of commentaries written on the Tadhkira.
In April 2006, F. Jamil Ragep, a professor of history of science at the University of Oklahoma, delivered a lecture making the link between the theories of Copernicus in the sixteenth century, and the works of Nasir al-Din al-Tusi in the thirteenth century. Ragep believes that Tusi’s work, carried out at Alamut as well as the observatory at Maragha (in Iran), and inventions such as the “Tusi Couple” were critical to Copernicus’s understanding of the heliocentric model of the planetary motion.
Al-Noor Merchant, Nasir al-Din al-Tusi and Astronomy. The Institute of Ismaili Studies
Norriss S. Hetherington, Planetary Motions – A Historical Perspective. Greenwood Press, Westport, 2006