Umar Khayyam, an Islamic poet, and mathematician, was born around 1048 in Nishapur, a prominent centre of learning in Iran, and is best known in his native country for his mathematical achievements.
After completing his education in Nishapur, he travelled to Samarkand, now in Uzbekistan, where he completed his famous work, Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra, on which rests his mathematical reputation. He discovered a geometrical method of solving cubic equations by intersecting a parabola with a circle, and extended the work on extraction of cube and fourth roots to the extraction of nth roots for arbitrary whole numbers. His reputation resulted in an invitation from the Seljuk* Sultan to Isfahan, in Iran, to undertake the astronomical observations necessary to reform the calendar.
An observatory was built there in order for him to accomplish this task and a new, more accurate calendar was produced; it was adopted as the official Persian calendar on March 15, 1079 and became the base for the Gregorian and other calendars.
Umar Khayyam’s works influenced the English mathematician John Wallis (1616-1703), who contributed substantially to the origins of calculus, and was the most influential English mathematician before Isaac Newton. Several treatises on other scientific topics are also attributed to Khayyam: a work on music theory that uses ratios to deal with musical intervals, another on weights and balances, and another on a mathematical problem in metallurgy.
Having mastered philosophy, jurisprudence, history, mathematics, medicine, and astronomy, Umar taught and served the court in Nishapur where he died in 1131.
A lunar crater is named after Umar Khayyam in recognition of his contribution to astronomy.
Visit Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature to view the location of this crater.
*Seljuk: Major Muslim dynasty of Turkish origin in Persia and Iraq (1040–1194) and Syria (1078–1178)
- Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Professor Mehdi Aminrazavi, An Anthology of Philosophy in Persia, Vol. 1: From Zoroaster to ‘Umar Khayyam, I.B. Taurus & Co. Ltd, London, 2008
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Fall 2011 Edition
Research by Nimira Dewji
Earlier & Related:
Get breaking news related to the Ismaili Imamat, the world wide Ismaili Muslim community and all their creativity, endeavors and successes.
Inspired? Share the story
Want to inspire? Send your stories to us at Ismailimail@gmail.com
Subscribe and join 19,000 + other individuals – Subscribe now!
Earlier & Related – Nimira Dewji at Ismailimail Archives:
- This month in history: The Syrian fortress of Masyaf was captured
- Carpets derived their names from artists in Europe in whose paintings they appeared
- Metalwares were often used to display wealth, power or scholarly life
- This month in history: Ivanow came into contact with Ismailis for the first time
- The style and quality of illumination added value to the book as a treasured object
- Today in history: Nizari Quhistani, one of the most distinguished Persian poets, set off on a two-year journey
- This month in history: Imam Hasan Ali Shah Aga Khan I established his residence in Bombay (now Mumbai)
- Countdown to Diamond Jubilee – Snapshots of Imamat – 1993 to 1997
- Commemorating 40th Anniversary of Aga Khan Award for Architecture
- Today in history: Aga Khan Foundation was established
- Rashid al-Din Sinan had strength of character and was a master of the art of diplomacy
- The scholar known as the father of chemistry was a student of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq
- Fatimid Imam al-Mu’izz: “I have responsibility… as your Imam…My concern…lies…in what protects your lives, makes your lands prosper…”
- Countdown to Diamond Jubilee – Snapshots of Imamat – 1988 to 1992
- In medieval times, the manufacture of textiles was one of the principal luxury industries