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Muslims & The History of Gravitational Theory

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Muslims & The History of Gravitational Theory

Post by Mohamed on Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:33 am


The 11th century Persian astronomer Abu al-Rayhan
, in his Ta'rikh al-Hind, later translated into Latin as Indica, commented on their
works and wrote that critics refuting Aryabhata's heliocentric system
<blockquote class="templatequote">"If such were the case, stones would and trees would fall from the
Al-Biruni (1030), Ta'rikh al-Hind
According to Biruni, Brahmagupta responded to these criticisms with the
following argument:
<blockquote class="templatequote">"On the contrary, if that were the case, the earth would not vie in keeping
an even and uniform pace with the minutes of heaven, the pranas of the times. [...] All heavy things are attracted
towards the center of the earth. [...] The earth on all its sides is the same;
all people on earth stand upright, and all heavy things fall down to the earth
by a law of nature, for it is the nature of the earth to attract and to keep
things, as it is the nature of water to flow, that of fire to burn, and that of
wind to set in motion… The earth is the only low thing, and seeds always return
to it, in whatever direction you may throw them away, and never rise upwards
from the earth."
Brahmagupta, in Al-Biruni (1030), Ta'rikh
The Sanskrit term Brahmagupta
used for gravity, gruhtvaakarshan, phonetically similar to the English
'gravity', had roughly the same meaning as "attraction".
Al-Biruni himself described the Earth's gravitation as:[3]
<blockquote class="templatequote">"The attraction of all things towards the centre of the
In the 9th century, the eldest Banū Mūsā brother, Muhammad ibn
, in his Astral Motion and The Force of Attraction,
hypothesized that there was a force of
attraction between heavenly bodies,[4] foreshadowing Newton's law of universal
In the 1000s, Ibn
(Alhacen), a contemporary of Biruni, discussed the theory of
attraction between masses, and it seems that
he was aware of the magnitude of acceleration due to gravity.[6]
In 1121, Al-Khazini, in
The Book of the Balance of Wisdom, differentiated between force, mass, and weight,[7] and
claimed that gravity varies with the distance from the centre of the Earth,[8] though he
believed that the weight of heavy bodies increased as they moved farther from
the centre of the Earth.
<blockquote class="templatequote">"The weight of any heavy body, of known weight at a particular distance
from the centre of the world, varies according to the variation of its distance
therefrom; so that, as often as it is removed from the centre, it becomes
heavier, and when brought nearer to it, is lighter. On this account, the
relation of gravity to gravity is as the relation of distance to distance from
the centre."[9][10]

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