Ibn Al Shater -Early Life

Ibn Al-Shater was born in Damascus around 1340. His father died when he was at the age of six. His uncle taught him at a very young age crafting with materials like enamel, ivory and metal. Later in life is attentions completely drifted from crafting to math and he later became “the leading astronomer“ of his time. He was considered to be the earliest astronomer to introduce experiments into planetary theory, in order to test the Ptolemaic models. His work on his experiments and observations, didn’t survive but there are a lot of explanation of his work in “The Final Quest Concerning the Rectification of Principles”. In Damascus he was appointed to be in a position of muwaqqit, “timekeeper” at the Umayyad mosque, which is basically where he decided to invent a new astronomical clock called an “astrolabe.” The astrolabe is basically shaped like an arch, and is placed perpendicularly to a wall and part of the instrument that basically goes around once every twenty-four hours displaying both “the equinoctial and the seasonal hours.” After his death in 1375, knowledge of his inventions started spreading and he was completely known by Europeans where Copernicus knew of them. It is said that Ibn Il Shater’s “lunar model” was picked up by Copernicus into “the heliocentric model” that is very popular today. Not much is known about him in The Arab world, which is a bit ironic since he’s an Arab scholar and seems to be more popular in the European and western part of the world. What historians know about his early life is very limited which is also a bit sad considering the fact that he has discovered and invented a lot of things that is now being used. His work and early life should atleast be appreciated by certain people around the world.