Mohammed Ibn Ahmad Abu Rayhan Al-Biruni (September 15 973 – December 13 1048 AD), born in

Khwarizm, in what is presently

Uzbekistan. He studied mathematics and astronomy under

Abu Nasr Mansur. Al-Biruni authored more than 146 titles in more than 20 different disciplines, ranging in areas such as

astronomy,

mathematics,

geography,

chronology,

mechanics,

pharmacology,

mineralogy,

history,

literature,

religion, and

philosophy.

Despite the width of his disciplines, the depth of his work concentrated on mathematics and its related sub disciplines, totaling over 96 titles. Of these titles, 22 survived and 13 have been published in modern times.

In works related to chronology (Al-Athar), Al-Biruni combines literary and historical sources of medieval sects with myths about their rituals. His demarcation of the coordinates of cities was written in a way so the location of

Qibla (pinpointing Mecca's direction) can be determined.

His largest work is entitled

Al-Qanun Al-Mas'udi, totaling 1500 pages. In it he determines the motion of the solar zenith and corrects

Ptolemy's findings. Additionally, in this book, he describes mathematical techniques unknown to his predecessors, involving analysis of instantaneous motion and acceleration that can be best understood if we assumed he had mathematical functions in mind.

Six hundred years before

Galileo, Al-Biruni wrote the assumption that Earth rotated around its own axis. Using an

astrolabe near the sea, he calculated Earth's circumference by solving a complex

geodesic equation, yielding the result of Earth's radius to 6,339.6 km. The technique was replicated in

Europe by the 16th century.

With the heavy reliance on mathematics, he enabled the direction of the Qibla to be determined from anywhere in the world.

Max Meyerhof observed and wrote in 1931 that most of Al-Biruni's mathematical works and other writings have not been published yet.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Biruni

http://www.albalagh.net/kids/history/biruni.shtml

http://academic.emporia.edu/aberjame/histgeol/biruni/biruni.htm

http://members.tripod.com/~wzzz/BIRUNI.html

http://zia.rahin.iwarp.com/albiruni.htm