Thought Exchange: Science and Technology in the Medieval Islamic World

January 12, 2011 | Miriam

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During the eighth and ninth centuries, while Europe was locked in the Dark Ages, Muslim civilization was at its zenith. Were if not for the scientists and thinkers of the medieval Islamic world, the modern world would not have algebra, modern medicine, astronomy and much else. Dr. Ingrid Hehmeyer, Associate Professor, History of Science and Technology, Ryerson University, explores this fascinating history in a series of talks at Runnymede Branch beginning Wednesday, January 19, at 6:30 pm.

The first talk is on Medical Science and Practice, the second, on January 25, takes up Astronomy Under Islam and on February 2 she will discuss her recent fieldwork in Yemen, “Water and Waste in a Medieval Islamic City.”

Dr. Hehmeyer is an agricultural engineer who specializes in human-environmental relationships in the arid regions of ancient and medieval Arabia. Her current field research focuses on the history of water technology in medieval Yemen, where she investigates technical innovations in hydraulic engineering and strategies for water management that allowed people to live under harsh environmental conditions. Her second area of research is the history of the medical sciences in the Islamic world. A licensed pharmacist, she is particularly interested in the use of medicinal substances and their manufacture. For a glimpse of some of this research, have a look at  Islam's forgotten contributions to medical science (CMAJ, 8 May 2007), co-authored by Dr. Ingrid Hehmeyer and Dr. Aliya Khan, Professor of Clinical Medicine, Divisions of Endocrinology and Geriatrics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont.


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