Adelard of Bath

From Academic Kids

Adelard of Bath was a 12th century English scholar. He is best known for translating many important Arabic scientific works of astrology, astronomy, philosophy and mathematics into Latin, including ancient Greek texts which only existed in Arabic form, which were then introduced to Europe. During a period of 7 years he travelled throughout North Africa and Asia Minor. He studied at Tours and taught at Laon.

His best known work is that of his Arabic studies, including those of al-Khwarizmi, collected under the title of Perdifficiles Wuaestiones Naturales (Natural Questions), first mass printed in 1472, in the form of a dialogue between himself and a nephew between 1113 to 1133. In Natural Questions he displays some original thought of a scientific bent, raising the question of the shape of the Earth (he believed it round) and the question of how it remains stationary in space, and also the interesting question of how far a rock would fall if a hole were drilled through the earth and a rock dropped in it, see center of gravity. Also the interesting question of why water experiences difficulty flowing out of a container that has been turned upside down, see atmospheric pressure and vacuum. Many of the other questions addressed reflect the popular culture of the times.

He translated Kharismian Tables and an Arabic Introduction to Astronomy. He wrote a short treatise on the abacus (Regulae abaci). He wrote a treatise on the astrolabe. He translated Euclid's Elements into Latin from an Arabic translation of the Greek original. It was first published in Venice in 1482 after the invention of the printing press and it became the chief text-book of the mathematical schools of Europe.

He wrote De Eodem et Diverso (On Identity and Difference) in the form of letters addressed to his nephew. It is a work of philosophy which contrasts the virtues of the seven liberal arts with worldly interests. He was the founder of the doctrine of indifference (see Scholasticism).

Further reading

  • Adelard of Bath: The First English Scientist, Louise Cochrane, 1995, paperback, ISBN 071411748X
  • Adelard of Bath, Conversations with His Nephew: "on the Same and the Different". "Questions on Natural Science" and "on Birds", Adelard, Adelard of Bath, Italo Ronca, Baudouin Van den Abeele and Charles Burnett, Cambridge University Press, 1999, hardcover, 342 pages, ISBN 0521394716
  • Adelard of Bath: an English scientist and Arabist of the early twelfth century, Charles Burnett, Warburg Institute, University of London, 1987
  • pp. 19-49 A History of Magic and Experimental Science: During the First Thirteen Centuries of Our Era, Volume II, Lynn Thorndike, Columbia University Press, 1923, New York and London, Hardcover, 1036 pages ISBN 0231087950

External links

sl:Adelard sk:Adelard z Bathu

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