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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index B > Al- Biruni Quotes

Al- Biruni
(973 - c. 1050)

Arabian natural philosopher and astronomer.

Science Quotes by Al- Biruni (6 quotes)

But if you have seen the soil of India with your own eyes and meditate on its nature - if you consider the rounded stones found in the earth however deeply you dig, stones that are huge near the mountains and where the rivers have a violent current; stones that are of smaller size at greater distance from the mountains, and where the streams flow more slowly; stones that appear pulverised in the shape of sand where the streams begin to stagnate near their mouths and near the sea - if you consider all this, you could scarcely help thinking that India has once been a sea which by degrees has been filled up by the alluvium of the streams.
— Al- Biruni
Alberuni's India, trans. E. C. Sachau (1888), Vol. 1, 198.
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For it is the same whether you take it that the Earth is in motion or the Sky. For, in both the cases, it does not affect the Astronomical Science. It is just for the Physicist to see if it is possible to refute it.
— Al- Biruni
In Syed Hasan Barani, 'Al-Biruni's Scientific Achievements', Indo-Iranica, 1952, S (4), 47.
Science quotes on:  |  Astronomy (231)  |  Both (494)  |  Earth (998)  |  Motion (312)  |  Physicist (260)  |  Physics (533)  |  Possible (554)  |  Science (3880)  |  See (1082)  |  Sky (163)

I can only compare their [Hindu] astronomical and mathematical literature … to a mixture of pearl shells and sour dates, or of pearls and dung, or of costly crystals and common pebbles. Both kinds of things are equal in their eyes, since they cannot rise themselves to the methods of strictly scientific deduction.
— Al- Biruni
As translated by Edward C. Sachau, in Alberuni’s India: An Account of the Religion, Philosophy, Literature, Geography, Chronology, Astronomy, Customs, Laws and Astrology of India about A.D. 1030 (1910), Vol. 1, 25.
Science quotes on:  |  Astronomy (231)  |  Compare (70)  |  Crystal (69)  |  Dung (8)  |  Hindu (4)  |  Literature (105)  |  Mathematics (1333)  |  Mixture (42)  |  Pearl (7)  |  Pebble (26)  |  Scientific Method (176)  |  Shell (64)  |  Value (368)

I have seen the astrolabe called Zuraqi invented by Abu Sa’id Sijzi. I liked it very much and praised him a great deal, as it is based on the idea entertained by some to the effect that the motion we see is due to the Earth’s movement and not to that of the sky. By my life, it is a problem difficult of solution and refutation. … For it is the same whether you take it that the Earth is in motion or the sky. For, in both cases, it does not affect the Astronomical Science. It is just for the physicist to see if it is possible to refute it.
— Al- Biruni
As quoted in 'Pioneer of Scientific Observation', The UNESCO Courier (1974), 27, xlix.
Science quotes on:  |  Astronomy (231)  |  Earth (998)  |  Motion (312)  |  Sky (163)

Once a sage asked why scholars always flock to the doors of the rich, whilst the rich are not inclined to call at the doors of scholars. “The scholars” he answered , “are well aware of the use of money, but the rich are ignorant of the nobility of science.”
— Al- Biruni
As translated by Edward C. Sachau, in Alberuni’s India: An Account of the Religion, Philosophy, Literature, Geography, Chronology, Astronomy, Customs, Laws and Astrology of India about A.D. 1030 (1910), Vol. 1, 188.
Science quotes on:  |  Aware (32)  |  Ignorant (90)  |  Money (173)  |  Nobility (5)  |  Rich (63)  |  Sage (24)  |  Scholar (50)  |  Science (3880)

You well know … for which reason I began searching for a number of demonstrations proving a statement due to the ancient Greeks … and which passion I felt for the subject … so that you reproached me my preoccupation with these chapters of geometry, not knowing the true essence of these subjects, which consists precisely in going in each matter beyond what is necessary. … Whatever way he [the geometer] may go, through exercise will he be lifted from the physical to the divine teachings, which are little accessible because of the difficulty to understand their meaning … and because the circumstance that not everybody is able to have a conception of them, especially not the one who turns away from the art of demonstration.
— Al- Biruni
From the preface to Book on the Finding of Chords (c. 1030), in English from German translation by Heinrich Suter (1910), as quoted and cited in Jens Hψyrup, In Measure, Number, and Weight: Studies in Mathematics and Culture (1994), 112.
Science quotes on:  |  Demonstration (114)  |  Geometry (259)  |  Understand (607)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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