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Talks focus on Arabic influence in math and science

Sept. 20, 2010

KALAMAZOO--A visiting scholar will address the historical influence of Arabic scientists and mathematicians in talks next week on the Western Michigan University campus.

Dr. Roshdi Rashed, regarded as the world's leading authority on the history of mathematics in Islamic civilizations, will speak Wednesday, Sept. 22, and Thursday, Sept. 23. His talk on Wednesday is titled "Rewriting the History of Mathematics: Fundamental Significance of Arabic Accomplishments" and is from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Walwood Commons of Walwood Hall on WMU's East Campus. His talk on Thursday is titled "Science and Philosophy in Medieval Islam" and is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Room 1720 of the Chemistry Building on WMU's West Campus. A reception prior to Thursday's presentation will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Chemistry Building's main lobby.

Rashed is currently director of research emeritus at the National Center for Scientific Research, a government-funded research organization, under the administrative authority of France's Ministry of Research.

His prizes and distinctions include: member (1983), vice president (1997) and Alexandre Koyre Laureate (1990) of the International Academy of the History of Science; France's 1989 Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur; member of Cairo's Academy of the Arabic Language (1989); Iran's World Prize for the best book on Islamic studies in 1998; the 1999 Avicenna Medal of UNESCO; member of the Royal Academy of Belgium (2002); and the 2007 King Faisal Prize for Islamic Studies. His most recent book, published this year, is a critical edition and English translation of al‐Khwarizmi's Algebra, written around AD 820, the first systematic treatise on the topic.

Rashed's visit is co-sponsored by the departments of Mathematics and History, the Medieval Institute, the Muslim Students Association and the Graduate College.

Established in 1960, the Visiting Scholars and Artists Program significantly contributes to the intellectual life of WMU and the community. The program provides funds for academic units to bring distinguished scholars and artists to campus. These visitors meet with faculty and students in their fields and address the community at large.

Since the program began, it has supported more 600 visits by scholars and artists representing more than 60 academic disciplines.

For more information on Rashed's visit, contact the Department of History at (269) 387-4650.

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Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400