Charles Burnett (Warburg Institute), "Muslims, Jews, Christians, and the Astrolabe: The Establishment of a New Science"

Tuesday 10 June, 5:30-6:30 pm

This year's Selig Brodetsky Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Professor Charles Burnett, who is Professor of the History of Islamic Influences in Europe at the Warburg Institute, University of London.  The lecture will take place on Tuesday 10 June at 5:30 in the Nathan Bodington Council Chamber, in the Parkinson Building, on the University campus.  All are welcome, though free tickets should be booked at:

A wine reception will follow.  The abstract for the lecture is appended below.

This series of annual lectures was established in memory of Selig Brodetsky (1888-1954), who occupied the Chair of Applied Mathematics at the University of Leeds from 1924 to 1948.  Following Brodetsky's death in 1954 a number of his friends and admirers founded the series of memorial lectures that bears his name.  Each year a lecture is delivered that addresses some aspect of Jewish studies and/or science and mathematics.

The Brodetsky lectures are organized by the Centre for Jewish Studies, in collaboration with the Centre for History and Philosophy of Science (School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science) and the School of Mathematics.

For further information about the lecture, please contact Dr Eva Frojmovic at [log in to unmask]

"Muslims, Jews, Christians, and the Astrolabe: The Establishment of a New Science"

Within the ten-year period from 1140 to 1150, the first texts on the astrolabe were written in Hebrew, and several translations and original works were written in Latin. The texts were either translations of, or closely dependent on Arabic originals, and there is evidence for collaboration between Jewish and Christian scholars, and access to Arabic libraries, if not to Arabic practitioners themselves. Particularly significant is the situation in Barcelona, where Plato of Tivoli collaborated with Abraham Bar Hiyya, and in Béziers, where Hermann of Carinthia and his student, Rudolph of Bruges were working, and where Abraham Ibn Ezra wrote a treatise on the astrolabe in 1148. The establishment of the 'new science' of the astrolabe will be investigated in the intellectual context of the mathematical disciplines in general, and in the historical context of faith communities in Barcelona and Béziers.

Gregory Radick
Professor of History and Philosophy of Science
School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science
University of Leeds
Leeds LS2 9JT, UK

Tel: (UK) 0113 343 3269
Email: [log in to unmask]

Editor-in-Chief, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences