Al-Biruni, Abu Rayhan Muhammad ibn Ahmad

Al-Biruni or Al Beruni, Abu Rayhan Muhammad ibn Ahmad

(äbo͞o` rīhän` məhăm`ĭd ĭb`ən ä`məd ăl-bēro͞o`nē, ăl bĕro͞o`nē), b. 973, d. after 1050, Central Asian scientist. His earlier years were disturbed by political troubles, but after 1017 he was patronized by members of the Ghaznavid dynasty of Turkey. He traveled in Afghanistan and India, making astronomical and geographic observations. The largest part of his writings are on astronomy, astrology, and applied mathematics, but he also wrote on pharmacology, geography, philosophy, history, and other subjects. A taste for precise observation is shown in his determinations of latitudes and the densities of gemstones. His encyclopedic India (tr. 1888) and Chronology (tr. 1879) provide invaluable information about his time.