Frontispiece of 'Opticae Thesaurus', 1572.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Frontistpiece taken from the 1572 Latin edition of 'Optics' by Alhazen (c 965-1039). Arab scientist Alhazen (pseudonym of Abu Ali Hasan Ibn al-Haitham) is considered the 'father of modern optics'. Born in Basra, Iraq, he spent most of his life in Spain conducting research in optics, mathematics, medicine and physics. 'Optics' includes the first accurate description of the parts of the eye, the first scientific explanation of the proces of vision, and the first account of atmospheric refraction and reflection from curved surfaces.