Ibn al Haytham - The First Scientist - Alhazen - Ibn al Haitham - Alhacen  

Bradley Steffens, winner of the 2007 Theodor S. Geisel Award


Lunch with a Reviewer

5:03 PM PST, March 17, 2009

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Ertan Salik, assistant professor of physics at Cal Poly University, for lunch at the Pacifica Institute in Irvine. Dr. Salik turned out to be the “E. Salik” whose review of Ibn al-Haytham: First Scientist I have been quoting on the home page of my website for some months now.

I was certain his words appeared as a customer review on amazon.com, but he said he had never written a review for the online bookseller. We checked, and the review was no longer on the page. Was I mistaken? Or had the review vanished? Anyone who can shed light on the topic is invited to comment.

I was disappointed that Dr. Salik’s brief but extremely positive review was gone, but the young professor more than made up for my disappointment by showing me the 1800-word review of Ibn al-Haytham: First Scientist he had written for the May-June 2008 issue of The Fountain, A Magazine of Scientific and Spiritual Thought.

Over a Middle Eastern feast served as lunch, Dr. Salik, who insisted that I call him Ertan, and I discussed a range of topics, from life 1000 years ago to the politics of today. Among other things, Ertan told me about an amazing event being sponsored by the Pacifica Institute that will celebrate life on the Anatolian Peninsula from 5000 B.C. to the present. The Anatolian Cultures and Food Festival will be held over four days and 15 acres at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, April 2-5. The festival will feature a recreation of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul with some 90 booths of vendors hawking their wares.

One of the most interesting features of the festival will be the series of arches leading into the festival. The festival brochure reads, “Upon entering the main entrance, the visitors will begin their walk through Anatolian history. The path leading into the festival grounds will pass under a series of 11 arches, each representing a civilization that resided in Anatolia. Informative signs and panels next to each arch will guide the visitors along the “Path of Anatolia.” Upon crossing the final arch, the visitors will step into contemporary Turkey.” Among the civilizations represented are the Hittite, Trojan, Urartu, Lydian, Byzantine, Roman, Greeks Seljuk, Ottoman and Turkish Republic. The Armenians are represented with the Urartu gate. An artist who is a master of Urartu script is coming to the festival from the city of Van.

I am looking forward to walking through those archways and being transported to the different times and places, possibly coming closer to Ibn al-Haytham's world. 

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