Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Kindle Price: £4.99

Save £5.00 (50%)

includes VAT*
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

These promotions will be applied to this item:

Some promotions may be combined; others are not eligible to be combined with other offers. For details, please see the Terms & Conditions associated with these promotions.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science by [Al-Khalili, Jim]
Kindle App Ad

Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

See all 9 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"

Length: 325 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled
  • Due to its large file size, this book may take longer to download

Summer Sale
Choose from over 450 books on sale from 99p. Shop now
Get a £1 reward for movies or TV
Enjoy a £1.00 reward to spend on movies or TV on Amazon Video when you purchase any Amazon Kindle Book from the Kindle Store (excluding Kindle Unlimited, Periodicals and free Kindle Books) offered by Amazon.co.uk. A maximum of 1 reward per customer applies. UK customers only. Offer ends at 23:59 on Wednesday, September 27, 2017. Terms and conditions apply

Product description


Brings alive the bubbling invention and delighted curiosity of the Islamic world ... his command of Arabic mathematical physics invests his story with sympathy as well as authority (Tim Radford Guardian)

A fascinating and user-friendly guide to this whole scientific movement (Noel Malcolm Seven, Sunday Telegraph)

Jim Al-Khalili has a passion for bringing to a wider audience not just the facts of science but its history ... Just as the legacy of Copernicus and Darwin belongs to all of us, so does that of Ibn Sina and Ibn al-Haytham. To think otherwise, as this book so powerfully reveals, is to do disservice to the tradition to which they belong (Kenan Malik Independent)

Spry, informative and timely ... Al-Khalili takes the reader through a brisk survey of the highlights of the period (Stuart Kelly Scotland on Sunday)

A fascinating introduction to a neglected area. His approachable style and ability to distil extensive knowledge into simple narrative makes Pathfinders an absorbing read (Siobhan Murphy Metro)

Enjoyable and informative ... provides ample evidence for the compatibility of Islam and science (Sameer Rahim Daily Telegraph)

He has brought a great story out of the shadows (Literary Review)

This captivating book is a timely reminder of the debt owed by the West to the intellectual achievements of Arab, Persian and Muslim scholars (The Times)

About the Author

Jim Al-Khalili OBE is a theoretical physicist, author and broadcaster. He is currently Professor of Physics at the University of Surrey, where he also holds the first Surrey chair in the public engagement in science. He was awarded the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize for science communication in 2007, elected Honorary Fellow of the British Association for the Advancement of Science and has also received the Institute of Physic's Public Awareness of Physics Award. Born in Baghdad, Jim was educated in Iraq until the age of 16 and it was there, being taught by Arabic teachers in Arabic that he first heard and learnt about the great Arab scientists and philosophers. He has long championed the influence of Islam on science and hopes to bring attention to the rich Arab heritage in our understanding of science today.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 43800 KB
  • Print Length: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (30 Sept. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0046ZRZ3K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #43,888 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  • Would you like to tell us about a lower price?

Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
A stupendous piece of work by the author and a fascinating read once you get into it. And by putting the work of the scientists of this period into perspective the book also brings out and explains many of the basic scientific issues that have intrigued our species. It also illuminates historical aspects of the relationship between the Islamic world and "the west". I just wish the author had got stuck into the subject matter more quickly and saved us his personal history and photos of himself in Baghdad!

Comment 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book by a great author. No prior knowledge needed and he doesn't mansplain things at you like some authors.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an interesting book, plugging the gap between the Greeks and the Renaissance in the commonly-told history of science. The ground Al-Khalili covers isn't particularly original, I suspect, but quite a lot of what he had to say was new to me. He writes well, clearly and with expertise, particularly about the Maths and the Physical sciences. In fact I would have liked a bit more detail in these areas. In spite of a useful chapter at the beginning explaining how Arabic names work, I found the impressive list of Arabic scholars the book covers, each with the latinised version of his name as well as the original, was a bit confusing, but that's my problem really. Slightly oddly, Al-Khalili frames the history with his own experiences growing up in Bhagdad, and that of previous generations of his family. This could have been a bit sentimental, but wasnt, and helped to show how Arabic science is faring in the current day. Interesting parallels can be drawn between the burning of the Arabic libraries when the Arabic-speaking world was turning to a more fundamental version of Islam at the start of the Renaissance, and attitudes to science in the US now
Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Pathfinders: The golden age of Arabic science, by Jim al-Khalili, Allen Lane, 2010, 336 ff.

The origins of western science
By Howard Jones

In 2002, in her book Ornament of the World, Maria Rosa Menocal gave us an insight into the debt we owe the Islamic civilization of al-Andalus, which from 750 to 1492 did so much to shape the western culture of the post-Renaissance. We tend to think of western science as essentially beginning with Copernicus, with a nod in the direction of some of the ancient Greek philosophers, such as Aristarchus for the heliocentric theory; or Leucippus and Democritus for the atomic theory. Bertrand Russell portrayed the Islamic scholars as doing little other than transcribe the scientific philosophy of ancient Greece. Menocal showed us how Christian, Jewish and Islamic scholars worked together in harmony not only to render ancient Greek ideas into Arabic, Hebrew and Latin, but also to create much that was new. Al-Khalili adds to this source of original knowledge.

Jim al-Khalili presents another side of this story, but his book focuses on the 9th century Abbasid caliphate of Abu Ja'far Abdullah al-Ma'mum that was centred on Baghdad. It was called Bayt al-Hikma, the House of Wisdom. Jim al-Khalili is Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Surry and has already written one of the more accessible books on quantum physics. There were scholars in Baghdad in many of the scientific disciplines. The names of some of these have emerged in the west over recent decades, like al-Khwarizmi whose book, the title of which is abbreviated to al-Jebr, gave us our algebra; al-Biruni, who was a contemporary of Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and debated the philosophy of science with him.
Read more ›
1 Comment 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
An unusual book from Mr. Al-Khalili, but a very interesting one nonetheless. Part scientific study, part Islamic history, The Golden Age of Arabic Science describes how past Islamic Empires contributed to humanity's understanding of science and paved the way for the Renaissance in Europe a few centuries later. Building on Ancient Greek and Indian thinking, the Arabs of the Middle Ages expanded scientific thought beyond what had been known at the time. I was very impressed and Mr. Al-Khalili has sparked my interest in further study of the history of the Islamic Caliphates.

The author describes how Islamic scientific thinking grew after the establishment of the Abbasid Caliphate in the eighth century. The scholarly minded Caliph, al-Ma'mun, was a huge enthusiast of study and encouraged scholars of all creeds and beliefs to come to the empire to further their knowledge. By the middle of the ninth century the imperial capital of Baghdad was to become a centre of excellence for scientific progress. Mr. Al-Khalili identifies the areas where progress was made; mathematics, medicine, astronomy and chemistry were all to see advances and the author identifies particular scientists of the era and how they made history. Arab scientists were to make headway in the use of experimentation in their pursuit of knowledge.

The phenomena known as the 'Translation Movement' had a major impact on Abbasidian science and witnessed the translation of many Ancient Greek texts by philosophers and scientists of the day. Abbasid science was also to be heavily influenced by pre-Muslim Persian culture and (believe it or not) the invention of paper as a cheaper way to record results and data.
Read more ›
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most recent customer reviews

click to open popover