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Is it actually worth it to read the Book of Optics by Alhazen to get basic knowledge about Optics? I know it's way too old but this book was important in the optics field. Also where can I find it cause I looked in Amazon with no luck. I'm fine with an English copy or Arabic copy

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2 Answers 2

As usual with this kind of question, you have to define what you mean by "worth". It's probably (rather: it's surely) not the first book that you should refer to for photography. On the other hand, it is a book of enormous importance in the history of mankind, so it is worth, in the sense that a masterpiece is always worthwhile.

In this vein, have you already read Galilei's works? They are (in my opinion) rather enjoyable even for modern readers and they surely are masterpieces (scientific and literary ones).

UPDATE, as requested

From a brief search on Amazon, here are some links. I don't know about the quality of the editions, since I read them in the original version.

As a minimum, Galilei is relevant if you are interested into astronomy. The use of the telescope is also quite relevant... and now I will stop arguing about the relevance of Galilei, since he certainly doesn't need me :-)

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do you have a link where I can purchase his books? preferably from Amazon? –  akram Jun 26 '12 at 13:27

It would be worth reading if you are interested in the history of science. It really depends on your interests. You would probably need a reasonable understanding of optics and physiology, so you can appreciate where he's right or wrong.

The wikipedia link you gave also has links to english translations. For example, this one:

http://www.worldcat.org/title/alhacen-on-the-principles-of-reflection-a-critical-edition-with-english-translation-and-commentary-of-the-first-three-books-of-alhacens-de-aspectibus-the-medieval-latin-version-of-ibn-al-haythams-kitab-al-manazir/oclc/123464885/editions?referer=di&editionsView=true

Looking at a few of the listings I can see links to amazon.co.uk and Barnes & Noble.

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