Total eclipse of the Moon: The Art of Science
Total eclipse of the Moon from Nasr al-Din al-Tusi's Sharh al-Tadhkirah. Iran, 12 c. AD
I found this image last year at the Instutute of Ismaili Studies website while looking for a diagram to illustrate an eclipse for a text I had set in a reading exam for science students. This diagram, drawn eight hundred years ago, shows how the Medieval polymath, Nasr al-Din al-Tusi, used trigonometry to calculate the relavive sizes of the Sun and the moon and to calculate their distances from Earth. The science itself is astonishing, but what I found even more striking is the beauty of the illustration. Beauty is all around us. Its appreciation is what makes us human.