Full name: Abu Yusuf Yaqub ibn Ishaq al-Sabbah al-Kindi
Born: About 801 in Kufa, Iraq
Most influential work: Wrote more than 361 works on a variety of subjects including ‘The Book of the Chemistry of Perfume and Distillations’
Al-Kindi was an encyclopaedic man, working as a physician, mathematician, geometer, chemist, logician and astronomer. A son of the governor of Kufa, he studied there at Baghdad’s House of Wisdom, where he gained a high reputation at the caliph’s court for translation, science, and philosophy. Caliph al-Mutassim also chose him as a tutor to his son Ahmed.
His contributions include an introduction to arithmetic, eight manuscripts on the theory of numbers, and two on measuring proportions and time. He was the first to develop spherical geometry, and used this in his astronomical works. He wrote on spherics, the construction of an azimuth on a sphere, and how to level a sphere.