Browsing through the James Trefil’s The Nature of Science, published by Houghton Mifflin Company in 2003, gives an intellectual pleasure for the most of the time. Its wide scope of scientific inquiry, limpid definitions of complex problems are indeed praiseworthy. However, the book usually passes over in silence great scientists outside Europe and North America. The author has managed to vividly narrate about trivial topics such as a Niels Bohr’s superstition and Fibonacci numbers, but he has failed to pay due respect to the founder of algebra – the great mathematician al-Khwārizmī (780-850) from the Central Asia. Egyptian architect, civil engineer and physician Imhotep (circa 2600 BCE), who is considered one of the first scientists ever, and the inventor of paper Tsai Lun (II century of CE) from China were not even mentioned in the book.
The ruins of Otrar (South Kazakhstan), where the largest library in medieval world was located
Well, Professor Trefil, willingly or unwillingly, has conducted a sort of face control, like a night club’s doorman. I hope, he has not measured skullbones for that purpose, as Nazis did. Unfortunately, there are many cases of such narrow-mindedness in the West, especially in the field of mass culture. By and large, they regard other civilizations as aliens. Remember savages from King Kong, Tarzan, etc.? Here is another example of rudimentary knowledge. According to Guinness World Records 2009, William Shakespeare (England, 1564-1616) is the most translated author, whose works had been translated into at least 116 languages as of October 2005. But a Kirghiz writer Chingiz Aitmatov (1928-2008) actually surpassed that record. His works in Kirghiz and Russian have been translated into more than 170 languages with more than 60 million copies sold.