Awards & Distinctions   - Theses and Dissertations  -  Retirements  - Obituaries


* Recent additions

*Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu
was winner of the 2008 Koyré Medal, the highest award given by the International Academy for the history of science.

*Moustafa Mawaldi, Dean of the Institute of the History of Arabic Science at Aleppo University, is the co-winner of the 2008 Kuwait Prize in the category of Arabic-Islamic Science: Muslim Contributions to Human Civilization.

*Robert Morrison (Bowdoin College, USA),  Juan Martos Quesada (Ciudad Universitaria de Madrid), and Mohsen Zakeri (J.W.
Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main) were recipients of this year's Iranian World Book Award for Islamic studies.

2008 British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize for Middle Eastern Studies was awarded to Medieval Islamic Medicine by Peter E. Pormann and Emilie Savage-Smith (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press [New Edinburgh Islamic Surveys Series], 2007; published simultaneously by Georgetown University Press and The American University in Cairo Press). The award was given at the annual meeting of the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES).

Maravillas Aguiar is head of a 3-year research project (2007-2010) on Andalusian and Maghribi Arabic texts in 15th-century Europe, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology. She is also working (in collaboration with González Marrero) on a 19th-century Portuguese text on the image of the Atlantic Sea Islands near Africa in Arabic, Latin, and Classical Greek sources, sponsored by the "Cabildo de Gran Canaria" (Canary Islands, Spain).

Mercè Comes is IP of 2 projects on nautical cartography in the Mediterrean, sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology: 2005-2008 “Cartografía náutica árabe en el contexto Mediterráneo (c. 1300-1600). Influencias entre oriente y occidente ; and, 2008-2011 “Cartografía náutica árabe en el contexto Mediterráneo (c. 1300-1600). Estudio detallado de las cartas.”

Rosa Comes is IP of the 2008-2009 AMER Project (De al-Àndalus Medieval a l'Europa Renaixentista), "La transmissió dels quadrats astronòmico-matemàtics de al-Àndalus medieval a l'Europa renaixentista. Un cas paradigmàtic de transmissió del saber" sponsored by the University of Barcelona. Mercè Comes is IC of this project.

Benno van Dalen began a research position at the Institute for History of Science in Munich on Jan. 15, 2008. His work, on a project entitled "Transmission of knowledge between Orient and Occident" which was granted in connection with the "Excellence Initiative" of the Ludwig-Maximilians University, entails inviting two guest professors for a period of six months, organizing a conference on the theme of transmission, and producing a volume of original contributions on this topic. Van Dalen also continues his work on a book on "Islamic Astronomy in China," in which he describes and analyzes the Chinese, Arabic, and Persian sources for the astronomical activities of the Muslim scholars who were brought to the capital of the Chinese Yuan dynasty by the Mongols in the late 13th century.

Alexander Jones was awarded the Francis Bacon Prize in the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology. In addition, he has accepted a faculty position for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) at New York University, effective 1 July 2008.

Alain Touwaide and his work in the history of Byzantine science(s) was the focus of an article in the History of Science Society Newsletter (vol. 37, no. 2, April 2008).



John Lennart Berggren is currently Professor Emeritus of the Department of Mathematics, Simon Fraser University, where he taught courses in mathematics, history of mathematics, and mathematics in science and civilization from 1966-2006. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Washington, Seattle, USA in 1966 has been a visiting scholar at Harvard University, Yale University, and the University of Warwick. His research centers around reading and translating ancient Greek and medieval Arabic mathematical texts dealing with geometry, statistics, mathematical cartography, and astronomy as well as studies of transmission of mathematical ideas and methods and their historical development.

For a list of some of his current publications, see section 5, “Publications” in this Newsletter and for a more extensive listing as well as information on his teaching and projects, visit

David A. King, Professor of History of Science and Director of the Institute for the History of Science, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main since 1985, retired in 2007. David received his Ph.D. in 1972 from Yale University in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures (his dissertation was “The Astronomical Works of Ibn Yunus”). Afterwards, he was Director, Smithsonian Institution Project in Medieval Islamic Astronomy, American Research Center in Egypt (1972-79); and Associate, then full Professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Literatures, New York University (1979-85). For well over 30 years of his career, David has contributed significantly and substantially to the documentation of the history of science in medieval Islamic civilization, technical scientific texts but also texts on folk science and the sacred law. The range of subjects of his works include Islamic mathematical astronomy, astronomical instruments, geography, and timekeeping, as well as cataloguing the scientific manuscripts in the Egyptian National Library. Two of his most recent books deal with a medieval number notation and a Renaissance painting.

For a list of current articles see section 5, “Publications” in this Newsletter and for a more extensive listing of his publications, visit


Edward Stewart Kennedy (3 January 1912 -- 4 May 2009). Edward S. Kennedy was born in Mexico in 1912, but the outbreak of civil strife a few years later obliged his American parents to move the family to his mother's home town of Easton, Pennsylvania, where "Ted" and his two brothers were shortly joined by three more boys. He graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering from Lafayette College in Easton in 1932 and then, in part because of the lack of job opportunities created by the Great Depression, accepted an appointment to teach at Alborz College, a secondary school for boys outside Tehran, Iran, run by the American Presbyterian Mission.

He spent the next four years in Iran. Besides teaching, he coached the school basketball team and was Scoutmaster for the Alborz Boy Scout troop. He also became fluent in both spoken and written Farsi, and before leaving Iran co-authored the first Farsi translation of the Boy Scout Handbook. His time in Iran stimulated an interest in Islamic culture and history, and on his return to the US he entered Lehigh University to pursue a PhD in Mathematics, which he completed in 1939. He then joined the University of Alabama as an Assistant Professor, during which time he began to pursue what would become a life-long interest in medieval Persian and Arabic mathematics and astronomy.

A reserve officer in the US Army, he was called into active service in 1941. As one of the few American officers with a command of Farsi, he returned to Iran to be assistant military attaché in Tehran. Iran was a sensitive strategic interest to the US at the time, as the channel through which the Allies resupplied the Red Army in its struggle against the Nazis, and Kennedy was involved in efforts to monitor Soviet intentions in the Soviet-occupied northern part of the country while keeping track of German agents provocateurs throughout the region.

With the close of the war, Kennedy returned briefly to the US. It was at this time that he began a close working relationship and friendship with Dr. Otto Neugebauer, founder of the History of Mathematics Department at Brown University in Rhode Island, a relationship that was to last until Neugebauer' s death in 1990.

With the focus of his research now focusing on medieval Islamic astronomical tables, called zijes in Persian and Arabic, in 1946 Kennedy accepted a professorship at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, in part with a mind to improve his knowledge of Arabic. In 1951 he married Mary Helen Scanlon, a teacher at what was then called the Beirut College for Women (now the Lebanese American University). 1956 saw the publication of his groundbreaking "Survey of Islamic Astronomical Tables" in the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society.

Although Kennedy took periodic leaves to pursue his collaboration with Neugebauer at Brown, he continued to teach in the Mathematics Department for the American University of Beirut for the next 35 years, retiring in 1976 at the close of the first, most vicious phase of the civil war that afflicted Lebanon.

Retirement from teaching implied no let-up in his research activities, with stays at the American Research Center in Egypt (1976-1978) and the Institute for the History of Arabic Science in Aleppo, Syria (1978-1980). Plans to take up permanent residence in what had been their summer house in the mountains overlooking Beirut were thwarted first by the 1982 Israeli invasion and the consequent upsurge in sectarian conflict in Lebanon, and then by the rash of kidnappings of foreigners by militants. Professor and Mrs. Kennedy reluctantly left Lebanon permanently in 1984.

Four years at the Institute for the History of Arab and Islamic Science in Frankfurt were followed by a move to Princeton, New Jersey, in 1989. Despite his many years abroad, Kennedy passed away at the age of 97 not far from his Easton boyhood home, in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

E. S. Kennedy was instrumental in raising scholarly awareness of the richness and sophistication of the exact sciences in the medieval Islamic world through his translation and analysis of hitherto little-known Arabic manuscripts. Professor Emeritus at the American University of Beirut, he was made a member of the Order of al Istiqlal by Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan in 2001 for his contribution to the study of Islamic culture.

He was much appreciated by those who knew him for his modesty and sense of humor as well as his keen loyalty to Mary Helen, a kindred spirit in her love of music and interest in the lands and cultures of the Middle East. He is survived by his wife, three children, and six grandchildren.