The Father of chemistry
By Syed Dawood Shah

Jabir Bin Hayyan

Published in: History, World, Science
Date: 03 / 05 / 19

Abu Musa Jabir Ibn Hayyan born 721 A.D in Tus,Iran often referred to by the Latinized version of his name Geber, was an alchemist, chemist, geographer, physician, physicist, astrologer, astronomer, pharmacist, and philosopher all rolled into one.

Eric John Holmyard legitimately names him ‘The Father of Chemistry’. According to Holmyard, one of the fundamental aspects Jabir brought forward was the development of the practical side of chemistry: performing experiments.

 Jabir emphasised the importance of experimenting as follows: ‘The most essential in chemistry is that you should perform practical work and conduct experiments, for he who performs not practical work nor makes experiments will never attain the least degree of mastery.’

The works of Jabir include this chemical processes; 

His experiments with various chemical processes allowed him to trigger reactions like reduction, calcination and perhaps the most important: distillation.

The preparation of sulphuric and nitric acid.

The separation of gold from other metals through the agency of lead and saltpeter.

The production of aqua regia, a solvent capable of dissolving gold, by mixing salmiac.

The concept of a chemical compound; the mineral cinnabar, for example, as being composed of sulfur and mercury.

The purification of mercury.

The preparation of arsenious acid. And many more.

In order to perform his experiments accurately, he designed different kinds of new vessels like the retort and alembic.

According to The Cultural Atlas of Islam by Ismail al-Faruqi Jabir invented a kind of paper that resisted fire, and an ink that could be read at night. He invented an additive which, when applied to an iron surface, inhabited rust and when applied to a textile, would make it water repellent.

He was a deeply religious man, and repeatedly emphasizes in his works 'the importance of religious life in pursuing the scientific'.


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