The letters between Ibn Sina and his rival al-Briuni show the Islamic world of the 9th and 10th Centuries was rich in scientific achievement. Both men were also avid geologists and made significant contributions to our understanding of the Earth. Their story proves the Islamic world has been a source of geologic knowledge for centuries.
Ibn Sina was a Persian scientist who in the 1000’s invented the geologic concepts of superposition and uniformitarianism. He also correctly deduced how fossils were formed and used them to reconstruct Earth’s history. He has a good claim to be the true “founding father” of geology.
Shen Kuo wrote about UFOs and the metaphysical in the same text in which he detailed amazing scientific work. Shen’s work “Dream Pool Essays” is more akin to a series of Reddit posts than a scientific journal, but does that make him less of a scientist? Or is our view of science a culturally-biased concept?
Shen Kuo was a talented 11th Century Chinese paleontologist. He wrote at length about sedimentation, geomorphology, marine fossils in mountain peaks and how the distribution of fossil bamboo meant climate had changed through time. He was a foundational paleontologist, and we should know more about him.