Google is celebrating the 971st birthday of Persian mathematician Omar Khayyam. A special and creative doodle has been dedicated to the astronomer-mathematician who was also a poet, philosopher and physician — a polymath who unfortunately did not garner as much fame as the likes of Leornardo da Vinci and many others.
While mostly recognised for his Jalai calendar, understanding of the parallel axiom, classification and solution of cubic equations, his contribution to literature is sometimes missed. In 1079 CE, Khayyam reformed the solar calendar. His work on Algebra was also highly valued in the Middle Ages. But it was with Edward Fitzgerald’s translation of a section of a 1000 verses, titled, ‘Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ in 1839, that the Persian poet became more popular in the Western world.
Since its publication and massive circulation, the work has become one of the most popular classics of world literature. Despite translation issues, of texts that involve in-depth mystical and philosophical ideas of deep complexity, his Rubaiyat has stood the test of time and continues to sell and enlighten minds.
In the “History of Western Philosophy”, Bertrand Russell remarked that Omar Khyyam was the only man known to him who was both a poet and mathematician.
Khayyam also contributed to other fields of science. He developed a method for accurate determination of specific gravity and wrote books on metaphysics.
Despite all this, only 10 of this books and 30 monographs have survived.The enigma around the man and admiration for his work and genius caused the Shah of Iran to exhume his grave and have his remains moved to a huge mausoleum built in Nishapur, built for the sole purpose of paying homage to the legend.
In 2012 as well, Khayyam’s birthday was celebrated by Google. Apart from India, the doodle also appears for users in Russia, the Middle East, North African nations, the US and Chile.