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This beautiful data visualization shows what Middle Eastern thinkers discovered long before the West

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America, 500 years before Columbus

Orange sun haze

The history of scientific discovery is very focused on the discoveries of the West, so it’s wonderful to see this beautiful infographic from Information Is Beautiful, which visualizes what Middle Eastern thinkers discovered before their Western counterparts.

Drawing from books about Arab history, as well as Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy and Encyclopedia Britannica, the graphic plots the discoveries of East versus West, by year. For example, almost a thousand years before Copernicus, the Persian scientist Nasīr al-Dīn Tūsī believed that the Sun was the center of the Solar System. And, almost 500 years before Columbus, the Iranian scholar Al-Bīrūni proposed that there was a land to the West — America.

Make sure to head over to the site to explore in more detail, as the image below doesn’t do it justice. You can also see the data here.

Image: Information is Beautiful