Maryam Mirzakhani (Persian: مریم میرزاخانی, pronounced [mæɾˈjæm miːɾzɑːxɑːˈniː]; 12 May 1977 – 14 July 2017) was an Iranian mathematician and a professor of mathematics at Stanford University. Her research topics included Teichmüller theory, hyperbolic geometry, ergodic theory, and symplectic geometry. In 2005, as a result of her research, she was honored in Popular Science's fourth annual "Brilliant 10" in which she was acknowledged as one of the top 10 young minds who have pushed their fields in innovative directions.
On 13 August 2014, Mirzakhani was honored with the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics. Thus, she became both the first, and to date, the only woman and the first Iranian to be honored with the award. The award committee cited her work in "the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces".
On 14 July 2017, Mirzakhani died of breast cancer at the age of 40.
- "Maryam Mirzakhani" | 2020-02-21 | 299 Upvotes 33 Comments
Taarof or Tarof (also transliterated as Taʿârof; Persian: تعارف) is a Persian word which refers to an Iranian form of civility or art of etiquette that emphasizes both deference and social rank.
Etymologically the origins of the word trace back to an Arabic word meaning "acquaintance" or "knowledge", but Iranians have transformed taarof into something "uniquely Iranian" and tend to understand it as a ritual politeness that levels the playing field and promotes equality in a hierarchical culture. Taarof between friends, or a host and guest, emphasizes the value of friendship as a priority to everything else in the world. Another understanding is that taarof is a way of managing social relations with decorous manners. It could be used as a basis for mutual goodwill (positively) or as "a social or political weapon that confuses the recipient and puts him at a disadvantage" (negatively). Those who are intimately familiar with Iranian culture seem to agree that taarof is one of the most fundamental things to understand about Iranian culture.
According to Middle East scholar William O. Beeman, "Taarof is an extraordinarily difficult concept encompassing a broad complex of behaviors which mark and underscore differences in social status." For example, in Iranian culture, whoever walks through a doorway first gets a form of status, but the person who makes the other go through the door first also gains status by having made the other person do it through their show of grace and deference. When it comes to matters of rank, "one defers to superiors (tribute), and confers on inferiors (favor), presses honor on equals (neither tribute nor favor) or accepts the honor from a proper source, and thereby "wins". Status is relative for individuals in different interactions, according to Beeman, and rights and obligations shift constantly with changes in social environments.
- "Taarof" | 2015-06-10 | 135 Upvotes 83 Comments
Nowruz (Persian: نوروز, pronounced [nowˈɾuːz]; lit. "new day") is the Iranian New Year, also known as the Persian New Year, which is celebrated worldwide by various ethno-linguistic groups.
Nowruz has Iranian and Zoroastrian origins, however, it has been celebrated by diverse communities for over 7,000 years in Western Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea Basin, the Balkans, and South Asia. It is a secular holiday for most celebrants that is enjoyed by people of several different faiths, but remains a holy day for Zoroastrians, Bahais, and some Muslim communities.
Nowruz is the day of the vernal equinox, and marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. It marks the first day of the first month (Farvardin) of the Iranian calendars. It usually occurs on March 21 or the previous or following day, depending on where it is observed. The moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year, and families gather together to observe the rituals.
While Nowruz has been celebrated since the reform of the Iranian Calendar in the 11th century CE to mark the new year, the United Nations officially recognized the "International Day of Nowruz" with the adoption of UN resolution 64/253 in 2010.
A bimaristan (Persian: بيمارستان, romanized: bīmārestān; Arabic: بِيْمَارِسْتَان, romanized: bīmāristān), also known as dar al-shifa (also darüşşifa in Turkish) or simply maristan, is a hospital in the historic Islamic world.
- "Locating a hospital by hanging meat around the city (981CE)" | 2020-11-25 | 121 Upvotes 39 Comments
Yakhchāl (Persian: یخچال "ice pit"; yakh meaning "ice" and chāl meaning "pit") is an ancient type of evaporative cooler. Above ground, the structure had a domed shape, but had a subterranean storage space. It was often used to store ice, but sometimes was used to store food as well. The subterranean space coupled with the thick heat-resistant construction material insulated the storage space year round. These structures were mainly built and used in Persia. Many that were built hundreds of years ago remain standing.
Abu Rayhan al-Biruni (973 – after 1050) was a Persian scholar and polymath. He was from Khwarazm – a region which encompasses modern-day western Uzbekistan, and northern Turkmenistan.
Al-Biruni was well versed in physics, mathematics, astronomy, and natural sciences, and also distinguished himself as a historian, chronologist and linguist. He studied almost all fields of science and was compensated for his research and strenuous work. Royalty and powerful members of society sought out Al-Biruni to conduct research and study to uncover certain findings. He lived during the Islamic Golden Age. In addition to this type of influence, Al-Biruni was also influenced by other nations, such as the Greeks, who he took inspiration from when he turned to studies of philosophy. He was conversant in Khwarezmian, Persian, Arabic, Sanskrit, and also knew Greek, Hebrew and Syriac. He spent much of his life in Ghazni, then capital of the Ghaznavid dynasty, in modern-day central-eastern Afghanistan. In 1017 he travelled to the Indian subcontinent and authored a study of Indian culture Tārīkh al-Hind (History of India) after exploring the Hindu faith practiced in India. He was given the title "founder of Indology". He was an impartial writer on customs and creeds of various nations, and was given the title al-Ustadh ("The Master") for his remarkable description of early 11th-century India.
- "Abū Rayhān Bīrūnī -- Medieval Islamic Scientist, quite a read... " | 2008-09-15 | 55 Upvotes 50 Comments
The Baghdad Battery or Parthian Battery is a set of three artifacts which were found together: a ceramic pot, a tube of copper, and a rod of iron. It was discovered in modern Khujut Rabu, Iraq, close to the metropolis of Ctesiphon, the capital of the Parthian (150 BC – 223 AD) and Sasanian (224–650 AD) empires of Persia, and it is considered to date from either of these periods.
Its origin and purpose remain unclear. It was hypothesized by some researchers that the object functioned as a galvanic cell, possibly used for electroplating, or some kind of electrotherapy, but there is no electroplated object known from this period. An alternative explanation is that it functioned as a storage vessel for sacred scrolls.
- "The Baghdad Battery" | 2019-04-28 | 76 Upvotes 19 Comments
Iran Air Flight 655 was a scheduled passenger flight from Tehran to Dubai via Bandar Abbas that was shot down on 3 July 1988 by an SM-2MR surface-to-air missile fired from USS Vincennes, a guided-missile cruiser of the United States Navy. The aircraft, an Airbus A300, was destroyed and all 290 people on board were killed. The jet was hit while flying over Iran's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, along the flight's usual route, shortly after departing Bandar Abbas International Airport, the flight's stopover location. The incident occurred during the final stages of the Iran–Iraq War, which had been continuing for nearly eight years. Vincennes had entered Iranian territory after one of its helicopters drew warning fire from Iranian speedboats operating within Iranian territorial limits.
The reason for the shootdown has been disputed between the governments of the two countries. According to the U.S., the Vincennes crew had incorrectly identified the Airbus as an attacking F-14 Tomcat, a U.S.-made jet fighter that had been part of the Iranian Air Force inventory since the 1970s. While the F-14s had been supplied to Iran in an air-to-air configuration, the Vincennes crew had been briefed that the Iranian F-14s were equipped with air-to-ground ordnance. Vincennes had made ten attempts to contact the aircraft both on military and on civilian frequencies, but had received no response. According to Iran, the cruiser negligently shot down the aircraft, which was transmitting IFF squawks in Mode III, a signal that identified it as a civilian aircraft, and not Mode II as used by Iranian military aircraft. The event generated a great deal of criticism of the United States. Some analysts blamed the captain of Vincennes, William C. Rogers III, for overly aggressive behavior in a tense and dangerous environment. In the days immediately following the incident, President Ronald Reagan issued a written diplomatic note to the Iranian government, expressing deep regret. However, the U.S. continued to insist that Vincennes was acting in self-defense in international waters.
In 1996, the governments of the U.S. and Iran reached a settlement at the International Court of Justice which included the statement "... the United States recognized the aerial incident of 3 July 1988 as a terrible human tragedy and expressed deep regret over the loss of lives caused by the incident ..." When President Ronald Reagan was directly asked if he considered the statement an apology, Reagan replied, "Yes." As part of the settlement, even though the U.S. government did not admit legal liability or formally apologize to Iran, it still agreed to pay US$61.8 million on an ex gratia basis in compensation to the families of the Iranian victims. The shootdown was the deadliest aviation disaster involving an Airbus A300.
- "Iran Air Flight 655 (Wikipedia)" | 2020-01-08 | 57 Upvotes 24 Comments
The Hasanlu Lovers are a pair of human remains found at the Teppe Hasanlu archaeological site, located in the Naqadeh in the West Azerbaijan Province of Iran. Around 800 BCE, the city of Hasanlu, located in north-western Iran, was destroyed by an unknown invader. Inhabitants were slain and left where they fell. In 1973, the lovers were discovered by a team of archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania led by Robert H. Dyson.
The two human skeletons were found together in a bin during excavations, seemingly embracing at the time of death, with no other objects except a stone slab under the head of one skeleton. They died together around 800 BCE, during the last destruction of the Hasanlu. Approximately 246 skeletons were found at the site altogether. How the lovers died and ended up in the bin is still under speculation but both skeletons lack evidence of injury near the time of death and possibly died of asphyxiation. They were exhibited at the Penn Museum from 1974 until the mid-1980s.
The right skeleton, referred to as HAS 73-5-799 (SK 335), is lying on its back and the left skeleton, referred to as HAS 73-5-800 (SK 336), is lying on its left side facing SK 335. When excavated, the skeletons were tested to determine various characteristics. Dental evidence suggest SK 335 was a young adult, possibly 19–22 years of age. Researchers identified the skeleton as male largely based on the pelvis. The skeleton had no apparent evidence of disease or healed lifetime injuries. Skeleton SK 336 appeared to have been healthy in life; the skeleton had no apparent evidence of healed lifetimes injuries, and was estimated to have been aged to about 30–35 years. Sex determination of the left skeleton was less definitive. Evidence suggests SK 336 was also male after being originally identified as female. The skeletons have been a subject of debate since they were first excavated.
- "Hasanlu Lovers" | 2023-09-01 | 55 Upvotes 23 Comments
The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserved Babylonian code of law of ancient Mesopotamia, dated to about 1754 BC (Middle Chronology). It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world. The sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, enacted the code. A partial copy exists on a 2.25-metre-tall (7.5 ft) stone stele. It consists of 282 laws, with scaled punishments, adjusting "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" (lex talionis) as graded based on social stratification depending on social status and gender, of slave versus free, man versus woman.
Nearly half of the code deals with matters of contract, establishing the wages to be paid to an ox driver or a surgeon for example. Other provisions set the terms of a transaction, the liability of a builder for a house that collapses, or property that is damaged while left in the care of another. A third of the code addresses issues concerning household and family relationships such as inheritance, divorce, paternity, and reproductive behavior. Only one provision appears to impose obligations on a government official; this provision establishes that a judge who alters his decision after it is written down is to be fined and removed from the bench permanently. A few provisions address issues related to military service.
The code was discovered by modern archaeologists in 1901, and its editio princeps translation published in 1902 by Jean-Vincent Scheil. This nearly complete example of the code is carved into a diorite stele in the shape of a huge index finger, 2.25 m (7.4 ft) tall. The code is inscribed in the Akkadian language, using cuneiform script carved into the stele. The material was imported into Sumeria from Magan - today the area covered by the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
It is currently on display in the Louvre, with replicas in numerous institutions, including the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law in Chicago, the Clendening History of Medicine Library & Museum at the University of Kansas Medical Center, the library of the Theological University of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands, the Pergamon Museum of Berlin, the Arts Faculty of the University of Leuven in Belgium, the National Museum of Iran in Tehran, the Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, the University Museum at the University of Pennsylvania, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Russia, the Prewitt-Allen Archaeological Museum at Corban University, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC.
- "Code of Hammurabi" | 2020-04-08 | 50 Upvotes 23 Comments