Iranians celebrated the national day to commemorate world renowned Persian poet Omar Khayyam on May 18.
Omar Khayyam, born in Nishapur, Khorasan was a Persian mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and poet. He also wrote treatises on mechanics, geography, mineralogy, music, and Islamic theology.
He is best known for his poetry, and outside Iran, for the quatrains (rubaiyaas) in Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, popularized through Edward Fitzgerald’s re-created translation. His substantial mathematical contributions include his Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra, which gives a geometric method for solving cubic equations by intersecting a hyperbola with a circle. He also contributed to calendar reform and may have proposed a heliocentric theory well before Copernicus.
To know him much better, some of his quotes are presented in the following:
•There was a door to which I found no key: There was the veil through which I might not see.
•When I want to understand what is happening today or try to decide what will happen tomorrow, I look back.
•A hair divides what is false and true.
Some of his “quatrains”, translated by Edward FitzGerald:
Wake! For the Sun, who scatter’d into flight
The Stars before him from the Field of Night,
Drives Night along with them from Heav’n, and strikes
The Sultan’s Turret with a Shaft of Light.
Before the phantom of False morning died,
Methought a Voice within the Tavern cried,
“When all the Temple is prepared within,
Why nods the drowsy Worshipper outside?”