TEHRAN (MNA) -- Ordibehesht 28 in the Persian calendar corresponding with May 18 is the commemoration day of the world-renowned Persian poet, astronomer, and mathematician Omar Khayyam. Every year, a number of literati and scholars from around the world convene at the mausoleum of Khayyam to mark his National Day.
Omar Khayyam was born in Nishapur, in northeastern Iran, and spent most of his life near the court of the Karakhanid and Seljuq rulers in the period which witnessed the First Crusade.
Khayyam studied science, philosophy, mathematics, and astronomy at Nishapur, and about the year 1068, he traveled to Bukhara, where he frequented the renowned library of the Ark. However Khayyam was an outstanding mathematician and astronomer and he did write several works including Problems of Arithmetic, a book on music and one on algebra before he was 25 years old.
In 1070 he moved to Samarkand in Uzbekistan where there Khayyam was supported by Abu Tahir, a prominent jurist of Samarkand, and this allowed him to write his most famous algebra work, Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra. It is presumed that due to his relationship with Tahir, ruler Shams al-Mulk distinctively regarded Omar with esteem.
Toghril Beg, the founder of the Seljuq dynasty, had made Isfahan the capital of his domains and his grandson Sultan Malik-Shah I was the ruler of that city from 1073. An invitation was sent to Khayyam from Malik-Shah and from his Grand Vizier Nizam al-Mulk asking Khayyam to go to Isfahan to set up an Observatory there and lead a group of scientists in carrying out precise astronomical observations aimed at the revision of the Persian calendar.
It was a period of peace during which the political situation allowed Khayyam the opportunity to devote himself entirely to his scholarly work. During this time the scientist measured the length of a year - tropical year length - with remarkable precision. The resulted calendar was named in Malik-Shah’s honor as the Jalali calendar and was inaugurated on March 15, 1079. The Jalali calendar was a true solar calendar where the duration of each month is equal to the time of the passage of the Sun across the corresponding sign of the Zodiac.
This calendar was used until the 20th century in Iran and it became the official national calendar of Qajar Iran in 1911. This calendar was simplified in 1925 and the names of the months were modernized, resulting in the modern Iranian calendar.
Outside the world of mathematics and astronomy, Khayyam is also best known as a result of Edward Fitzgerald’s popular translation in 1859 of nearly 600 short four-line poems the Rubaiyat.
Khayyam’s fame as a poet has caused some to forget his scientific achievements which were much more substantial. Versions of the forms and verses used in the Rubaiyat existed in Persian literature before Khayyam, and only about 120 of the verses can be attributed to him with certainty.
The poems celebrated the pleasures of life while illuminating the nuanced political and religious context in which they were created
He also considered himself intellectually to be a student of Avicenna. There are six philosophical papers believed to have been written by Khayyam. Philosophy, jurisprudence, history, mathematics, medicine, and astronomy are among the subjects mastered by this brilliant man.
Khayyam died in Nishapur at the age of 83, on December 4, 1131. His mausoleum is a modern monument of white marble erected over Omar Khayyam’s tomb located in Nishapur.