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The Sound of Science - 'The Moors'


JOSEPH: Welcome to The Sound of Science on WNIJ. I’m Joseph Flynn from NIU’s Center for Black Studies and I’m joined by Ms. Gaylen Rivers. 

GAYLEN: Today we’re looking at the many accomplishments and contributions of the Moors. 

JOSEPH: Throughout the medieval period, or the dark ages, in 711 until 1492 AD, the Moors conquered España, also called Spain, and Portugal. They ruled over Spain for almost 800 years. 

GAYLEN: Originally, the term Moor described Berbers and other Muslims from Mauretania, North Africa. However, Moor was later used to describe all European Muslims, and then even later used to describe any person with dark skin.

JOSEPH: Throughout history, the Moors’ accomplishments have been often suppressed or undervalued even though their contributions, across a wide variety of fields, still impact how we live our day-to-day lives. 

GAYLEN: For example, the Moors developed algebra, algorithm, and the number zero. But, even when looking at just mathematics, these accomplishments aren’t even their greatest achievement. 

JOSEPH: Their most significant impact in mathematics came when they propelled the transition from roman numerals to Hindu Arabic numerals, normalizing the numbers and counting system we use every day, and making more reliable calculations. 

GAYLEN: The Moors were also the first to begin using alcohol as an antiseptic. 

JOSEPH: One famous Moor figure, Abu l-Hasan Ali Ibn Nafi, also known as Ziryab, innovated human hygiene practices, normalizing bathing, shaving, and using perfumes. 

GAYLEN: He also developed a new, more effective type of deodorant, and created one of the first examples of what we now know as toothpaste. While ruling over Spain the Moors also opened many universities and libraries advancing literacy all across Europe.  

JOSEPH:  We hope you’ve enjoyed our exploration and celebration of the accomplishments of the Moors. This was Sound of Science on WNIJ. 

GAYLEN: Where you learn something new every day.

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