Tuesday, October 18, 2011
The Father of the Perfume Industry
Ibn Yusuf Al Kindi (Alkindus)
Another major figure in Islam's Golden Age involving chemistry was Ibn Yusuf Al Kindi, who lived in the ninth century and is often Latinized as Alkindus. He was a promoter of Chemistry yet unlike many scholars of the early Golden Islamic Age, he was an opponent of alchemy. He was considered revolutionary in his time for proving that regular base metals could not produce precious metals like gold and silver.
He wrote volumes against the concept of medieval alchemy called: Warning against the Deceptions of the Alchemistsand Refutation of the Claim of Those Who Claim the Artificial Fabrication of Gold and Silver. Alkindus's work was more applied then Geber and Rhazes, though still using their findings to his benefit. Geber had concluded that boiling wine produces a flammable vapor, that is, ethanol alcohol. Using this information, Alkindus wrote out a procedure to extract pure distilled alcohol from distilling wine. Alkindus worked mainly in the area of perfumes and scents.
He would work to combine plants with other natural substances to produce scents. He had his own laboratory where his assistance would write down the instructions to produce a particular scent. Alkindus also wrote books on his works, and one was Kitab Kimiya' al-'Itr, or Book of Chemistry of Perfumes.For his works with fragrances, he is called the Father of the Perfume industry. Alkindus, being an advocator of applied sciences, used his knowledge to create perfumes but found
other uses for herbs. He figured out substitutions for expensive ingredients in medicines and produced new medications too. However, even though Alkindus contributed a grand amount to chemistry, he is remembered more for his preservation of works of other intellectuals of the time. He is often called the 'Arab Philosopher' for being an affluent polymath.