observations he made there enabled him to determine the latitudes of eleven towns around the Punjaband the borders of Kashmir. His most famous work
was written as a direct result of the studies hemade while in that country.The
is a massive work covering many different aspects of the country. Al-Biruni describes thereligion and philosophy of India, its caste system and marriage customs. He then studies the Indiansystems of writing and numbers before going on to examine the geography of the country. The bookalso examines Indian astronomy, astrology and the calendar.Al-Biruni studied Indian literature in the original, translating several Sanskrit texts into Arabic. He alsowrote several treatises devoted to certain aspects of Indian astronomy and mathematics which were of particular interest to him. Al-Biruni was amazingly well read, having knowledge of Sanskrit literature ontopics such as astrology, astronomy, chronology, geography, grammar, mathematics, medicine,philosophy, religion, and weights and measures. See  for further details.Mahmud died in 1030 and he was succeeded by his eldest son Mas'ud, although not before a difficultpolitical situation in which the two sons of Mahmud each tried to follow their father as ruler. Clearlyal-Biruni was unsure who would succeed for he chose not to give a dedication in his
whichappeared at this time. Better to have no dedication than to choose the wrong one! Mas'ud proved to be aruler who treated al-Biruni more kindly than his father had done. If al-Biruni had been a virtual prisonerbefore, he now seems to have become free to travel as he pleased. Mas'ud was murdered in 1040 andsucceeded by his son Mawdud who ruled for eight years. By this time al-Biruni was an old man but hecontinued his enormous output of scientific works right up to the time of his death.The total number of works produced by al-Biruni during his lifetime is impressive. Kennedy. writing in, estimates that he wrote around 146 works with a total of about 13,000 folios (a folio contains aboutthe same amount as a printed page from a modern book). We have mentioned some of the works above,but the range of al-Biruni's works cover essentially the whole of science at his time. Kennedy writes:-
... his bent was strongly towards the study of observable phenomena, in nature and in man.Within the sciences themselves he was attracted by those fields then susceptible of mathematical analysis.
We have mentioned al-Biruni's astronomical observations many time above. It is worth noting that hehad a better feel for errors than did Ptolemy. In  the author comments that Ptolemy's attitude was toselect the observations which he thought most reliable (often that meant fitting in with his theory), andnot to tell the reader about observations that he was discarding. Al-Biruni, on the other hand, treatserrors more scientifically and when he does chose some to be more reliable than others, he also gives thediscarded observations. He was also very conscious of rounding errors in calculations, and alwaysattempted to observe quantities which required the minimum manipulation to produce answers.One of the most important of al-Biruni's many texts is
which he is thought to have writtenaround 1021. Rosenfel'd has written extensively on this work of al-Biruni (see for example , ,and ). The contents of the work include the Arabic nomenclature of shade and shadows, strangephenomena involving shadows, gnomonics, the history of the tangent and secant functions, applicationsof the shadow functions to the astrolabe and to other instruments, shadow observations for the solutionof various astronomical problems, and the shadow-determined times of Muslim prayers.
is anextremely important source for our knowledge of the history of mathematics, astronomy, and physics. Italso contains important ideas such as the idea that acceleration is connected with non-uniform motion,using three rectangular coordinates to define a point in 3-space, and ideas that some see as anticipatingthe introduction of polar coordinates.The book  details the mathematical contributions of al-Biruni. These include: theoretical and practicalarithmetic, summation of series, combinatorial analysis, the rule of three, irrational numbers, ratio theory,algebraic definitions, method of solving algebraic equations, geometry, Archimedes' theorems, trisectionof the angle and other problems which cannot be solved with ruler and compass alone, conic sections,stereometry, stereographic projection, trigonometry, the sine theorem in the plane, and solving sphericaltriangles.Important contributions to geodesy and geography were also made by al-Biruni. He introducedtechniques to measure the earth and distances on it using triangulation. He found the radius of the earth