Abbas Qasim ibn Firnas was born near Ronda, Andalusia. He originally came to Cordoba to teach music, which at that time was considered a branch of mathematical theory. Not being a man to limit himself to a single field of study; he became interested in the mechanics of flight. He constructed a pair of wings made out of feathers in a wooden frame, and attempted to fly. He became the first man in history to make a scientific attempt at flying.
In addition, he studied chemistry, physics, and astronomy. He wrote poetry, and is credited with inventing a time-measuring device called al-Maqata. Abbs Ibn Firnas was among the first to introduce Oriental music into Andalusia and taught the science of music. He also devised a means of manufacturing glass from sand as well as developing a chain of rings that could be used to display the movements of the stars and planets. He developed a process for cutting rock crystal. In his home, he built a room in which, thanks to ingenious devices hidden in the basement, spectators saw stars and clouds, and were astounded by thunder and lightning.