Hüseyin Şen (Utrecht University, History of Science)
Netherlands Institute in Turkey, Netherlands Institute in Turkey
17 Dec 18:30
Science in the Ottoman Empire reached it's peak during the sixteenth century, especially during the reign of Murad III, when Taqi al-Din ibn Ma'ruf ( 1526-1585), the celebrated Ottoman scientist, was appointed chief astronomer at the court of Murad III. Taqi al-Din is without doubt one of the greatest scientists in Ottoman history and perhaps even in Islamic history. He excelled in many fields and wrote original works on subjects such as mechanical engineering, physics, optics, astronomy, mathematics and even zoology. What distinguished Taqi al-Din from many others, is the fact that he made original astronomical observations with advanced instruments, some of which he invented himself. For this purpose, he convinced Sultan Murad III to build one of the most advanced observatories of its time. However, it was a great tragedy when the observatory was demolished by order of the same sultan, after a cascade of fateful events. As an interesting twist of fate, after Taqi al-Din's death, some of books in his personal library have found their way to the University Library of Leiden as early as the 17th century, where there are kept ever since.
During this talk I will deal with Taqi al-Din's life & fate, career & works , his inventions and his legacy. I will show examples of his works. I will also talk about his personal books in Leiden, their contents and how they found their way to the Netherlands.