Science in the Ottoman Empire reached its 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 the sultan. Taqi al-Din is without doubt one of the most important 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, horology and even zoology. He invented a unique six-cylinder water pump and a turnspit driven by a steam engine. He also wrote the first and only book on mechanical clocks in the pre-modern Islamic world.  What distinguished Taqi al-Din from many others, is the fact that he made original astronomical observations with large instruments, some of which he invented himself. For this purpose, he convinced Sultan Murad III to build a state of the art observatory. However, it was a great tragedy when the observatory was demolished shortly after by order of the same sultan, after a sequence of fateful events. As an interesting twist of fate, after Taqi al-Din's death, some of the books in his personal library have found their way in to the University Library of Leiden as early as the 17th century, where they have been kept ever since. During this talk Hüseyin Şen will deal with Taqi al-Din's life & fate, career & works, his inventions and his legacy. He will show examples of his works and discuss my research. He will also talk about his personal books in Leiden, their contents and how they found their way to the Netherlan


NIT Lecture: Hüseyin Şen on "Ottoman Science in the Sixteenth Century: Taqi al-Din's life and work", 17 December 2014, 18:30