Introducing Einstein's Relativity to Turkey (I): Mehmet Refik Fenmen and Kerim Erim
Albert Einstein's theories of special relativity (1905) and general relativity (1916) generated world-wide interest during and after 1920s. These theories drew the attention of Turkish scholars as well. The present article aims to study the interest in relativity theories in Turkey during the period 1920-1930 based on publications issued by Mehmet Refik Fenmen (1882-1951) and Kerim Erim (1894-1952) . It also aims to find out how these theories were received and to define the underlying factors.
The Turkish mathematician Kerim Erim's lecture dated 1920 was influential in introducing Einstein's relativity within the circle of engineers and architects. As far as we could find out, the first publication on the subject was made by the electrical engineer Mehmed Refik Fenmen. His booklet called Aynştayn Nazariyesi, Zaman, Mekan ve Kütle Mefhumlarının Tebdili (The Theory of Einstein and the change in the concepts of time, space and mass) came out in 1922. An enlarged edition followed in 1924. Four short essays by Kerim Erim were published a few years later in a popular science magazine Fen Alemi (1925-1926). These essays were not directly related with the theory but they helped introduce its theoretical background. Moreover, Kerim Erim visited Albert Einstein in 1930 in Berlin and they conversed on various scientific issues such as causality-probability discussions, Schrödinger's wave mechanics, Einstein's recent studies, and mathematics in general. These two Turkish scholars contributed to render the fundamentals of Einstein's theories into Turkish and thus paved the way for further studies.