Introducing Einstein's Relativity to Turkey (II): Hüsnü Hamid
This article, through the publications of Hüsnü Hamid (1890-1975) and other Turkish scholars, aims to examine the introduction of the relativity theory in Turkey in 1920s. Hüsnü Hamid, professor of mathematics at the Darulfünun (University) published two articles related to the theory in the Darülfünun Fen Fakültesi Mecmuası (Journal of the Darülfünun Faculty of Science) in 1925 and 1926 respectively. These were compilations based on contemporary European sources and they presented both the special and general theory of relativity without excluding its mathematical content. Thus, it deserves to be qualified as the most comprehensive text written in Turkish to present Einstein's relativity in Turkey in the 1920s.
Although a mathematician well aware of the scientific importance of the theory, Hüsnü Hamid was not inclined to embrace the theory as Mehmet Refik, the engineer who first published on and taught relativity in Turkey. H.Hamid's 'wait and see' approach to the theory probably stemmed from Henri Poincare's silent attitude towards Einstein's relativity.
In 1922, a conference introducing the theory was given to the Darülfünun students by medical doctor Akil Muhtar Özden (1877-1949). Salih Murat Uzdilek (1891-1967), an electrical engineer who taught physics in Mühendis Mektebi (School of Engineering) published short essays in the popular science journals Tabiat Alemi (World of Nature) and Mühendis Mektebi Mecmuası(Journal of the School of Engineering), while Tevfik Bey, one of the lecturers in physics at the Darülfünun, borrowing from Encyclopédie Scientifique, published a 45-page article in the Journal of the Darülfünun Faculty of Science.
Einstein's relativity was thus introduced to the Turkish scholarly circles and to the public to some extent through the contributions of Turkish professors who were educated in Europe in the beginning of the 20th century. None of them were physicists.