Prof. Salih Murat Uzdilek and the 'Introduction of logarithms into Turkey'
Şeref Etker
Salih Murat Uzdilek (18911967), Professor of physics at the Istanbul Technical University, graduated as a naval officer in 1908. It was his father Mehmed Şefik Bey, who as a mathematics teacher introduced him to the study of the subject. Salih Murat developed an interest in the history of mathematics through readings of books by F. Cajori and D.E. Smith.
Uzdilek studied engineering in London prior to the First World War, where he was invited to present a communication on the 'Introduction of logarithms into Turkey' at the Napier Tercentenary organized by the The Royal Society of Edinburgh, 2527 July 1914. The paper published in the Napier Tercentenary Memorial Volume (1915) was based on the research of Salih Zeki Bey, historian of science and Rector of the Istanbul University between 1913 and 1917, published in his Kamusi Riyaziyat (Encyclopaedia of Mathematics1898). His findings indicate that Yirmisekiz Mehmet Çelebi, the Sultan's envoy to France, had been presented an astronomical texts which included logarithms by the astronomer Jacques Cassini during his visit to the Paris Observatory in 1714. It was this collection that led to the introduction of logarithms into Turkey. Kalfazade İsmail Efendi, a time keeper and mathematician, compiled an introduction to logarithms for his translation of the astronomical tables of J. Cassini in 1772, which is considered the first work on logarithms in Turkish. Gelenbevi İsmail Efendi, renown for his works in mathematics and logic, completed his Logaritma Şerhi (Commentary on Logarithms)in 1787.
After his return to Istanbul, Salih Murat Uzdilek was invited by the Austrian Dean of the School of Engineering Prof. Philipp Forchheimer, to give physics lessons at the school. Prof. Uzdilek pursued his interest in the history of mathematics and physics throughout his long career. He was also an active researcher in the physics of sound and music, and contributed to the contemporary tonal system of Turkish music. In his later years Prof. Uzdilek was invited to lecture at the 400th anniversary of Galieo Galilei.
Key words: Turkey, history of mathematics, logarithms, Salih Murat Uzdilek, Salih Zeki, Jacques Cassini; Anahtar sözcükler: Türkiye, matematik tarihi, logaritma, Salih Murat Uzdilek, Salih Zeki, Jacques Cassini.
