Taqi al-Din Muhammad ibn Ma'ruf ash-Shami al-Asadi
Work in the observatorium of Taqi al-Din
: تقي الدين محمد بن معروف الشامي, Turkish
) (1526–1585) was an Ottoman polymath
active in Istanbul
. He was the author of more than ninety books on a wide variety of subjects, including astronomy
and natural philosophy
In 1574 the Ottoman Sultan Murad III
invited Taqī ad-Dīn to build the Constantinople observatory
. Using his exceptional knowledge in the mechanical arts, Taqī ad-Dīn constructed instruments like huge armillary
and mechanical clocks that he used in his observations of the Great Comet of 1577
. He also used European celestial and terrestrial globes that were delivered to Istanbul in gift-exchange. The major work that resulted from his work in the observatory is titled The tree of ultimate knowledge [in the end of time or the world] in the Kingdom of the Revolving Spheres: The astronomical tables of the King of Kings [Murād III](Sidrat al-muntah al-afkar fi malkūt al-falak al-dawār– al-zij al-Shāhinshāhi
). The work was prepared according to the results of the observations carried out in Egypt and Istanbul in order to correct and complete Ulugh Beg’s Zij as-Sultani
. The first 40 pages of the work deal with calculations, followed by discussions of astronomical clocks, heavenly circles, and information about three eclipses which he observed at Cairo and Istanbul. For corroborating data of other observations of eclipses in other locales like Daud ar-Riyyadi (David the Mathematician), David Ben-Shushan of Salonika. According to Salomon Schweigger, the chaplain of Habsburg ambassador Johann Joachim von Sinzendorf, Taqi al-Din was a charlatan who deceived Sultan Murad III and had him spent enormous resources.
As a polymath, Taqī al-Dīn wrote numerous books on astronomy, mathematics, mechanics, and theology. His method of finding coordinates of stars
were reportedly so precise that he got better measurements than his contemporaries, Tycho Brahe
and Nicolas Copernicus
. Brahe is also thought to have been aware of al-Dīn's work.
Taqī Ad-Dīn also described a steam turbine
with the practical application of rotating a spit
in 1551. He worked on and created astronomical clocks for his observatory. Taqī Ad-Dīn also wrote a book on optics, in which he determined the light emitted from objects, proved the Law of Reflection observationally, and worked on refraction. Read more...