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Ali Kuşu

 

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Ali Kuşu
   
Ali Kuşu (?, 1403 - 16 December 1474) was a Turkish astronomer, mathematician, physicist and scientist. He is best known for his contributions to Uluğ Bey's famous work Zij-i-Sultani, his efforts in founding Sahn-ı Seman University which is one of the first Ottoman universities, his separation of astronomy from natural philosophy, and his discussions on the Earth's motion.
   
Early life and works

He was born in 1403 on an unknown date in Samarkand which is today in Uzbekistan. His full name was Aleaddin Ali bin Muhammed el-Kuşu. His family gained this last name after the official title of his father Muhammed who was the doğancıbaşı of Ulug Beg at that time.

He attended the courses of Bursali Kadizade Rumi, Giyaseddin Cemşid and Muinuddin Kaşi. He moved to Kerman, Iran and there he conducted some researches on the storms of Oman sea. He completed Hall- Eşkal-i Kamer (Explanations of the Periods of the Moon) and Şerh-i Tecrid in Kirman. He moved to Herat and taught Molla Cami about astronomy (1423). After professing in Herat for a while he went back to Samarkand and herald his works about moon to Uluğ Bey. Uluğ Bey was fascinated with the works and read the entire work while standing up. Uluğ Bey assigned him to Ulugh Beg Observatory which was called "Samarkand Observatory" at that time. He worked there till Uluğ Bey was assassinated.[1]

After Uluğ Bey's death, he went to Herat, Taşkent and finally Tabriz, Iran. While he was in Tabriz, Uzun Hasan the Khan of Ak Koyunlu sent him as a delegate to Fatih Sultan Mehmed (about 1470). At that time Sultan Baykara had come to reign in Herat but Kuşu preferred İstanbul rather than Herat because of Fatih Sultan Mehmed's attitude toward scientists and intellectuals.


İstanbul era

When he came to İstanbul, his grandson Kutbuddn Muhammed had a son Mirim elebi who would be a great mathematician and astronomer in the future. Kuşu extended his studies in İstanbul. He wrote "Şerh el-rislat el-vad'iyye" on Adududdn İ'ci's famous study called "Fi'de f el-vad" which is the first work on linguistics. Kuşu's work made a great impact on the scientific community. The work has thousands of copies in handwriting libraries all around the world.

He then finished "Şerh el-tecrid" on Nasir al-Din al-Tusi's "el-Tecrd f 'ilm el-kelm". That work is called "Şerh-i cedid" in scientific community. It is considered as the most important philosophical work on metaphysics, physics, optics and mathematics done within Islamic civilisation.


Contributions to astronomy

In his Concerning the Supposed Dependence of Astronomy upon Philosophy, Kuşu rejected Aristotelian physics and completely separated natural philosophy from Islamic astronomy, allowing astronomy to become a purely empirical and mathematical science. This allowed him to explore alternatives to the Aristotelian notion of a stationery Earth, as he explored the idea of a moving Earth instead. He found empirical evidence for the Earth's rotation through his observation on comets and concluded, on the basis of empiricism rather than speculative philosophy, that the moving Earth theory is just as likely to be true as the stationary Earth theory.[2][3][4]

Kuşu also improved on Nasir al-Din al-Tusi's planetary model and presented an alternative planetary model for Mercury.[5]


His works

Astronomy[6]
Şerh-i Zc-i Uluğ Bey
Risle f Halli Eşkli Muaddilil-Kamer li'l-Mesr (Fide f Eşkli Utrid)
Risle f Asli'l-HricYumkin f's-Sufliyyeyn
Şerh ale't-Tuhfeti'ş-Şhiyye f'l-Hey'e
Risle der İlm-i Hey'e
el-Fethiyye f İlmi'l-Hey'e
Risle f Halli Eşkli'l-Kamer
Concerning the Supposed Dependence of Astronomy upon Philosophy

Mathematics[7]
Risletu'l-Muhammediyye f'l-Hisb
Risle der İlm-i Hisb: Sleymaniye

Kelm and Usl-i Fıkıh
Eş-Şerhu'l-Cedd ale't-Tecrd
Hşiye ale't-Telvh
Unkud-z-Zevahir fi Nazm-l-Cevahir

Mechanics[8]
Tezkire f lti'r-Ruhniyye

Linguistics[9]
Şerhu'r-Risleti'l-Vadiyye
El-İfsh
El-Unkdu'z-Zevhir f Nazmi'l-Cevhir
Şerhu'ş-Şfiye
Risle f Beyni Vadi'l-Mufredt
F'ide li-Tahkki Lmi't-Ta'rf
Risle m Ene Kultu
Risle f'l-Hamd
Risle f İlmi'l-Me'n
Risle f Bahsi'l-Mufred
Risle f'l-Fenni's-Sn min İlmihal-Beyn
Tefsru'l-Bakara ve li İmrn
Risle f'l-İstişre
Mahbub-l-Hamail fi keşif-il-mesail
Tecrid-l-Kelam

Notes
1. Osmanlı imparatorluğunun doruğu 16. yzyıl teknolojisi, Editor Prof. Dr. Kazım een, Istanbul 1999, Omaş ofset A.Ş.
2. (Ragep 2001a)
3. F. Jamil Ragep (2001), "Freeing Astronomy from Philosophy: An Aspect of Islamic Influence on Science", Osiris, 2nd Series, Vol. 16, Science in Theistic Contexts: Cognitive Dimensions, p. 49-64, 66-71.
4. Edith Dudley Sylla, "Creation and nature", in Arthur Stephen McGrade (2003), p. 178-179, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521000637.
5. George Saliba, "Arabic planetary theories after the eleventh century AD", in Rushdī Rāshid and Rgis Morelon (1996), Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science, p. 58-127 [123-124], Routledge, ISBN 0415124107.
6. Osmanlı Astronomi Literatr Tarihi (Ed. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu), İstanbul 1997, I, 27-38
7. Seyyid Ali Paşa, Mirtul-lem (Haz. Yavuz Unat), Kltr Bakanlığı, Ankara 2001.
8. Sevim Tekeli, 16ıncı Asırda Osmanlılarda Saat ve Takiyyuddnin Mekanik Saat Konstrksyonuna Dair En Parlak Yıldızlar Adlı Eseri, Ankara 1966.
9. Musa Yıldız, Bir Dilci Olarak Ali Kuşu ve Risle fl-İstiresi, Kltr Bakanlığı Yayınları, Ankara 2002, s.10-14.

References
Ragep, F. Jamil (2001a), "Tusi and Copernicus: The Earth's Motion in Context", Science in Context (Cambridge University Press) 14 (1-2): 145163
 
   

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