Taqi Al-Din – “The Greatest Scientist on Earth”
Taqi al-Din Muhammad ibn Ma’ruf al-Shami al-Asadi (Turkish: Takiyuddin) (1526–1585) was a major Ottoman Turkish or Arab Muslim polymath: a scientist, astronomer and astrologer, engineer and inv…entor, clockmaker, physicist and mathematician, botanist and zoologist, pharmacist and physician, Islamic judge and mosque timekeeper, Islamic philosopher and theologian, and madrasah teacher. He was the author of more than 90 books on a wide variety of subjects, including astronomy, astrology, clocks, engineering, mathematics, mechanics, optics and natural philosophy, though only 24 of those works have survived. He was widely regarded by his contemporaries in the Ottoman Empire as “the greatest scientist on earth”.
One of his books, Al-Turuq al-samiyya fi al-alat al-ruhaniyya (The Sublime Methods of Spiritual Machines) (1551), described the workings of a rudimentary steam turbine, predating the more famous discovery of steam power by Giovanni Branca in 1629.
Taqi al-Din is also known for the invention of a six-cylinder ‘Monobloc’ pump in 1559, the invention of a variety of accurate clocks (including a weight-powered astronomical clock with an alarm) from 1556 to 1580, his construction of the Istanbul observatory of Taqi al-Din in 1577, and his astronomical activity there until 1580.