An Ottoman and Republican Mathematician: Ord. Prof. Ali Yar’s Mathematics Textbooks
Keywords: Ali Yar,mathematics in the Ottoman Empire,history of mathematics education in the Ottoman Empire,algebra in the Ottoman Empire,trigonometry in the Ottoman Empire
Nowadays, historians of mathematics conduct studies on scientific works of significant personalities, namely, Salih Zeki, Hüsnü Hamid, Mehmed Nadir and Hüseyin Tevfik Pasha as well as the topics such as differential integral calculus, analytic geometry and number theory in the Ottoman Empire. Despite a growing body of research on the above-mentioned topics recently, these studies are still far from presenting a fully-developed picture of mathematical understanding of the late Ottoman and early Republican periods. One of the important topics in this period is Ali Yar and his mathematical studies.
Ord. Professor Ali Yar (1885-1965), who was sent to Paris for education in 1908, returned to Turkey as the first aircraft engineer of our country and the third aircraft engineer in the world. In the late Ottoman period, he taught physics and mathematics at Galatasaray High School and İstanbul University, and continued to teaching at various institutions after the foundation of the Republic. During his tenure in the Republican period, he worked with influential mathematicians of the period such as Hüsnü Hamid, Salih Zeki and Mehmet Nadir. Yar, one of the three Turkish academics who were given the title Ordinarius Professorship after the 1933 University Reform, also served as the Dean of the Faculty of Science at Istanbul University for a while after Kerim Erim serving as the Dean of Faculty of Science at the same university. The only scientific study, in which Ali Yar's works are evaluated in terms of the history of science, is an article on astronomy examining Yar's book titled Kozmografya [Cosmography] (Unat 2013). Ali Yar's mathematical studies is a fertile field to explore since they have not been researched before.
Ali Yar translated six algebra books into Turkish, one from French and five from German in order to foster the mathematical thinking in the country. While these works were selected for translation, the aim was to transfer all the subjects of modern algebra into Turkish. Yar's three books on trigonometry, which he also translated from French for high schools, have strong pedagogical aspects. In this study, nine books that Yar translated from German and French will be discussed from a mathematical perspective. Besides, it is aimed to present a general overview about Yar's biography and other mathematical studies and, by doing so, to provide a basis for further in-depth research.