Istanbul University Opened the Academic Year of 2016-2017

Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin, The Top Name in the Field of History of Science, Has Been Given the Title of Honorary PhD.

The Opening Ceremony of the Academic Year 2016-2017 was held on October 17. Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin who dedicated his life to the History of Islam was given the title of honorary PhD.

The Opening Ceremony of the Academic Year 2016-2017 was held on October 17 within the frame of two ceremony programmes.

The first program was the wreath laying ceremony that took place at the historical Rectorate Building. On behalf of Istanbul University, Rector Prof. Dr. Mahmut Ak laid a wreath at the Monument of Atatürk and Youth. After the minute of silence and Turkish National Anthem, faculty members and students transferred to IU Faculty of Science Cemil Bilsel Hall for the second ceremony.

The second ceremony started with the Turkish National Anthem and a moment of silence and continued with the display of an introductory film about Istanbul University that has been made by Istanbul University’s Department of Press and Public Relations. After the ceremony started, Student Council President Enes Keskin and Research Assistant Çiğdem Ürkü gave their speeches. After Enes Keskin and Çiğdem Ürkü stepped off the podium, IU Rector Prof. Dr. Mahmut Ak went up to the lectern to give a speech.

Istanbul University Left A Great and Successful Year Behind”

Starting his speech by saying that Istanbul University has left a great and successful year behind, IU Rector Prof. Dr. Mahmut Ak continued, “Both the two of our country’s Nobel Prize winners are Istanbul University graduates. Orhan Pamuk, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature, is one of our alumni. Aziz Sancar, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, has graduated from Istanbul Faculty of Medicine.”. Mentioning that they will give the title of honorary PhD in the field of “History of Science” to Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin, who is an important scientist raised under the roof of Istanbul University, Prof. Dr. Mahmut Ak said “Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin is a world-renowned scientist raised under the roof of Istanbul University. We cannot be more proud.”

Mentioning how sublime it is to be a member of Istanbul University, IU Rector Prof. Dr. Mahmut Ak said “We have seen how strong and great we are at the very night of July 15. As soon as we heard that there is an attempt of coup to break our country’s unity and solidarity, we have taken action and damned this attempt on our website around 12 at the very same night.”

We Present Our Undergraduate Students with Research Opportunities”

Stating that there are 35 students working in 12 projects within the “Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Project”, Prof. Dr. Mahmut Ak said “If we want to catch up with our 2023 plans, young people have to produce more. In this context, we have raised the number of our doctoral students by 14,6% and to 8196. In order to raise the application number to our doctoral studies, we have increased the number of our graduate students by 28%.”. Prof. Dr. Mahmut Ak stated that Istanbul University has been ranked 404th in the 2015 World’s Best 500 Universities ranking prepared by Jiao Tong University and said, “Istanbul University is ranked in this list for the 11th time and make a name for the Turkish universities in the international spotlight.”. After stating that Istanbul University is among the universities that have the most patent applications in 2014 and 2015, Prof. Dr. Mahmut Ak talked about how he believes Istanbul University to be making the most patent applications in 2016.

Istanbul University Will Have Modern Buildings

Indicating that the restorations, repair and rebuilding works are currently being held, Prof. Dr. Mahmut Ak, “The building of Faculty of Business in Avcılar Campus is completed. Avcılar Campus’ master plan will be completed by the end of this year. Çapa Campus’ construction drawings are currently completing. The construction drawings of the hospital part of Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine are completed.”

Our Corporate Website is Now Live With its New Design”

Prof Dr. Mahmut Ak, who stated they have renewed the corporate website of Istanbul University and published it, also said, “For the first time, our website’s whole design and software were handled by our own personnel. I want to thank our IT and Press and Public Relations Departments for their hard work. ‘Amfistanbul’ Project that was designed to connect all personnel of Istanbul University is published. You can find university news, a career section where internship and scholarship announcements are made, and groups that are formed in the form of forums.”

A Big Part of Our Financial Budget Goes to Higher Education

After Prof. Dr. Mahmut Ak’s speech, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Nabi Avcı went up to the lectern to give a speech. Starting his speech by wishing everyone a good academic year, Avcı continued, “I am so pleased to be here with you at the opening ceremony of the oldest and biggest university of Turkey. We have some transformations in some fields such as education, health and transportation. Today, a big part of the financial budget is spent for higher education with nearly 200 universities.” Avcı, by expressing that The Opening Ceremony of Academic Year 2016-2017 is especially important for him, finished his speech: “I was very proud of cooperating with Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin in the opening of Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam 5 years ago. I would like to express my thanks to him today in the presence of you.”

After the speeches, the documentary that was specially prepared for Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin by Presidency was showed.

After the screening of the documentary, the ceremony of honorary PhD for Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin was held. The council of Higher Education (YÖK) Member and IU Faculty of Letters Dean Prof. Dr. Hayati Develi read the reason of honorary Phd and the biography of Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin.

Then, the honorary PhD charter was presented to Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin and the robe was worn by Culture and Tourism Minister Nabi Avcı and IU Rector Prof. Dr. Mahmut Ak.

Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin told about the features of the astrolabe by giving an astrolabe that measures and solves astronomic problems to IU Rector Prof. Dr. Mahmut Ak as a gift.

The Opening Course was given by Islamic History of Science Researcher Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin

After the ceremony of honorary Phd, Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin, who is Islamic History of Science Researcher dedicating his life to history of science, started to the opening course of 2016-2017 academic year of Istanbul University.

Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin talked about Islamic Culture World’s importance in History of Science in the opening course. Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin started to his speech by implying that he felt very proud when he was invited to give conference by IU Rector Prof. Dr. Mahmut Ak.

I Dedicate This Conference to My Deceased Friend Matthias Schramm”

Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin, by implying that he has overthought what topic would be the most proper for his conference in Istanbul University, which he left 56 years ago, said: “I could write the history of so many science fields such as math, astronomy, chemistry, geography up to this time and the development of them in Islamic cultural world, according to my belief, have attention-grabbing sides for the listeners. However, I have convinced myself it is better that my presentation should focus on a general topic. I think the statement of ‘History of Sciences of All Humankind’ which is used in my conference as the title gets attention of some. I have had a friend called Matthias Schramm, who had been the professor of history of sciences department in Frankfurt University and Tubingen University. We, some day, have talked about that most of the history of science books published are booklets having stereotyped provisions. Thereupon, we have decided to name and present our department as ‘History of Science of All Humankind’. I have used this naming for the first time after Schramm, who is my friend I lost 6 years ago, in the conference in Istanbul University. I dedicate this conference to my deceased friend Matthias Schramm.

Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin, who mentions that a strict translation process started in Islamic Cultural World in 8th century, said: “ Translations was mostly from Greek and partially Syriac, Pahlavi, Sanskrit. We could accept this second century of Islam as assimilation. The cultural rapid developments that emerged in the middle of 1st century started to be felt at almost all sciences. We don’t have enough time to talk about the individuals. However, one of the cleverest and efficient individuals of not only Islamic World but also all history of science lived in this century. I mean Cabir b. Hayyam. Cabir started with chemistry and reached the other sciences of the time. There is a synthesis which he has done according to his ideas developed from both apocryphal booklets published in the time and information learned from previous generations through well-known works.  We could evaluate this as the foundation of a new science named chemistry.

Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin, who states that Muslims’ translation of Siddhanta from Sanskritic and Euclid’ s Elements of Geometry to Arabic show their progress in the 2nd century, said: “ It shouldn’t be doubted that they know algebra science in the 2nd century. In the first quarter of the 3rd century of Islam, 3 algebra books were written at the same time as one another. The first one of them was possibly Caliph Al-Ma’mun’s astronomer and geographer Al-Khwarizmi. He, among some Turkish people, was thought as the father of algebra in modern Islamic World. However, algebra was beforehand known as a department of math with arithmetic by Babylonians, Greeks, the Chinese, Indians. Al-Khwarizmi’s success was being able to present algebra and arithmetic as two separate disciplines. These two books were the first math books that were known in Europe with their translation to Latin. Arabic numerals started to spread in Europe with the translation of the arithmetic book in 1126.”

Prof. Dr. Sezgin, who says Muslims, in 10th,11th,12th century, were in a level that Europeans could reach in 19th and 20th century as human geography, finished his speech like this: “I can accept in some extent that Haji Khalifa also doesn’t know this fact but his presentation of this ignorance show that Ottomans get the sense of inferiority complex against Europeans even in the first half of 17th century. Ottoman historians can search for its beginning and also how it has spread as long as they search it within the frame of Islamic history. Ottomans got some limited reforms called “Nizam-i Djedid” (Ottoman Turkish: New Order) in order to alley this decline feeling. The most conscious reaction of this sickness that pervaded in 19th and 20th century was given by Atatürk with the reforms brought after the establishment of Turkish Republic in 1923.  I believe in the necessity of these reforms. Atatürk wasn’t a historian of science. He couldn’t know that Muslims had a creative place in the history of science and then they got a sense of inferiority. There was no other historian of science that could help him. The truest aim is joining the development of today’s modern world in a creative way by knowing that we have made 800 years of history of science.”

The Opening Ceremony of Academic Year 2016-2017 ended with Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin. In the ceremony that was held in the coordination of IU Press and Public Relations Department 100 individuals took part.

All the participants that attended The Opening Ceremony of Academic Year 2016-2017 were given a model of Istanbul University’s gate symbol which was specially designed.

Translated by: Eda AYDEMİR- İrem YAŞAR

IU Press and Public Relations Department

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