Bi’t-tecrübe İsbât: On Dokuzuncu Yüzyıl İstanbul’unda Deney ve Fizik Aletleri Üzerine Notlar (1809-1876)Ayşe Feza Günergun
Bu çalışma, 19. yüzyılda modern bilimlerin Türkiye’ye girmesini sağlayan belli başlı kurumlar olan Mühendishane-i Berri-i Hümayun, Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-yi Şahane, Mekteb-i Harbiye’de ve Osmanlı-Fransız iş birliği içinde kurulan bir orta öğretim kurumu olan Mekteb-i Sultani’de verilen eğitim içinde deneyin yerini belirlemeye yöneliktir. Ardından, 1863 yılında Darülfünun’da verilen dersler ile halkın deney ile tanışması konu edilecek ve Darülfünun-i Osmanî’de (1870) deneyin yeri sorgulanacaktır. Deney ile kanıtlama (bi’t-tecrübe ispat) kavramının, bu kurumlara girişi, anlaşıldığı kadarıyla Avrupa dillerinden çeviri-derleme yoluyla üretilen fizik ders kitaplarıyla olmuştur. Ancak olguların ve fizik yasalarının öğrenciye deney ile kanıtlanabilmesi, bilimsel aletlerin varlığına bağlıdır. Bu doğrultuda, anılan kurumlar için Avrupalı üreticilere ısmarlanan fizik aletleri belirlenmeye çalışılmıştır. Osmanlı Arşivi belgeleri arasında çok az sayıda alet listesi bulunması ve getirtilen aletlerin korunamamış olması, değerlendirme yapmayı güçleştirmektedir. Bu makale, konuya giriş mahiyetindedir. Osmanlı orta öğretim kurumlarına (idadiler) getirtilmiş aletlerin ve gayrimüslim okullardaki fizik aletleri koleksiyonlarının ileride incelenmesiyle daha büyük bir resim şüphesiz ortaya çıkacaktır.
“Confirmed by Experiment”: Notes on Physics Instruments and Experimentation in 19th-Century Istanbul (1809-1876)Ayşe Feza Günergun
The present study examines the emergence of experimentation in the Ottoman schools of engineering, medicine, and military arts that were founded in Istanbul to teach modern sciences, as well as in Mekteb-i Sultani, an Ottoman-French secondary school. The study also addresses how the Istanbul population encountered experiments through the public conferences organized at Darülfünun [House of Sciences] that opened in 1863. This article also questions the fate of experimentation in Darülfünun-i Osmani, which was established in 1870. The students in these institutions first encountered experiments in the Turkish translations of European physics textbooks. Because demonstrations (bi’t-tecrübe ispat) depend on the availability of scientific instruments, didactic instruments were purchased from European instrument makers in order to establish cabinets of physics in these schools. However, the scarcity of archival documents related to imported instruments and the absence of collections render making a full assessment of experimental teaching in Istanbul’s educational institutions difficult. The present article is introductory in nature, and future research on instruments purchased for Ottoman secondary schools and the collections kept in non-Muslim schools of the Empire will surely provide a greater picture.
Experiment and experimentation are doubtlessly essential components of scientific research and science teaching. The cooperation between artisans and natural philosophers in Europe in the 17th century went on to produce various kinds of scientific instruments that paved the way for scientific discoveries and inventions. Experimentation made its way into classrooms over time, and the production of didactic scientific instruments increased accordingly. In the 19th century, many European high schools and universities were endowed with physics cabinets, the instruments of which are presently regarded as part of the scientific heritage.
As an introduction to the subject matter, this paper will first take a glance at the optical experiments described by the 16th-century scholar Taqi al-Din and at Ottoman ambassadors’ encounters with scientific demonstrations in Paris and Vienna in the 18th century. This paper will also examine the meaning and use of the term tecrübe, which is used for experimentation and testing. The paper will then focus on the emergence of experimentation in the Ottoman educational institutions that were created in Istanbul in the 19th century and on the familiarity Istanbul residents had with experiments through public conferences.
Little is known about experimentation in Ottoman institutions (i.e., at the imperial palace and educational military institutions) prior to the 19th century. However, the 16th-century ottoman scholar Taqi al-Din, the founder of the Istanbul observatory, placed special emphasis on experimentation by describing about 50 experiments in optics in his Kitabu Nûr [Book of Light]. He was a follower of al-Haytham’s (11th c.) experimental studies on optics. Ottoman diplomats of the 18th century working in Paris and Vienna found the opportunity to witness experiments and demonstrations in European cabinets and observatories and expressed their astonishment in their embassy reports. Among these diplomats were Yirmisekiz Mehmed Chelebi, Mehmed Said Efendi, and Mustafa Hatti Efendi.
Ottoman students probably first encountered the notion of ‘proof by experiment (bi’ttecrübe ispat) in the 19th century through textbooks translated from French. Among the translators were Yahya Naci Efendi, a professor of the Imperial School of Engineering (Mühendishane-i Berri-i Hümayun). The two treatises on mechanics and electricity he penned in 1809 and 1812 respectively are fully based on experiments. Ishak Efendi, a professor at the same school, treated several physics experiments in one chapter of his four-volume science encyclopedia of 1832-34. Despite the emphasis given to experimentation, no evidence is found that they had conducted experiments in the classroom.
The Imperial School of Medicine (Mekteb-i Tıbbiye-yi Şahane) had been reformed by Viennese physicians in 1838 and had a splendid physics cabinet (hikmethane) according to travelers who visited the school in 1848. The instruments of the cabinet were often used by Derviş Pasha, who was in charge of teaching physics and chemistry during the 1842-43 school year. A graduate of the Engineering School of Istanbul, Derviş Pasha also studied for a few years at École des Mines in Paris. He captured the attention of authorities both for his successful experimental teaching and for the experiments his students performed at the graduation ceremonies in the presence of Sultan Abdulmejid (r. 1839-1861). As Turkish had become the teaching language of the school, the physics teacher Antranik Gırcıkyan translated Adolphe Ganot’s Traité élementaire de physique expérimentale et appliquée into Turkish in 1876. This translation indicates that experimentation was still on the educational agenda.
The Military School (Mekteb-i Harbiye) had an electrostatic machine in 1835 when Sultan Abdulmejid visited the school. Derviş Paşa and the two French experts who were charged with reforming the school’s curriculum in 1845 had presumably called attention to the need for scientific instruments for teaching purposes. In fact, archival documents and the witness accounts of travelers who visited the school in 1846, as well as a photograph taken in the late 19th century, confirm the presence of a rich cabinet of scientific instruments (Âlât-ı fenniye salonu). Experiments on physics and chemistry were conducted at the graduation ceremonies, as was the case in the medical school.
A good number of scientific instruments were purchased from France in 1858 for the teacher’s training school (Darülmuallimin) in Istanbul and were kept in a college (Darülmaarif) where students could examine them under the supervision of their teachers. A few years later, these instruments were transferred to the House of Sciences (Darülfünun), where they were used in 1863 by Derviş Pasha during public courses and conferences on physics and chemistry. A large public gathering attended these courses and considered the experiments as strange and odd doings (umur-i garibe). On this occasion, Derviş Pasha compiled a book on experimental physics in Turkish in 1864, the first of its kind published in Türkiye. Darülfünun was moved to the Nuri Pasha Mansion in 1864, which was devastated a year later by a fire that wiped out all the instruments. Although a list of scientific instruments had been made by Hoca Tahsin, the director of Darülfünun when it reopened in 1870, and the purchase was sanctioned by the sultan, these instruments did not find their way to Istanbul.
Lycée impérial de Galata-Sérai (Mekteb-i Sultani) was a high school created in 1867 under Ottoman-French cooperation and received 34 boxes of teaching materials, including scientific instruments. Science courses were given by French teachers during the first three years when the school operated under French administration. They presumably conducted experiments with the instruments purchased from Paris.
The scarcity of the lists of received instruments kept in the Ottoman Archives and the nonconservation of instruments render making a full assessment difficult. The present article is introductory in nature, and future research on instruments ordered for Ottoman secondary schools (idadis) in Istanbul and Anatolia as well as on the collections kept in non-Muslim schools in the Empire will surely provide a greater picture.