Kimyager-i Hazret-i Şehriyârî Mühendis Kimyager Dr. phil. Kyriakos Leonidas Syngros (1869 – 1955)Emre Dölen
Kyriakos Leonidas Syngros (1869 – 1955) Osmanlı Türkiyesi’nde kimya alanında doktora yapmış olan dördüncü kişidir. Sakız Adası kökenli bir ailenin çocuğu olarak 1869’da İstanbul’da doğdu. İlk ve orta öğrenimini İstanbul’da tamamladıktan sonra 1888’de girdiği Zürih’deki Eidgenössischen Polytechnikum [Federal Politeknik Okulu]’ndan 1891’de mühendis kimyager olarak mezun oldu ve hemen ardından Prof. Dr. Heinrich Jacob Goldschmidt’in yönetiminde hazırladığı doktora tezi ile 1892’de Zürih Üniversitesi’nden Dr.Phil derecesini aldı. Doktora tezi o zaman yeni bulunması nedeniyle güncel olan hidroksilaminin çeşitli metaller ile oluşturduğu kompleks bileşikler üzerinedir. İstanbul’a dönünce Pierre Apéry’nin (1852 – 1918) kimyasal analiz laboratuvarında çalışmaya başladı. 1896 yılı başında II. Abdülhamid tarafından Kimyager-i Hazret-i Şehriyârî [Saray Kimyageri] olarak atandı ve bunun üzerine kendi özel kimyasal analiz laboratuvarını kurdu. 1908’de Saray Kimyagerliği görevine son verildi. 1910’da Çimento ve su kireci üretmek üzere kurulan “Arslan Osmanlı Anonim Şirketi”nin kurucuları arasında yer aldı. Bir ortağı ile birlikte 1900’lerin başlarında Beyoğlu’nda bir ecza deposunu işletti. 1922’de Türkiye’den ayrılarak Atina’ya yerleşti. Yunan Kimyasal Ürünler ve Gübre Sanayi Anonim Şirketi’nin fabrikasında çalıştı. Yunan Kimyagerler Birliği’nin kurulmasına öncülük etti, 1925’te başkan yardımcısı oldu. Syngros 1930’dan sonra çeşitli resmi ve özel kuruluşlarda kimyager olarak çalışarak 1945’de emekliye ayrıldı ve 23 Ekim 1955’de Atina’da öldü. Bu makalede Kyriakos Syngros’un yaşamı, doktora tezi ve faaliyetleri eldeki belgelerin ışığında aydınlatılmaya çalışılmıştır.
Chemist to His Majesty the Sultan: Engineer Chemist Dr. Phil. Kyriakos Leonidas Syngros (1869-1955)Emre Dölen
Kyriakos Leonidas Syngros (1869-1955) is the fourth person to have obtained a doctorate degree in chemistry in Ottoman Türkiye. He was born in Istanbul in 1869 to a family originally from Chios. He graduated from the Eidgenössischen Polytechnikum [Federal Polytechnic School] in Zurich as an engineer in chemistry and earned his PhD from the University of Zurich in 1892 with a doctoral dissertation on the complex compounds hydroxylamine makes with various metals. His supervisor was Prof. Dr. Heinrich Jacob Goldschmidt. Syngros returned to Istanbul, where he worked in the chemical analysis laboratory of Pierre Apéry (1852-1918). In 1896, he was appointed Chemist to the Imperial Palace by Sultan Abdul Hamid II and established his own chemical analysis laboratory. In 1908, he was dismissed from his position in the Palace. He was among the founders of the Arslan Ottoman Joint Stock Company, which had been established in 1910 to produce cement and water lime. He ran a pharmaceutical warehouse in Beyoğlu in the early 1900s alongside a partner. In 1922, Syngros left Türkiye and settled in Athens. He worked in various public and private companies, one of these being the Greek Chemical Products and Fertilizer Industry Joint Stock Company. He went on to become the vice-president of the Association of Greek Chemists. He retired in 1945 and passed away in Athens on October 23, 1955. This article aims to present his biography with a particular focus on his doctoral thesis and activities as a chemist.
Ottoman citizens started earning PhDs in chemistry in 1876. Eight doctoral theses had been completed in various countries up to 1918, such as Joseph Zanni, Mehmed Arif [Beylikçi], Mustafa Azmi [Sümen], Osman Nuri [Somer], and Avni Refik [Bekman] who received their doctorate degrees in Germany; Halil Edhem [Eldem] and Kyriakos Leonidas Syngros who received theirs in Switzerland; and Gabriel Statiropoulos who received his in the United States of America. All had first graduated from the Bachelor’s program in chemistry before earning their doctorate in the field. Chronologically, Kyriakos Leonidas Syngros (1869-1955) was the fourth person to earn a doctorate degree in chemistry in Ottoman Türkiye. He was born in Istanbul in 1869 to a family originally from Chios. After completing his primary and secondary education in Istanbul, he enrolled in 1888 in the Eidgenössischen Polytechnikum [Federal Polytechnic School, Zurich], from which he graduated as an engineer in chemistry. He received his PhD from the University of Zurich in 1892 by defending his dissertation under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Heinrich Jacob Goldschmidt. His thesis was on the complex compounds hydroxylamine makes with various metals, which was a new research topic at that time. The working method involved precipitating the metal complex by first adding hydroxylamine hydrochloride to the metal chloride solution and then to the sodium carbonate solution. Thus, hydroxylamine complexes for zinc, cadmium, and iron metals were obtained. However, hydroxylamine complexes for nickel and manganese could not be obtained, nor were reproducible results obtained in the experiments with cobalt. During his studies abroad, Leonidas K. Syngros was supported financially by his uncle, Andreas Kyriakos Syngros (1830-1899), who had been a banker in Istanbul and later on in Greece.
When Kyriakos Syngros returned to Istanbul, he started working in the chemical analysis laboratory of Pierre Apéry (1852-1918). In 1896, he was appointed as Chemist to His Majesty the Sultan, also referred to as Chemist to the Imperial Palace, by Sultan Abdul Hamid II and then established his own private chemical analysis laboratory. Here he partnered with Oseb Celâlyan (1870-1936), a chemistry teacher at the Civil Medical School. At the beginning of 1907, a campaign was launched to shut down Syngros’ laboratory because it was unlicensed, and the campaign continued until he finally obtained a license. Correspondence among ministries had started after a notification on the matter, and although this seemed to cover all chemical analysis laboratories in Istanbul, it soon focused on Syngros’ laboratory. Due to no legal regulation on the opening of chemical analysis laboratories being in existence, the correspondence among the various ministries yielded no results after a year, and in 1908, he was dismissed from his position at the Palace.
Kyriakos Syngros was among the founders of the Arslan Ottoman Joint Stock Company, which had been established in 1910 to produce cement and water lime. The Eskihisar Cement and Water Lime Factory started operating in 1911 and later went bankrupt due to a lack of capital. Following this, the Arslan and Eskihisar Unified Cement and Water Lime Factories Joint Stock Company was established in 1920. From 1910 to 1922, Syngros was a member of the board of directors of these companies. He also ran a pharmaceutical warehouse in Tepebaşı (Beyoğlu, İstanbul), a second business alongside a partner in the early 1900s.
Kyriakos Syngros left Türkiye and settled in Athens in 1922, probably due to his support of Greece in the Turkish War of Independence during the Armistice period. Upon leaving Türkiye, he left his private laboratory to his partner, Oseb Celâlyan, who would operate it until his death. In Greece, Kyriakos Syngros started working at the Greek Chemical Products and Fertilizer Industry Joint Stock Company, which was commonly known as Lipasmata and located in the Drapestona region of Piraeus. Among the founders of this factory were his classmate Nikola Kanellopoulos from the Eidgenössischen Polytechnikum in Zürich and other engineers whod graduated from the same school. He later became the manager of the factory and held this post until 1930. He pioneered the founding of the Association of Greek Chemists, became its vice-president in the first elections in 1925, and was re-elected to the same post in the elections a year later. Syngros worked as a chemist in various public and private institutions after 1930. He retired in 1945 and died in Athens on October 23, 1955. This article aims to present his biography with a particular focus on his doctoral thesis and activities as a chemist.