Taqi al-Din

Taqi al-Din Muhammad ibn Ma'ruf al-Shami al-Asadi was born in 1521 in Damascus, Syria, and was educated in Cairo, Egypt and died in 1585. He became a Qadi (judge in Islamic law), Islamic theologian, muwaqqit (religious timekeeper) at a Musjid and teacher at a Madrasah for some time, while publishing a number of scientific books during this time. In 1571, he became the official astronomer for Ottoman Sultan Selim II.

His achievements will fill volumes. He was a scientist, astronomer, astrologer, engineer, inventor, clockmaker, watchmaker, physicist, mathematician, botanist, zoologist, pharmacist, physician, Islamic judge, philosopher, 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. He was regarded by his contemporaries in the Ottoman Empire as the greatest scientist on earth. One of his books described the workings of a rudimentary steam engine and steam turbine in 1551, predating the more famous discovery of steam power by Giovanni Branca in 1629.

His inventions include a variety of accurate clocks including the first mechanical alarm clock, the first spring-powered astronomical clock, the first watch measured in minutes, and the first clocks measured in minutes and seconds. In mathematics, Taqi al-Din was the first mathematician to extract the precise value of Sin 1°. He also invented some astronomical instruments as well as one of the first spring-powered pocket watches. Another unsung Muslim inventor who changed the world.