Ali Moustafa Mosharafa

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Dr. Ali Moustafa Mosharafa Pasha
Ali Mosharrafa.jpg
Born 11 July 1898
Damietta, Khedivate of Egypt
Died January 16, 1950(1950-01-16) (aged 52)
Residence Cairo, Egypt, London, United Kingdom
Nationality Egyptian
Fields Physics
Institutions Cairo University

Dr. Ali Moustafa Mosharafa Pasha (Arabic: على مصطفى مشرفة‎) (11 July 1898 – 16 January 1950) was an Egyptian theoretical physicist. He was professor of applied mathematics in the Faculty of Science at Cairo University, and also served as its first dean.[1] He contributed to the development of the quantum theory as well as the theory of relativity and corresponded with Albert Einstein.[2]

Biography[edit]

Birth and early life[edit]

He was the youngest student in his class, but the most knowledgeable. He obtained his primary certificate in 1910 ranking first nationwide. At the age of 16 he obtained his Baccalaureate in 1914 to become the youngest student at that time to be awarded such a certificate. He preferred to enroll in the Teachers' College rather than the faculties of Medicine or Engineering due to his deep interest in mathematics.

He graduated in 1917. Due to his excellence in mathematics, the Egyptian Ministry of Education sent him to England where he obtained BSc (Honors) from the University of Nottingham, 1920. The Egyptian University consented to grant Mosharafa another scholarship to complete his doctoral thesis. During his stay in London many of his scientific researches were published in prominent science magazines. He obtained a PhD in 1923 from King's College London in the shortest possible time permissible according to the regulations there. In 1924 Musharafa was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science, the first Egyptian and 11th scientist in the entire world to obtain such a degree.

Academic career[edit]

When he returned home he became a teacher in the Higher Teachers' college. When the University of Cairo was opened in 1925, he became an associate professor of mathematics in the Faculty of Science because he was under the age of 30, the minimum age required for fulfilling the post of a professor. In 1926 his promotion to professor was raised in the Parliament, then chaired by Saad Zaghloul. The Parliament lauded his qualifications and merits which surpassed those of the English dean of the faculty and he was promoted to professor.

He was the first Egyptian professor of applied mathematics in the Faculty of Science. He became dean of the faculty in 1936, at the age of 38. He remained in office as a dean of the Faculty of Science until he died in 1951.

Among his students was Sameera Moussa.

Scientific achievements[edit]

Over the 1920s-1930s, he studied Maxwell's equations and the special relativity and he had correspondence with Albert Einstein.

Mosharafa published 25 original papers in distinguished scientific journals about quantum theory, the theory of relativity, and the relation between radiation and matter. He published around 12 scientific books about relativity and mathematics. His books, on the theory of relativity, were translated into English, French, German and Polish. He also translated 10 books of astronomy and mathematics into Arabic.

Musharafa was interested in the history of science, especially in studying the contributions of Arab scientists in the Middle Ages. With his student M. Morsi Ahmad, he published al-Khwārizmī's book The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing (Kitab al-Jabr wa-l-Muqabala).

He also was interested in the relation between music and mathematics and helped to establish the Egyptian society of music fans in 1945.[3][4]

Social and political views[edit]

He was the first to call for social reform and development based on scientific research. He was keen on disseminating public scientific awareness, and wrote several articles and books for the public about science in simple forms. He, further, encouraged translations into Arabic. He contributed in writing the Arab scientific encyclopedia and books on the scientific heritage of the Arabs as well. He was against the use of atomic energy in war and warned against the exploitation of science as a means of destruction.

Honors[edit]

  • He was given the title "Pasha" by King Farouq, but he declined the title claiming that no title is worthier than a sciences PhD.
  • A laboratory and an auditorium are named after him in the Faculty of Science, Cairo University, Egypt.
  • An annual reward carrying his name has been initiated by his family to be given to the cleverest student in mathematics.
  • Egypt & Europe Magazine published a cartoon of him standing between Russia and the USA holding in his hands rolled paper, and both superpowers awaiting him to unfold the secrets of science.
  • When the Advanced Sciences Institute in the USA in 1947, Mosharafa was invited as a visiting professor at Princeton University, but the king disapproved.
  • The Newton-Mosharafa Fund was named After him and after Sir Isaac Newton Newton-Mosharafa-fund

Books and papers[edit]

He wrote 26 significant papers including theoretical explanations of natural phenomena. He wrote 15 books in relativity and mathematics. Among which is a book on the theory of relativity translated into English, French, German and Polish. It was reprinted in the USA. He produced around 15 scientific books about relativity, mathematics, atom and space invasion. His most important books are:

  • We and Science
  • Science and Life
  • Atom and Atomic Bomb
  • Scientific Claims
  • Engineering in Pharaohs Times

Death[edit]

He died under mysterious circumstances on Monday, January 15, 1950. Press reports at the time suggested that he was assassinated by one of the Israeli Mossad's operations against prominent Arab scientists. International Scientific circles have never been so deeply moved at the death of an Egyptian scientist as they were at the death of the Egyptian genius Dr. A.M. Mosharafa. It was not surprising for Einstein, the greatest scientist of his time who was personally well acquainted with Dr. Mosharafa's genius and ambitions, to mourn him to the world as a great loss to science asserting that his name and achievements will never be forgotten. Albert Einstein in a confident tone said, "I cannot believe that Mosharafa is dead, he is alive through his researches. We are in need of his talents, it is a great loss, he was a genius. I used to follow up his researches in atomic energy, definitely he is one of the best scientists in physics."[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dr. Mosharafa's Full Profile at the Library of Alexandria's Modern Egypt Archive (Translated)
  2. ^ Anderton, Roger J. (November 19, 2011). "Assassination of the Arabic Einstein". Scientist. Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  3. ^ Mosharafa's Biography at the Library of Alexandria's Modern Egypt Archive (Translated)
  4. ^ Dr. Mosharafa's Full Profile at the Library of Alexandria's Modern Egypt Archive (ARABIC)
  5. ^ Egypt State Information Service / Egyptian Figures – Arabic